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4 Things We Learned from EWS Pietra Ligure 2020

Sep 22, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
The French Have Never Been More Dominant in the EWS

The French invented the enduro discipline so it's no surprise they've always been pretty good at it. At this race in Pietra Ligure though, they showed that they've never been more dominant as they finished with seven men in the top 10 and a complete lockout of the women's top five.

The French's most dominant period came around 2015 when they also finished with seven men in top 10 at the final round of 2014 in Finale, three times in 2015 (Samoens, Ainsa and Finale) and finally at the first round of 2016 in Chile. The French have never had 5 women in the top five though. The closest they have come was in Val D'Isere in 2013 when four women entered the top five spots but this is the most dominant performance we've ever seen from any nation.
Adrien Dailly on his way to his first win in quite some time.

Of course, we're not looking at a full field this year, with some riders not opting to make the trip over from their home countries for Europe and others afflicted with the virus but the French still came out miles ahead of a field still packed with top racers.

Isabeau Courdurier is Tough as Nails

Yes, Isabeau Courdurier may have lost her winning streak that dates back to the start of 2019 but she didn't let it go without a fight. Courdurier raced with two torn ligaments some bone contusions and a large joint effusion in her ankle. She was heavily strapped up and no doubt in a lot of pain.

Despite all this, she was able to win the first two stages and after a gruelling day, she still was only beaten by Melanie Pugin and even then only by 14 seconds. It looks like the event took its toll though and Isabeau has announced she will not be competing in Finale Ligure.
Isabeau Courduier s winning streak came to an end today due to a injured ankle. She settled for second.

A Mix of Burly and Burlier Forks made up the top places

Fork choice was a mixed bag in the top spots of both the men's and women's fields with a split between of the burly enduro forks we've seen raced over the past few seasons and the even burlier forks we saw released at the start of this year.

In the men's field, there were three riders in the to 10 on Zebs and three on Lyriks, including the winner Dailly. All the Fox riders in the men's field were on 38s but Estelle Charles, who finished fourth in the women's field, was on a 36. Compare this to Zermatt and only Ella Connolly and Louis Jeandel opted for the less burly fork options in the top 10 men and five women. Pietra Ligure had around 500m less vertical as part of stages and its 50km had to be pedalled in its entirety, while the Zermatt course had chairlift access. It seems riders may have found some advantages in opting for a slightly lighter set up to help them through the monster day.
Estelle Charles on her way to fourth place in Pietra Ligure.

No Riders Doubled Up This Weekend

In Zermatt we noticed that riders were able to ride the EWS-E on the Friday and then also race the EWS on Sunday to some success with Jose Broges bagging himself a top 5 in both events. That wasn't the case in Pietra Ligure where no riders opted to take on the fearsome challenge of 2 brutal days of racing.

Motorised or not, the 60km's worth of riding and 2500 metres of elevation on the EWS-E made for a truly gruelling day out and the chances of following it with the 50km with 2,000m of climbing on the EWS race day while still expecting a good result must surely have been near to zero. Interestingly, the winner of the EWS-E last week, Melanie Pugin, opted to focus on acoustic bikes and it definitely paid off as she claimed her first-ever EWS win.
Melanie Pugin too the win here in Pietra today.

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  • 66 3
 #5 Having a race at your off-season training venue is a big advantage
  • 46 5
 #6. The e bike race is more interesting because of the climbing stage.

#7. Nicolas Voulliouz is the all time goat of bike racing, even ahead of Mercyx, Indurain, Minnar, Gwinn, and Hill.

#8. USA will not be competitive in world sports any time soon because of Trumps complete failure dealing with covid.
  • 3 0
 All Europe have his training there. More brits, germans, swiss, italians (!) than frenchs usualy. But yes terrain is familiar for south eastern frenchies .
  • 3 0
Re #7- I dunno, I’d put him at the top in MTB, but this is hard to top.

“In a professional career stretching from 1965 to 1978, he recorded 445 victories in 1,585 races. During his peak years (1969–75), he won some 35 percent of the races he entered.”
  • 2 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict: #7 is a little too bold. He is really good at bikes, but Merckx and Indurain - no.
  • 1 0
 @PeterMarv: Indurain is still racing and in quite good shape
  • 39 0
 She wasn't Melanie Plugin this weekend.
  • 37 3
 Final point slipped through the e-bike filter... need to go rinse my eyes out with soap
  • 43 2
 I was playing scrabble with my mom yesterday and I got the E, B, I, K, and E tiles simultaneously, had to burn the house down
  • 1 0
 @n734535: Best ebike related comment I've read on PB (yet!) Lol!!
  • 21 0
 So we are calling the acoustic now!?!?
  • 16 0
 Things like this is why we have pandemics
  • 42 3
 Why should normal bikes have to change their name? E-bikes are the ones who suck.
But seriously, acoustic bikes is a ridiculous name.
  • 16 0
 Acoustic is a weird choice, maybe analogue is what was meant. Or just 'bike'?
  • 4 0
 Did her acoustic bike have a noisy hub and lots of chain slap?
  • 3 6
 @primarydevices: Devil's advocate here. A non-electic guitar is an acoustic and bikes are the most guitar-like form of transportation (mine has then same number of steel strings as a bass). But electric guitars are cool.
  • 18 1
 I prefer "real" bike.
  • 1 0
 How about H-bike,for human powered?
  • 17 0
 @jhuff: It also makes no sense by English definition of the word acoustic?! I don't see how the word can possibly be related to non-electric mechanical items such as a bike? I'm lost on this one, PB and would appreciate if we never have to read "acoustic bikes" ever again, please.
  • 13 1
 Please stop with the “acoustic bikes”. It makes absolutely no sense.

