5 Things We Learned at EWS Madeira 2019

May 15, 2019
by Ed Spratt  
Ah Medeira you are an amazing place to ride.

The third round of the EWS in Madeira provided some intense racing across some loose and dusty trails. Here are five things we noticed from the sidelines:

1. The Queen Stages have helped push the series leaders to a massive early lead

Three for three. Martin Maes and Isabeau Courdurier are looking unstoppable this year with back to back wins at the first three rounds of the series. Sam Hill was dominant last year but was only ever able to get two wins in a row. Isabeau still has some way to go to match Cecile Ravanel's perfect season in 2018 though.

Martin and Isabeau currently sit on 14 stage wins each. In recent years, only Cecile Ravanel has reached this target in the first three races, getting 14 stage wins in the first three rounds in both 2018 and 2017. In the Elite Men, the closest rider to Maes current 14 stage wins in the three opening races was Richie Rude in 2016 who managed to rack up 10.
Three wins in a row for Isabeau Courdurier

On top of this, Maes and Courdurier have amassed huge leads in the overall. Maes is 380 points clear while Isabeau's lead sits at 420 points. Last year saw both overall titles won by about 400 points so Martin and Isabeau are already in the ballpark. Their totals have been bolstered by clean sweeps of the Queen stages, giving both riders an extra 120 points each and means they're going to take some catching now, even with five rounds of racing still to go.



2. There are a lot of privateers charging up the women's rankings


After finishing 12th and 11th in Rotorua and Tasmania, Ella Conolly went on to achieve her first Elite stage win and podium in Madeira. Ella hasn't come from nowhere, she was Under 21 champion last year but, unable to pick up a team ride for this year, she embarked as a privateer.

Just behind Connolly was Morgane Charre, who is also running her own program, and Melanie Pugin also slipped into the top ten without factory support. Let's also not forget Rowena Fry who came third in Tasmania. There are plenty of fast women racing at the moment without the support they need, hopefully they will be picked up soon to help raise the bar for the women's competition even higher.


What a day for Ella Conolly. Ella finished in second her best result to date.




3. Sam Hill is inching closer and closer to Martin Maes

The current men's reigning champion hasn't had the start he hoped for coming into 2019 with his worst run of races since he switched codes to enduro. He placed 13th and 9th at the first two rounds and was 4.2% and 2.9% off the pace of Martin respectively each time - his third and fifth worst results in the EWS. Madeira would see him improve with a 5th place finish, just 2.5% back on Martin's winning time.

Sure he's on a new 29-inch-wheeled setup, but there were other factors at play as well, including that Sam was shaking off an illness at the first two rounds. Still, it's clear that last year's champion is starting to get his program in order and build up momentum as the season progresses.
Race run berm explosions from Sam Hill We think he even had a grin on his face when he rode past.

There is now a long break before the next two rounds in Italy and France so we expect Sam Hill to be pushing even harder when the series returns.



4. Home soil advantages played a part in Madeira


The EWS will stay in Europe for the next two rounds and the return to home soil seems to have done the native racers some good. In both Tasmaina and Rotorua, Europeans made up 55% of the top 20 places in the men's field but in Madeira that rose to 70%. The Portugese did especially well, with Jose Borges and Emmanuel Pombo both earning personal best results in second and tenth respectively. On the women's side, 60% of the top ten in Tasmania were non-European, which fell to just 20% in Madeira (Korem and ALN).

Crowds, time zones, and familiarity with conditions all play into advantages for riders and it will be interesting to see if North American riders have their own surge in Whistler and Northstar later this year.

Jose Borges delivers for the Portuguese fans taking 2nd in Madeira




5. Adrien Dailly is tough as nails


Adrien Dailly has been down on his luck this year. He kicked off his season with a torn muscle in his elbow just before Rotorua but raced through the pain in rounds 1 and 2, earning respectable results on the way.

Dailly was supposed to be on the road to recovery in Madeira and seemed to be back to his normal self, until stage three when he hit a tree and opened up a hole in the same elbow through his elbow pad. He finished that stage in second then went straight to the medical tent for some stitches.

With a swellbow fresh from surgery he took to the start line on Sunday and was on track to finish second until he slid out on the last stage, which slipped back to fourth. Respect.




