5 Things We Learned at EWS Val di Fassa 2019

Jul 3, 2019
by Ed Spratt  
No matter where you look on Stage 5 you can not escape a view of the Dolomites.

The fourth round of the EWS in Val di Fassa provided some intense racing while riders dealt with blistering temperatures. Here are five things we noticed from the sidelines:

1. EWS races are shorter this year

At the halfway point in the season, it seems that riders are being given an easier time this year than last year. Yes, the weather gods have smiled on them but so have the EWS route planners, who have cut down the amount of riding considerably from last year.

In 2018, riders kicked off with four consecutive two day races however this year two of the races have been completed in just one. The fastest men had already also racked up nearly three hours of race time against the clock at this point last year, with each race averaging just over 43 minutes, whereas we've had about an hour less in total this year with races averaging around the 30 minute mark.

Noga Korem tucked for speed.

2. Riders from warmer climates seemed to perform better in the high temperatures

With Europe baking under a heatwave at the moment, riders faced temperatures of upwards of 36°C throughout the day. This made conditions pretty hard for everyone with not a lot of opportunity for shade and recovery. One thing we noticed was that in the hotter weather local riders and those from warmer climates tended to perform better with only a few riders like Richie Rude and ALN being the exceptions. In the Elite men's race, seven of the ten fastest were from warmer climates and the Women's was pretty similar with six of the top ten. This presents an interesting issue as the hot weather is set to continue into next weekend when the EWS arrives in France for two long days of riding.

Sam Hill dropping a foot and showing the loam who s boss on the fresh cut Stage 3.

3. Isabeau Courdurier continues her domination of the women's field

No one can argue that Isabeau Courdurier is absolutely dominating the 2019 EWS season and with four back to back wins she is on her way to matching Cecile Ravanel's perfect 2018 season. So far this year Courdurier has won 75% of the stages on offer, she has only finished outside of the top two in a stage twice and she has also taken the fastest time on all the Queen stages and grabbing those valuable extra overall points. For 2019 she has finally had her chance to show she has what it takes to perform at the highest level consistently race to race but is she as dominant as Cecile was last year?

When you look at overall race times, maybe not. Isabeau is currently pulling an average of 1.4% over second place and 3.3% over fifth, for Cecile this was 3.6% and 8.4% respectively at this point in the season. Yes weather and tracks will have played their part but Isabeau's grip over the series isn't quite as tight as Cecile's was and she'll have to keep an eye over her shoulder if she wants that perfect season this year.

Isabeau Courdurier continued her clean sweep of the season and extended her lead even further n the overall.

4. Plenty of riders rocked new bikes to tackle the Dolomites

The biggest change of bikes for round four was Sam Hill testing a prototype Nukeproof Mega that had more travel, slacker head angle and a longer reach. After struggling to get used to the bigger wheels over the past few seasons the new bike seems to suit him well as he finished the weekend second behind Richie Rude. Gustav Wildhaber, who finished 10th, would also be riding a prototype Cube which looks to be a new direction for the company, although the paint job is definitely divisive.

In other tech news, Isabeau Courdurier has now made the switch to 29-inch wheels and she seems to be loving it according to her Instagram, it also isn't slowing her down either. The Canyon team were also on some freshly painted Canyon Strives.

5. Consistency is key for the EWS overall

Winning doesn't mean everything this year in the EWS with only two of the top ten riders having actually been fastest of the day. No rider has been in the top five at every race so far and only current series leader Florian Nicolai has been in it three times. The four other riders at the top of the overall standings only have six results inside the top five between them but because of consistently good results, they see themselves featured at the top of the leaderboards.

Sam Hill is a great example of this, his results of 12th, 8th, 5th and 2nd may not have yet reached the sparkling brilliance of last year but he finds himself second in the overall with Nicolai easily catchable just 220 points ahead.
Once again Eddie Masters showed that he is one of the best bike racers out there. 4th on the day just a handful of seconds off the podium.

Final Results: EWS Val di Fassa 2019
Course Preview: Unspoiled Beauty - EWS Val di Fassa 2019
Practice Photo Epic: High Altitude - EWS Val di Fassa 2019
Finals Photo Epic: Checkers or Wreckers - EWS Val di Fassa 2019
Video: Course Preview With Katy Winton - EWS Val Di Fassa 2019

MENTIONS: @EnduroWorldSeries / @davetrumpore / @mdelorme

Regions in Article


  • + 18
 I learnt that the whole EWS thing is less fun this year.
  • + 2
  • + 13
 Lesson 6: Most of the people already forgot about the doping. Richie Rude is praised like a hero, but he shouldn't be.
  • - 4
flag ciechan (Jul 3, 2019 at 2:30) (Below Threshold)
 Totally agree.
  • + 19
 The bottle sounds pretty plausible.