Acoustic is related to sound and hearing...so unless you are talking about how loud or how nice a bike sounds, it doesn’t make any sense to talk about an acoustic bike.

  • 4 0
 Ze Germans call zem bio-bikes...
  • 1 0
 Unassisted bikes are just bikes right? And assisted are ebikes? No need for acoustic which relates to sound.
The grim donut however is a maraka disguised as a bike.
  • 2 0
 Simply waiting for the PB bike test of acoustic downcountry bikes to happen from the Beaver Pond
  • 5 0
 Let's better be modest and simply call them muscle bikes
  • 1 0
 lets go with muscle bike...
  • 1 0
 I also for for "bikes"
  • 1 0
 @yetirich: The Beaver Pond was a particularly low-rent strip joint in Boulder in the 1970s. Robin Williams would hang out there when shooting Mork and Mindy.
  • 1 0
 @primarydevices: Cube might raise an objection to that.
  • 21 1
 Nothing about Jack?!?!?
  • 37 0
 Nah yea nah
  • 7 0
  • 2 0
 We already learned he's killing it last race.
  • 3 0
  • 16 0
 No one rides those puny Fox 36 forks anymore. It's time to swap out those noodles and get one of these new burlier forks designed for e-bikes....I mean winning EWS races.
  • 21 0
 Sponsored riders ride sponsors new product shock horror!
  • 13 0
 What fork was Melanie Pugin running, an Onyx or Diamond? Oh it's not a Fox or RS product, so apparently it doesn't matter...
  • 7 0
 DVO has 5 riders in Italy and 3 where on the podium with Onyx forks hahah
  • 6 0
 Do a Grim Donut Fork : they increase by 2mm every year, just go straight to a 50mm stanchion!
  • 1 1
 the logic is impeccable! And whilst we are at it a 60 tooth sprocket on my cassette please.
  • 4 0
 Ebike racing when you need multiple batteries to do a 1 day race is stupid Gmbn have made a right mess of videos of the event. The new highlights show was very poor compared to last years
  • 7 1
 "Burly and Burlier Forks"
When was the last time a Fox 34 won?
  • 17 0
 Probably the last time top riders were paid to ride them
  • 1 0
 Jared in Whistler 2013?
  • 10 5
 French are good but we are missing Keegan, matt Walker, richie, Jared, leigh, Jason Carlson, connor fearon, Sam hill...
  • 4 0
 I’m very shocked to hear that Sram riders are on the new Zeb and Fox riders were on the new 38. It’s like they are doing marketing or something.
  • 1 0
 Over the last few years like many Ive been slowly adding weight to my enduro bike, up to 36+ pounds.

Recently got a new epic to try some xc because enduro's lost the fun.

That 24 pound bike is sooo fast and easy to ride. Makes me think... what if...

What if somebody built an 8" travel light ass bike knowing they had to check up sometimes, and take smoother lines sometimes... maybe it would be faster?

Like a 26 pound grim donut w/ Max grip EXO's at 35psi. I wonder...
  • 1 0
 well.. you could look into the Last Tarvo. That's 160/170mm travel and a 4,5lbs frame. You should be able to accomplish a burly 25 lbs build of it. (given the right amount of dollars)
  • 4 1
 I have the e bike filter on so I don't see that content. Please don't let it infiltrate your other content. I really don't care about it, and u don't want to read about it.
  • 4 3
 The French are monsters!!! Good job guys and well deserved. On a different note- what the hell happened to our boy Richie Rude? Did I miss something? Haven’t seen him or heard about him lately
  • 14 0
 He finished 2nd at the Winter Park BME 2 weeks ago behind Pinkbike hero and fast AF yeti tribe rider Kasper Woolley.
  • 4 1
 Travel restrictions...
  • 7 0
 @AvidTrailRider: It's weird how the fox guys are over in Austria now though. Looks like Richie Rude and Kasper just figured it wasn't worth the hassle. Kind of a bummer.
  • 3 0
 "Acoustic" Bikes Wink
  • 1 0
 Great podcast topic @mikelevy @brianpark
Are stiffer forks, frames, wheels etc better?
  • 2 1
 Good Stuff - great to have these insights, cheers.
  • 1 0
 Caveman bikes
  • 3 3
 Reminder the two fastest male enduro racers Hill and Rude were not there.
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