Previously:
• Video: Full Highlights - EWS Madeira 2019
Overall Standings: EWS Madeira 2019
Final Results: EWS Madeira 2019
Course Preview: Paradise Island - EWS Madeira 2019
Practice Photo Report: Party at the Beach - EWS Madeira 2019
Day One Photo Epic: Rough and Tough - EWS Madeira 2019
Day Two Photo Epic: Three For Three - EWS Madeira 2019
Video: Course Preview - EWS Madeira 2019



MENTIONS: @EnduroWorldSeries / @davetrumpore / @mdelorme



93 Comments

  • + 187
 6. We all want to go to Madeira
  • - 55
flag tobiusmaximum (May 15, 2019 at 1:23) (Below Threshold)
 have you even got a passport?
  • + 152
 @tobiusmaximum: Can you even get a visa (following Brexit)?
  • - 2
 @koldunuk: Madeira is practically half british Smile
  • - 2
 @koldunuk: hasn't happened yet.
  • + 3
 @koldunuk: yes.

it wont be hard to get a tourist visa.
its just that after Brexit, we'll actually need one.
  • + 0
 @Gruta: Madexit on the way ?! oO
  • - 1
 i keep reading it as Maydena, what I’m going to in November if that counts?
  • + 11
 @Gruta: you accidentally put a smile at the end of your reply
  • - 12
flag tobiusmaximum (May 15, 2019 at 8:49) (Below Threshold)
 staggering that people get so butthurt over a joke. but i guess it is 2019.
  • - 2
 @tobiusmaximum: People seem far more sensitive these days than they used to be. A by-product of a pampered lifestyle?
  • + 22
 @tremeer023: The nerve struck here is called Isolationism. Over half the US population is literally sick to its collective stomach over our recent return to insular, petty, provincial thinking. A bit ironic that a couple of Brits don't get that given A) our former British colony inherited this cyclical disorder from our island motherland, and B) you've just had an isolationist relapse yourselves in Brexit.
  • + 3
 @Veloscente: yeh, I take your point of the bigger picture. It's impossible to please everyone - in a perfect world we would all be integrated together in harmony as one 'human race' (world peace would have been declared and greed/crime wouldn't exist). I think that it is easier for people who are better off with a comfortable (pampered?) lifestyle to think this way, but (unfortunately) that isn't the real world. Because of that, I can also see the other side of the argument and can't really blame people for wanting charity to start at home - they're only human after all. Here's hoping that eventually we can all evolve to fulfill the dream though.
  • + 8
 @Veloscente: dude, 1 in 3 yanks has a passport. i made a little joke about it. nothing to do with politics. you know what, if i lived in the US, with all that land and opportunity, i don't know if i'd have a passport either. but its a joke! a little dig. if you don't think people need to be a bit less touchy... well, i don't know what to say. you think people in the UK aren't pissed off with politics one way or the other? we are. do i shit a brick if someone has a cheeky pop at brits? no. because I'm not a 12 year old girl.
  • + 1
 Bro stage 4 is a ducking dream
  • - 6
flag Cashman39 (May 15, 2019 at 14:51) (Below Threshold)
 @tobiusmaximum: you're a tool.
  • + 1
 @Cashman39: thanks mate. your opinion is very dear to me. xx
  • + 1
 @Toutnoir: Oh it`s mad alright ! But the british have been in Madeira long before the EEC, so I don`t think that will be a problem, just like the ALLgarve .
  • + 57
 "There are a lot of privateers charging up the women's rankings" - that's one way of putting it. Another would be to say there's very, very little sponsorship in the women's field
  • + 1
 that could be a simple equation of lack of viewership/interest. rest assured, if there was money to be made, the womens field would be full of sponsorship. wouldn't it?
  • + 5
 @tobiusmaximum: dang sometimes I really hate the down/up vote system - that's a perfectly legitimate comment.
I kinda disagree though. There is money to be made, just if sponsors were a bit bit braver. Like why not have an all female team? That would get loads of attention
  • + 4
 @IllestT: kinda knew i'd get slammed for that comment too. jesus, the truth is just as unpopular here as it is on twitter.
  • + 1
 @IllesT: Ghost XC?
  • + 6
 @IllestT: @IllestT: not sure if that goes anywhere near good enough. i think the issue is the willingness of the brands to invest in marketing (edits, interviews, movies, social media shit) just how awesome girls who shred are. and its not just a couple of them. 4 years ago i raced EWS and sat about 100th in main field and beat all bar the top 2 or 3 in the womens field, this year i'm sitting 3rd overall in the masters, with top 10 results, and i look across to the womens field, and i wouldnt even make top 10 in their race .......woah!!!!!... the poles are starting to shift, more girls are riding, more girls are shredding, more girls are racing, more girls are buying top end bikes (as opposed to their partners copping out giving them old handme downs) sponsorship is not an altruistic thing, its solely about brand awareness and increasing sales. £££££

