The Enduro World Series has reached its conclusion for the fifth time in Finale Ligure, this one was a real nail-biter right down to the end. What we witnessed on the ancient trails of Finale was history in the making and the return of the People's Champion to the top spot. Sam Hill has now proven to be the most well-rounded rider in the world, transcending disciplines, and adding another title to an already legendary career. Round eight has a massive turnout with 500 riders undertaking two days of riding that took them over 100 kilometers from the highest peak in Liguria all the way to the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
With such tight racing all season and things coming close to the wire all eyes were on the battle for the Men's title. Sam Hill and Frenchman Adrien Dailly were locked in an epic battle for the top spot, and in the end, it would come down to a matter of mere seconds. Sam came out with a lead on day one, but Adrien was hot on his heels - at one point just three seconds separated the pair. In the end, Sam would hold it together on the brutal tracks of Finale to keep the third position in the race and secure his first Enduro World Champion title.
Despite their best efforts, neither Hill or Dailly could keep pace with Frenchman Damien Oton this weekend, who was absolutely flying and would take the race win. For Oton, it was his first win since La Thuile in 2014. After a race-ending crash in Whistler during round seven, Martin Maes had a brilliant ride here in Finale to finish in second place.
Reigning World Champion Cecile Ravanel would once again prove to be unstoppable on the tracks of Finale, making sure she finished the season with the race win as well as the Championship title. Isabeau Courdurier and Katy Winton were locked in a heated battle and finished the weekend and the season with Isabeau in second and Katy in Third.
Killian Callaghan had the U21 Men Championship sewn up coming into this race, and took it easy this weekend to finish in seventh place. Whistler local Rhys Verner stormed to victory in this weekend's race - giving a time that would have put him in the top 20 of the senior men. It was a similar story in the U21 Women as Martha Gill's consistent season meant she was already World Champion as she left the start gate on Saturday. British newcomer Ella Conolly made quite the EWS debut, winning this weekend's race. In the team competition Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team are the new World Champions, Rocky Mountain Urge bp are second and Canyon Factory Enduro Team third.
What a way to finish what has been an utterly spectacular season. We have once again witnessed history in the making, and while it's bittersweet to put the season behind us now, there is comfort in knowing that next year has the potential to be even more epic.
Another beautiful day at the perfect venue. What a way to close out the most difficult EWS season ever.
The start of what will feel like the longest day in the world for this man.
Noga Korem was out with a broken hand and found herself on a Media Squid bus while running the official EWS social media feed for the day.
Ride of the weekend from Yoan Deniaud? The young Frenchman took some big scalps and ended up 12th.
Remi Gauvin finished the season strong with another top 10 result.
Jared Graves bounced back from disappointment on day one to go 2, 1, 5 on the final three stages of day two.
Despite having the series locked up, Cecile Ravanel was on a charge all day long to take her seventh win of the season.
Not the season many had hoped two-time Champ Richie Rude would have. Can he get his groove back next year?
Despite trials and tribulations, Lewis Buchanan has shown tremendous promise this season.
Rae Morrison just snuck into the top 10 with a 9th place finish in Finale.
Oton blasting his way to his first win since 2014.
Try as he may, Adrien Dailly couldn't overtake Hill this weekend.
From tenth last year to third this year, Katy Winton has arrived.
5th place today for Caro Gehrig.
Ratboy doing it for the fans on stage 4.
After a disastrous opening round in Rotorua, Isabeau Courdurier fought hard each and every round to finish the year second overall.
After her first round setback Isabeau has fought through the season and secured the 2017 runner-up spot.
Oton rode smart and consistent all weekend taking two stage wins on his way the victory.
Damien Oton built himself such a large lead over the first five stages, that he was able to relax and cruise through his final few race runs to take a convincing win.
Randy sent it. Marco Osborne rode to 11th this weekend.
On the gas through ancient trails. Sam Hill keeps the pressure up on day two.
Florian Nicolai has had an up and down season but closed things out on a high note with a 7th in the final race of the year.
Adrien Dailly didn't have the speed to run at the front this weekend and spent day two riding a bit cautious to preserve his second spot in the overall ahead of a hard charging Greg Callaghan.
Jerome Clementz was Mr. Consistent in 2017 giving him a strong footing in the overall.
One for the future. U21 winner Rhys Verner dominated the field with a time good enough for 13th in elites...
Anita Gehrig not giving the unforgiving Finale rocks any quarter as she skims her way down 4.
Ibis' Scandinavian duo went through the mill this weekend but still came out smiling. They've both shown great pace this season.
Last year's winner, Martin Maes, started the day in 4th place. On Sunday he pushed even harder, pulling himself onto the podium for 2nd place when all was said and done.
Casey Brown would end the weekend in 6th
What a ride from Thomas Lapeyrie to take 5th at the final EWS race of the season.
Sam Hill cracking a smile at the end of the rather brutal stage 6.
Flat pedals for life, and another World Championship for a legendary racer.
As Sam Hill headed up to the final stage on the year the nerves were starting to take their toll. Even with a healthy lead in points, and all his rivals behind him, there's still so much that could go wrong over the final four minutes of the season.
Anyone have a camera? We can't resist a selfie opp of the Squid Squad. These are the hard-working folks who bring the Enduro World Series to the world all season long
All packed in tight like sardines on the last corner. It's not easy finding a photo spot when you arrive three hours behind a few thousand spectators and need to make your way to the front line for all the action. No matter what there always seems to be room for one more.
One stage to go in the race to the sea.
Saving the best for last, the final stage of the season saw some close calls in front of a record crowd.
The big man, bringing it home. The end was clearly in sight. After two hard days of riding the new king was about to be crowned.
When regular noisemakers won't do, scuba fins will.
Cecile brings it home on stage seven.
Greg Callaghan started the season on top but found out first hand how hard it is to keep that momentum up for an entire season. A slump in the middle cost him the title, but a strong finish here in Finale landed him on the podium for the series championship in 3rd.
Off season mode engaged.
Tuto everyday. Yoann enjoying the award ceremony.
Three! Winton couldn't believe it was real.
Justin Leov signed out from EWS racing with a dunk in the sea with his Canyon teammates.
A tough season done and dusted for outgoing two-time World Champion. Roll on to 2018 for the man who's powerful and usually dominating presence amongst the front-runners was missed this season.
With the fight for the overall championship dominating much of the commentary this weekend, let's not forget who took top honors in the season's final battle. Damien Oton flanked by Martin Maes and Sam Hill in Finale.
Damien Oton enjoys the taste of gold after taking his second career EWS victory.
What a weekend for Mathra and Abby. Three friends from the U.K. bringing home trophies in U21 and Pro Women.
Cecile took top honors once again this year, while Isabeau and Katy fought a close battle just behind for second and third.
Sam Hill added to his legendary status this season with another World Championship title.
And so it ends, Sam Hill and Cecile Ravanel, your 2017 World Champions.
By the slimmest of margins, and in a race that came down to the final stage of the last race, Ibis Racing took home the title of fastest team in the world. Rocky Mountain would finish just behind, with Canyon Factory in third.
All your 2017 EWS overall winners share the stage to close out the night.
That's it... That's all...