5 Things We Learned at EWS Trophy of Nations 2019

Oct 2, 2019
by Ed Spratt  
The crowd was top notch as usual at DH men.

With a unique new format and five incredible stages in Finale Ligure, the first-ever EWS Trophy of Nations was a spectacle to end the 2019 season. Here are five things we noticed from the sidelines:

1. The team element defied the EWS rankings

Going into the weekend, it seemed like an easy one to predict. The riders who were ranked highest in the EWS standings would probably end up winning the whole thing, right? For that reason, France looked to be firm favourites in the men's competition with the 2nd, 3rd and 5th ranked riders.

But it wasn't to be. USA stormed to victory with the 7th, 15th and 27th ranked riders, followed by Sweden with the 10th, 13th and 90th ranked riders. France, for comparison, ended up down in 11th. Clearly some teams were able to rise above the sum of their parts to produce race-winning performances.

Where others were tired and barely able to keep things in a straight line at the bottom for Stage 1 Richie Rude was styling up jumps off the main race line. Fast and fun for the American who won the opening stage and made the rest of the field chase he and Team USA for the rest of the day

2. The industry competition was dominated by sand bagging

The industry race was always going to cause trouble - should it be for salaried staff or can pro and ex-pro racers join the ranks to beef up each brand's potential? It seems like even by race day this hadn't been decided with some teams going for staff and some stacking the roster with racers. In the end, it was no surprise that Julbo's winning team of Fabien Barel, Jerome Clementz, and Francois Bailly-Maitre took the title by almost two minutes. Their overall time would have even placed them in the top eight for the Nations trophy.

Next year we would like to see some stricter regulations otherwise they may just race in the Saturday team competition with everyone else. We believe that a job title at the company you represent is the minimum requirement to make this a true industry race.

3. Canada asserts itself as one of the strongest enduro nations.

After a great season of racing with a 4th place overall for Remi Gauvin, 12th overall for Jesse Melamed despite missing a round, 3rd place overall for Andreane Lanthier Nadeau, and an 8th place overall for Miranda Miller, the Canadian team came into the Trophy of Nations with some strong credentials. Come race day, they put on a great show and took third place in the Men's, Women's and U21 Men's. With such strong talent across their teams, they are sure to be a force to be reckoned with in future EWS season and at the next Trophy of Nations. Team GB also performed well this weekend with a 2nd place in the Women's, a 1st place in the U21 Women's and a 9th place for the Men.

ALN nailing an awesome season with a step on the TON podium after finishing 3rd overall at the EWS last weekend.

4. You had to run first if you wanted to take stage wins

Looking at the men's results, it is no surprise to see both Richie Rude and Martin Maes being the only riders to win stages, with Maes taking three wins over Richie's two. In the women's field, it was Anita Gehrig and Andreane Lanthier Nadeau who would take the wins, with ALN mirroring Maes' victories on stages 2, 4 and 5. The four stage winners also shared another similarity, they led their respective teams throughout the day whereas some teams opted for an approach that saw the leader of the team change through the day.

Teams could set off over the course of a minute so there was no danger of catching riders in front but it seems that there was still an advantage to being first probably from less visibility and a clearer course. If anyone wants the bragging rights of a stage win next year, they'll have to step up to the plate and lead their team to get it.

Martin Maes towed team Belgium to an great fifth place.

5. Courdurier's dominance was questioned by the Trophy of Nations.

Isabeau Courdurier has been used to fairly comfortable wins all year but she wasn't the fastest woman on the hill in Finale. That honor goes to Andreane Lanthier Nadeau who finished the weekend with a total time of 36:47.23, 4 seconds faster than Courdurier over the 5 stages. In a normal EWS race, this would have been the first-ever EWS win for ALN and Courdurier's first defeat of the year. There are some mitigating factors of course, such as the team element and the fact Isabeau was battling an illness, but it will be a huge boost for the Canadian as she heads into the off season.