if the bike companies started looking at the girls market as the untapped goldmine it is then things would be a lot different for the ladies in making a biking career. it shouldnt be that difficult, but for the moment the industry is making it difficult either though ignorance or apathy. shame on them
  • + 37
 Bulldog is a stitcher?
  • + 10
 Gotta pay the bills in between races though
  • + 18
 Odd how bandages are deemed cooler than elbow pads. They don't look that different.
  • + 37
 Adrien was wearing pads (the story has been updated).
  • + 2
 Thanks for the observation. Dad always knows best.
  • + 9
 @mattwragg: He needs a better elbow pad sponsor then.
  • + 2
 @vikb: @vikb: If it gets out who's pad's he was wearing when he was injured he'll probably need a new sponsor cause nobodies gonna buy them anymore!!! Smile
  • + 2
 I've yet to find an elbow pad that reliably stays in place in a good digger. Might have something to do with my Popeye forearms and Olive Oyl biceps but still.
  • + 2
 @acali: Yea, the ones that stay in place are uncomfortable and I don't wear them... (AND if I'm honest I feel like a dork wearing huge armored pads like I'm bout to hit Rampage style drops, when I'm only only running the kids DJ line! Smile )

Also, the article says it went "through" his elbow pad... yikes!
  • + 2
 Wearing elbow pads got just a bit less cool in Safety First Kind Of Guy club. They are left with wearing sunglasses to full face helmets.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Sunglasses with a FF, phhhtttt. I'd never do that... (Deleting old FB post as I check Amazon for Goggle prices...) Smile
  • + 2
 @stiingya: back pack in the bike park? Park packing?
  • + 12
 As jimmythehat says, support the women. Come on EWS/teams, this a perfect opportunity for you to get one over the DH boys (cos they sure as hell don't seem to want to support women) by taking women athletes seriously.
Now, were did I put my passport so I can go a book a trip to Maderira. Great race, can't wait for the next installment
  • + 15
 How has nobody put Ella on their team!?
  • + 11
 I did
  • + 5
 @Bouib: touché
  • + 7
 I did for the first two rounds but took her off for Madeira. #SoMuchWinning
  • + 9
 On Vital's slideshow Miranda Miller said that before Madeira she took herself off her own fantasy team and put in Ella instead.
  • + 12
 and the Portuguese guy winning ews100 sits 14 overall in the race .... including chainless and flat tire sections at couple stages.. go Pulga
  • + 9
 He was 15 sec faster than Maes on SS1... insane speed that guy.
  • + 13
 Amazes me about that privateer stat and after being under 21 champ
  • + 5
 Why? If you have X budget then would you rather spend it supporting a rider, or paying massive EWS fees so you can have a 'team'? Because of the way EWS works you're a privateer unless someone pays a good chunk of money to be a an official team. I doubt the coverage of the rider would change so spend your money wisely I say and leave her a privateer.
  • + 2
 @benpinnick: are Bird supporting any privateers racing EWS?
  • + 5
 @er043: Not this year, we did support Ella during her first season (I have her 1st win bike on my wall) and would have liked to have had her on board still, but she got a better offer, and to be honest EWS isn't valuable enough in terms of sales/cost to justify a competing offer.

