Laia Sanz knows how to pack a lot into 48 hours. With the Enduro World Championship’s GP of Portugal and X Games Barcelona falling on the same weekend, most would have opted to contest one or the other. Not Sanz, though. She chose to race both, and it was a gamble that most definitely paid off.
“This weekend was a huge gamble for me,” confessed Sanz on Sunday evening in Portugal, once the podium celebrations had died down. “Things could have gone horribly wrong for me but thankfully everything went to plan.”
Riding the Friday evening SuperTest in Torres Vedras, Portugal, Sanz then caught an early morning flight out of Lisbon to Barcelona and arrived just in time for EnduroX practice.
“I was so nervous about the flights, if I was delayed at all it could have been disastrous. I made it just in time to start practice and from there it was almost straight into racing.”
Hopeful for an easy race, Sanz found herself at the bottom of a first corner pile up. Remounting dead last, she then blitzed her way through the field to take the gold medal in the six-lap final.
“In the first corner I got hit by another rider and her handlebars got caught up in my wheel. It took twenty seconds to get going again.
“Every time I passed a rider the crowd kept cheering louder and louder. Once I hit the front they went wild. Winning the race inside the Olympic stadium in Barcelona was incredible – it was a special moment, that’s for sure.”
But with no time to soak up the atmosphere, Sanz then headed straight back to the airport and caught her flight back to the EWC to begin day two in Portugal.
“Day two in Portugal was tough. I was so tired from all the travelling and also having walked twenty miles of special tests earlier in the week. I needed about five teas and three Cokes just to stay awake.”
Despite her tiredness Sanz hit the ground running in Portugal and set the fastest time in the opening special test. Going on to win all of the day’s twelve special tests, she easily secured then win and left Portugal only two points shy of championship leader Jane Daniels.
“It was a relief to leave Portugal with another win in the championship. I’m only two points behind but with two more rounds left it’s still possible to catch back up. Like I said, this weekend was a bit of a gamble but it paid off. Winning an X Games gold medal in Barcelona is something I’ll never forget.”