So without further ado, the winner of the vote for this year's Pinkbike Enduro Race of the Year is: La Thuile, Italy. While second through to fourth were all close in the voting, with Wicklow, Ireland just getting edged out, La Thuile was head and shoulders clear of the competition this year. On its first inclusion in the EWS in 2014 it was very nearly the race of the year, only to be beaten by a truly exceptional race in Nevados de Chillan. For 2016 the local crew knew they had a winning formula and put in the hard hours to make this year even better than last time.
So what is it that made this race so special? In the words of Cecile Ravanel, "There was everything I love to ride: speed, steep sections, hard turns, rock gardens. There was a good balance between transfers with the lifts and pedalling, on top of all that, I love Italy!" This race had a little bit of everything that makes racing enduro fun, with the trails ranging from fun and flowing to steep, unforgiving trails that some top riders were comparing to World Cup DH tracks. The race organisation grew out of Superenduro, so it should be no surprise that they know how to put on a good race, with all the boxes ticked there. Mixed in with the chairlifts, this race also included the second-longest climb of the season, a 1,000m monster up to stage one, but with enough time for riders to complete it at a comfortable speed and one hell of a descent on the way down, it was a masterclass of how to run a race in the big mountains. And then there was the backdrop... Without doubt it was the most stunning destination of the year, arguably one of the most beautiful locations the EWS has ever visited.Pinkbike’s Take:
|Perfetto, as the Italians say. This race had big trails, big views and clockwork organisation, everything the world's top riders could hope for when it comes time to go racing. - Matt Wragg|