I do still speak with her and she's stoked to have hit the podium. I still say, as I did when I first saw her race that she's the next TM for UK cycling, and given I knew Tracy when she was Ella's age I reckon I'm in with a shout there. So in that regard its a surprise she doesn't have a bigger sponsor when she has so much obvious talent, but if Cannondale are supporting her properly (and I hope they are) then being a 'Factory' team on the EWS circuit is basically just marketing. You could be the biggest team with the biggest budget but unless you paid your EWS team dues your racers are still privateers.
  • + 4
 @benpinnick: I guess that's why the uptick in "privateers" with DENTIST bikes? Smile (no offense to "actual" Dentists is intended, thanks for fixing my teeth!)

We need a "Semi-Priv" league so we can tell the Ramon noodle riders apart from the Team Fee avoiding "Sponsored" riders...
  • + 4
 @stiingya: yeah maybe that's what's needed. Ews won't even publish your sponsor info on the results unless you pay the team tax, so when we sponsored Ella you'd not have known it unless I paid a few thousand dollars for the privilege of having our name on a spreadsheet.... I had better ways to use that budget.

While I like the EWS in many ways, it has some structural issues I think that try to keep it a level above the rest of the racing, but sometimes just mean it allienates the people that support the grass roots of our sport.
  • + 2
 @BirdBikes: It does seem like a shame but I'm sure they've got their reasons. I guess EWS didn't build their brand overnight. I can kind of understand a pay to play attitude when they've created the entire platform on which brands get promoted. It wouldn't be right if the likes of Specialized/Giant etc got all the exposure for free. On the flip side it's a massive shame that legit smaller companies like Bird can't get to exhibit your awesome bikes in the same light. I don't like the idea of a "semi-priv" league but a "smaller manufacturer" reduced rate team fee would be good!
  • + 1
 @er043: what does count as a smaller manufacturer?
  • + 3
 @Primoz: Number of employees? I don't know... I was just thinking out-loud on the internet, never a good idea.
  • + 2
 @er043: good point on never a good idea.

The thing is there are probably small companies with the budget to easily afford the full fee and larger companies that are running on a much smaller margin. So it's hard to define what is small and what is large. Or who can and who can't afford something.

Ben said that it makes more sense to not be full factory if you can live with the fact that you can't advertise your rider through the team name. Which makes sense. It's playing the system, but it's the fault of the system to both enable and to encourage that.
  • + 3
 @Primoz et al: I guess its a fair policy in some ways, but I think its over-used. If you look at any race, given the spread of distances you end up with plenty of locals making up the field. Clearly its not feasible for them to race the whole series. However many of those people are supported by local companies/bikes shops/mums and dads. You end up therefore in this bizarre situation that riding the EWS becomes a negative scenario for the sponsor. While its good experience and you don't want to hold a rider back, the media blackout for non-fee paying sponsors, combined with the costs and risks mean you'd much rather your riders spent their time racing the domestic circuits than the main EWS events even if they have a chance of making a fair stab at it. And that is a bizarre state of play.
  • + 12
 Anybody knows which elbow pads he was wearing? So I can avoid them.
  • + 4
 That’s the first thing I thought. Not a good look for his pad sponsor. Recent IG -hoots would suggest his pad sponsor is 100%.
  • + 27
 @Shartriloquist: 50% coverage 100% of the time.
  • + 9
 Ha! He had a previous injury hidden beneath the elbow pad. Hitting the tree popped open the scar. Pretty simple stuff.

Not sure how this could possibly be seen as an elbow pad issue :/
  • + 2
 @rrolly: They need to employ the Ron Burgundy marketing model... "60% of the time, it works 100%"
  • + 9
 @armanianoxia: I don't think anybody actually faults the pads. Jokes are fun.
  • + 7
 6. Support the women ffs.
  • + 7
 How does the U21 Champion not get picked up by a factory team?!?!
  • + 7
 4. Jesse Melamed.
  • + 0
 It must cost pocket change to support a female rider that normally rides as a privateer. Today's bike companies with their bloated prices and feasting on ebike sales can't pick a female rider and pony up frames and plane tickets for her? It's probably the least expensive advertising they'll ever do anyways. So ridiculous and irrational at that. Enduro IS mountain biking. When you support enduro, you grow the sport, your customer base, and get more sales.
  • + 3
 What happened to the Privateer series? Thought you guys brought Adam on for another year?
  • + 1
 Localism has played huge parts in results aside the concurrent battle for overall for participants chasing every round, not just dropping in out DH/Duro.
Fearnone Tassie. NZ-s own too.
  • + 2
 So what are the excuses now for factories to not support more women racers? The old excuse of "not enough talent/competition" seems like total BS.
  • + 3
 "Not enough budget" is more likely.
  • + 5
 ⠀Not saying it's right or fair, but I believe the reasons are:

1. Sponsorship of women doesn't sell as many bikes. Plenty of people buy a bike because it's clearly good enough for Sam Hill, Ritchie Rude, Aaron Gwinn, a huge portion of the high finishers in the DH World Cup (referring to the Commencal Supreme), etc. Not many people are buying a bike because it's good enough for Morgane Charre (top ranked non-factory rider). The women are a more realistic model for most of our own skill levels, but marketing is about aspiration.

2. Women don't stress the equipment as hard. Men bend, break, and otherwise mangle more parts than women, which is a great way to learn where a bike needs to be reinforced or where weight can be saved.
  • + 3
 @R-M-R: #1 is way moreso the reason. Companies sponsor people first and foremost because it helps sell bikes. Yoann Barelli isn't a tip-top EWS rider, but the amount and kind of facetime he brings Commencal is massively valuable. Similar idea with Wyn Masters. Until women are as fast as men, they simply won't get the respect that riders like Maes get. But it's absolutely possible for women gain a following (like Yoann and Wyn) that a bike company would find valuable. Tahnee Seagrave is well on her way to this, if not already there, she just happens to top of her field, and not a 15th place rider.
  • + 1
 @Lanebobane: That's a good point: women can raise their marketing power and bridge that gap through media engagement.
  • - 1
 @Lanebobane: I'm not buying a bike because someone makes a funny video or takes a cool pic 'for the Gram'.
  • + 1
 @Lanebobane: yep, also see Kate Courtney as a great example.
  • + 1
 @R-M-R: "marketing is about aspiration." = This. I think we all fall for it now and then.

Though I'm sure RachyBox has sold a fair amount of bikes to guys as well as gals over the years.. Still pry falls short of what either of her brothers have "sold", even though I "think" her racing achievements are higher? (I think, don't know?)

Gotta love that RedBull Hardline. Way more than a funny vid or cool pic! Even though such riding is well beyond any of my aspirations! Smile
  • + 1
 @matadorCE: Media doesn't have to be something trivial or lame. There's nothing stopping a female rider from doing a hardcore tech channel, competing with Ben Cathro on race analysis, hiring a drone pilot to be her personal follow-cam for Enduro and dominating the coverage, etc.
  • + 1
 @matadorCE: You may not, but a lot of people do. Hell, Yoann may be more valuable than a Loic Bruni or Danny Hart because people can identify more with Yoann and his approach to biking, which is more fun-centric and less competition-centric. And he still shreds, so you KNOW his bike is more than enough for you.
  • + 1
 Amazing competition in the women's field!! I was wondering, didn't Noga win stage 4? I know that Ella was posted as stage winner in the temporary results...) - huge respect for Ella any way, she's definitely on fire!!
  • + 3
 Adrien Dailly is tough, his elbow pads aren't.
  • + 3
 7. The Spirit of Enduro is a powerful force this year
  • + 3
 Tough as a nail, indeed. Respect !
  • + 2
 Madeira, amazing trails & views & food & beaches & & & & & & & & &!
  • + 1
 Good to see the Flat Pedal Messiah, moving up. I'm looking forward to Cecile Ravenel's return.
  • + 2
 Can someone explain briefly what the Queen stage concept? Is this new?
  • + 2
 At every round a stage is selected as Queen (the hardest or most technical) and extra championship points are given only to the winners of that stage.
  • + 1
 @patricioescobar: Don’t think there are any guidelines for queen stage. Though it does seem to lean in direction of most technical and i imagine whistler will choose the ultra long top to bottom stage.
  • + 1
 Never buying the crap elbow pads that Adrien wears.
  • + 1
 6~ Giant Reign29 is Alive!!!!!
  • + 1
 Any pictures?
  • + 1
 So if the Trance 29 was 140/115, I guess the Reign 29 will be 180/135?
  • + 1
 6. Elbow pads less cool now
  • + 1
 Learned that Theo Galy apparently didn't race.
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