Isabeau Courdurier was fighting Illness all day but pushed through to help pull her reach team to victory

Regions in Article
Finale Ligure


  • 282 0
 Next year I want to see Pinkbike vs GMBN! Smile
  • 6 0
 So much this! Can't wait!
  • 92 0
 Oh, and Vital MTB too! Proper media squid battle Wink
  • 46 0
 @Vertti83: yeah, and EWS pro racers taking shots and videos of that battle!
  • 3 0
 Oh yes ahaha, vital too
  • 2 0
 Throw in (R)Evolution for an Australian aspect
  • 3 0
 @Gravity-Fiend: And Happyride, for some more Swedes Smile
  • 16 0
 vs IFHT Films! And at the end the best production wins Wink
  • 11 0
 @kyytaM: edbullmediahouse has got this
  • 2 1
 @Vertti83: Throw BikeMag in there too...I guess
  • 2 0
 Where was Julbo Davis
  • 1 0
 Was going to type exactly that!
  • 3 0
 And I wanna see team Pinkbike compete on that clapped out Brodie!
  • 1 0
 Yeah boi!!!
  • 1 0
 Add some German flavour with the enduro MTB gang as well!
  • 71 2
 A French team with some shady tactics? Must be a UCI race then!
  • 2 11
flag fracasnoxteam (Oct 2, 2019 at 4:45) (Below Threshold)
 Is it legal?
  • 25 1
 @fracasnoxteam: No its not illegal, but it most defiantly not very sporting.
  • 14 34
flag jwdenver (Oct 2, 2019 at 6:35) (Below Threshold)
 Have the frogs ever won a fair fight?
  • 19 2
 @jwrendenver: ahem. Vouilloz, Chausson, Bruni, Pierron...? Or may I extend to other mtb sports as well? Smile
  • 2 0
 @brownturns: I'm just asking... As long as they're not crossing the (french) line...
  • 9 3
 @jwrendenver: talking about fair, what happened to your top enduro rider this year?
  • 1 0
 @fracasnoxteam: Does anyone even know where the 'French' line is Wink
  • 25 2
 "We believe that a job title at the company you represent is the minimum requirement to make this a true industry race."
Sure, and next year you'll see same kind of roster. Oh you did not know? They are our "Senior product development consultants". You will always find tricks, and many companies have former racers in their ranks. +As someone else mentioned, I don't think we even have to consider this category seriously.
  • 12 0
 Agreed, it should be about as serious as the Boxxer servicing World Champs at the downhill
  • 1 0
 @scottishmark: Exactly, if every team has had good times riding with buddies on great trails, then it's the most important. There will always be great skills gaps in this category, no matter how you rule it.
  • 13 4
 If you’ve ever raced the pro category, any discipline, any level of race, you’re banned. Even if you now have a legit desk job.
  • 9 1
 @phile99: i think that excludes too many industry folks. what about if u have raced pro in the last 2 years?
  • 1 0
 @savagelake: Well, Team Julbo would still be relevant if "racing" is considered at EWS level
  • 14 3
 6. Sweden have almost gotten zero attention for their second place. Sure, you got zkarias and wallner ranked top 15 but with Alexander Kangas, a privateer ranked 90, i don't think anyone expected this. Beating high ranked countries like australia, new Zeeland, canada, france among others. I dont really know how wyn was thinking when giving the privateer prize to the belgian rider instead of Kangas. Just My humble opinion
  • 24 0
 That would be due to Alex Kangas taking a best stage finish of 14th where as the Belgian guy Bart De Vocht took a 3rd place stage, and would have less sponsorship than Alex also. But for sure Sweden were impressive!
  • 3 0
 The only country that received zero attention was New Zeeland!
  • 2 3
 @wynmasters: you're doing a great job and I understand it's hard to choose. I don't want to argue with you but in my mind I've always thought that it's the end result that matters. Maybe its a bad comparison but to award someone your privateer prize for one stage result is almost the same as awarding someone for doing one segment of a dh wc race fast. Well well I guess they are both worth some extra attention and cash and that your privateer fund will grow to next year!
  • 2 1
 *and I hope your fund will grow so there´s money for all the talented privateers!
  • 14 0
 @Isey: Yeah but as a whole Bart had better result. so it wasn't one segment, Alex's team took him to a better result but Bart helped the Belgian team to a top 5 result while chasing Martin Maes, also Alex already has some existing sponsors which factors in to the choice as well.
  • 14 0
 @wynmasters: well you got some solid arguments their. Thanks for taking your time to explain your deciding factors
  • 1 0
 @Isey: Makes sense for individual prize to be based on individual result - 3rd > 14th, and there is already a team prize.
  • 10 0
 RE: No. 5.
Whatever!! You said it yourself PB, "There are some mitigating factors of course, such as the team element and the fact Isabeau was battling an illness," That and it's not even a regular season race. Why should she hurt herself? Isabeau crushed it this season! All hail the queen!
  • 2 0
 agreed re No. 5 - "Courdurier's dominance was questioned by the Trophy of Nations"

Racer at end season after winning the overall is only 8 seconds off the best time of the day at a teams based (albeit inaugural national medal event). Flu took Sam out for 2 series, while in the hunt.

Think lot mitigating considerations here, title totally misleading and not fair.
  • 16 3
 Fabien Barel is a stickler for the rules as always.
  • 11 0
 4. You had to run first if you wanted to take stage wins

Or everyone picked their fastest riders to set off first perhaps...?
  • 4 0
 yup, any other way was just throwing away time
  • 1 0
 You had to not let two people finish ahead of you if you wanted to take the stage win.
  • 10 0
 So the inofficial french team of retired racers assembled under the Julbo banner actually went faster than the guys crowding the current EWS podium?
  • 10 0
 The French team had a flat in the first stage and was penultimate. After that they got 2-4-6-2 on the following stages
  • 5 0
 I loved the team format, although the rules were a little fuzzy to me. If nothing else, it made for great visuals. Everyone was sleeping on the Yanks, but Richie showed his class and Shawn Neer seems like a guy on the rise as well. Great to have some fast Americans in the series. Any ladies on the rise to keep an eye on?
  • 6 0
 I’d like to see the fattest, sloppiest amateur weekend warriors hopped on PEDs race in a special category.
  • 2 0
 Id buy in for pay-per-view
  • 1 0
 on PEDelecs?
  • 7 1
 Does anyone care about industry based teams racing each other? I sure don't.
  • 2 0
 those Teamy 3guys/gals trains seems like good fun, but also can be totaly opposite, tactics was strong place there... our Czech team learns it hard way... hopefully next time will be better, because Finale is also ours favourite place to spend Xmass holidays Smile
  • 5 0
 What I want to know is where I can get one of those DOPE team Rocky jerseys
  • 1 0
 This, so much.
  • 3 0
 2. The industry competition was dominated by sand bagging Or this race was not meant to be taken too seriously, the Julbo team was composed of retired racers
  • 4 1
 I think they just need to understand that the Frenchies have such great depth in flipping fast riders, be they current or retired.
  • 5 1
 Clearly, Rude was only the 7th best racer in this years EWS. Rankings can never be skewed or have variables.
  • 3 1
 French seems to be a synonym for sandbagger in some circles. That said, if there were no clear cut rules about it....can you blame them?

the spirit of enduro is rolling in their grave
  • 5 0
 Lol if you consider Richie to be the seventh best rider on the circuit
  • 1 0
 I think start format should be changed to encourage tighter trains. The teams should all get timed off the starting gate of their lead rider. Basically the time gaps at the finish line are the exact time difference on the results sheet.
  • 3 0
 And the 1st photo of article with our home boi Vid Persak!! Yeow!
  • 4 0
 ALN is rock&roll
  • 2 1
 Andreane Lanthier Nadeau who finished the weekend with a total time of 36:47.23, 4 seconds faster than Courdurier over the 5 stages.

solid performance
  • 12 13
 After US + Can's podium finishes at TON, I think us North Americans deserve a MINIUMUM of 3 EWS rounds every year. Mountain biking was created in the states, taken to the next level in BC (Canada), and many of the industry giants are based in the US + CAN. Oh yah-- we have a shit ton more mountains to ride here as well. Outside of the Himalayas, the western region of North America is the most mountainous geographic area in the world. Me thinks the euros are scared of high altitude and REAL gnar (hello Northstar), along with bad ass riders like Richie, Cody, and Jesse riding on their home turf. Smile
  • 7 1
 Let's start the anti euro comment again. Boring pride.
  • 2 0
 You're funny Smile
  • 3 2
 @Clem-mk: Nothing anti-euro about his statement. It is a pretty unfair advantage for centrally located Euro riders when 4 of the rounds are within 250 square miles (400km) of each other though Smile
  • 4 0
 Are you "mustachio", from the video of the Californian round ?
  • 1 1
 Yeeeeah, scared of hights and gnar. How cute.

@VanNoche: So, we all Euros already know all trails areas within 400 km² of our homes? We certainly don't.

All spicy comments aside: I quite agree on the fact that you certainly have shitloads of trail areas that might be perfect for additional EWS venues (BC+quebec for Canada, WC & EC for US at least), but wouldn't the schedule too tight for everyone?

We could eventually delete an european venue... but no, we won't. Because the all EWS initiative has been created in Europe, neither in the US nor Canada. You want a larger piece of cake? Create your own series. (aaaaand here we go for another round of "MX US vs World championships", yaaaaay)

Ooooor... just be aware that even if EWS is already trying to do this every year with new venues and trails, there are also continental series that put the spotlight on other trail areas.
  • 1 0
 @kikou: I didn't say that all Euros know all of the trail areas - though there certainly are racers who go pre ride sites in the off season. That wasn't really the point of my comment though... There are a lot more factors that go into a good result aside from knowing the trails/terrain(which is a HUGE advantage). Time zone differences, time spent in transit and overall travel fatigue have a large toll on racers. Australia/NZ riders are pretty impressive in this regard. Riders often have to make the choice of staying in Europe all summer or dealing with flights back and fourth, both are hard to afford for anyone trying to break into the ranks.

I do agree that growing race series nationally/continentally is really important, and I hope that the Continental EWS series continue to grow in both scale and prestige. I'm not here to argue about MX - all I care about is MTB lol.
  • 3 1
 Did everyone take this race seriously ? Was it worth the risk......
  • 3 4
 Weird event. Made for exposure and publicity. Reminds me of the world cup of hockey, instead of the NHL players going to the Olympics. Gimme an enduro round at the mtb world champs instead please!!!
  • 3 0
 6. ‘Merica.
  • 2 0
 ALN and the rest of the Canucks..Kicked Ass!!
  • 7 10
 from looking at her progress over the last few years id say ALN for 2020 EWS champ. And shes so much better to watch riding then Courdurier who looks like shes riding her bigger brothers bike (still a frickkin ripper though!)
  • 4 0
 LOL. It's not her fault! She's just a little baby girl, only 5' tall! Smile
  • 2 0
 She'll still have some tough competition with Cecile making a comeback! ( I assume!)
  • 1 0
 French lines at registration
  • 3 4
  • 3 3
 you made this exact comment 2 days ago under another article. I responded with this same comment at the timePublished just below this practice gallery is an event intro piece with it all spelled out quite clearly.


Look for the heading "the format"

so second time around here's a Hint... TRY READING ;-)
  • 2 2
 @davetrumpore: Hey Dave, I didn't see your comment until today. TRY CHILLIN'
  • 1 2
 @ksilvey10: take a look at the pics of Finale while your at it and ask yourself who's "chillin" haha
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: I AM SO CHILL!!!!!
  • 1 1
 @ksilvey10: speak up... I can't hear you shouting in ALL CAPS
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: geez man, no need to shout...
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