And whether or not those things are illegal, I personally have issues with the extent of the banned items list. It makes it way too easy to get popped for inadvertently ingesting trace amounts of "drugs" that have little to no real performance enhancing value.

Blood boosting, etc. Whole 'nother ballgame.
  • - 8
flag SpecializedFTW (Jul 3, 2019 at 9:24) (Below Threshold)
 @rollingdip: It’s plausible, but why did he get a eight month suspension for something he claims to be an accident that resulted in trace amounts of a banned substance? He’s trying to make an argument that doesn’t fit with the facts. He claims it was an accident and only a trace amount in his AAF but then he gets a eight month suspensions. Bullshit. UCI doesn’t issue eight month suspensions when the athlete clearly demonstrates something to be an accident.
  • + 5
 While Maes is not mentioned, and in my view his suspension is absolutely absurd: non-performance enhancing substance prescribed by a doctor to save his leg from a serious infection.

Bottom line is doping suspensions will probably determine men's winner this season, and that's a bummer.
  • + 8
 I don’t think many have forgotten about it, just realizing the whole situation was a bit hyped up for no reason. Realistically it was a mistake that could have happened to anyone. I personally drink water from my friends bottles all the time and have let friends drink from mine many of times. Obviously a lot have people have moved on and support him.
  • + 2
 People can be against the UCI as much as they like, but in the end, at least there is now consistent testing of athletes. Martin's suspension is very unfortunate, but at least he owed up to it and accepts the responsibility. He presented a clear breakdown of why he ingested the substance and the reason for. He received the lightest sentence possible. The whole water bottle excuse is rather vague. Also, remember Barelli's reaction to it? www.pinkbike.com/news/exclusive-richie-rude-and-jared-graves-failed-drug-test-at-ews-france.html

Hopefully these instances will make athletes take note of what they ingest and we won't have to question a rider in the future who barrels past other top competitors, making them look like rookies. Worse would be to let everyone have free reign as they pretty much had in the beginning. Before long the whole sport can end up being tainted like road cycling. If you look at XC, those athletes get tested continually, yet very few dramas and drug stories emerge. Checking what you take in is part and parcel of their routine.

Here's to a long, successful and clean future of EWS!
  • + 10
 Lesson 6: if you are catched with PET's, you can always blame a water bottle and get away with it. Your groupies will give your story back support.
  • + 30
 That's rude.
  • + 0
 Lance didn't do drugs either mate, chill out
  • + 58
 Lesson 7: The court of public opinion is a joke. Graves bravely (foolishly) engages actual Pinkbike commenters in the comment section (gulp) to to give a full and honest account of a mistake that cost him and his friend of many years dearly. Gets roasted. Rude loses the respect he deserves as one of the top 5 most talented riders on the planet. Maes has stacks of paper proving his story, gets roasted.

I hate the idea of doping. And I’m disgusted by anyone who would dirty the waters of sport and competition by cheating their way through the pack. It’s a selfish, ugly thing to do. But I... well... believe it or not, I actually believe these guys. I believe in their integrity and their skill.

Not sure what the draw of recreational hate is. But it sure does flavor 90% of Pinkbike comments.
  • + 15
 @jozefk We get that you are a fan of MM and peeved at his suspension. But, why so much hate for RR from you...maybe it's time to back off a bit?
  • + 5
 Can someone please explain me the issue with doping... cheating is an evolutionary mechanism. Like telling a girl you love her only you to jump into her pants. You may dislike it. But if you don’t do it, of you don’t whisper to this girls ear, Bobby might do it. He’ll take the love of your life away. And she'll love it

I just mean, we all do it. So don’t use words like “being disgusted at the very thought of someone doping” because being genetically predisposed for training, good looking, well spoken, meeting right people, give you as good shot at a win as doping and not having all these things. The reason you are not there, that is in position to consider whether take or not take drugs to win, in whatever sport you fancy, is MAINLY because you were born to wrong parents with wrong genes in wrong place at a wrong time and have lived among wrong people in wrong place at a wrong time. Wrong in terms: not suitable to become a world class athlete. If you think that many of those people who are at the top, suddenly decided at young age to be world class mountain bikers and grinded their way through storm more than anyone does to get where they are at whatever job they do, then you are doing a huge disservice to yourself. Screw them, their doping, think about yourself getting in your own way.

Cheating is wrong, because society says it is wrong. You are going with the vote of majority. It’s a matter whether you got caught or not. Society does not consist of folks who hand themselves free willingly to justice as soon as they make some mistake. It is physically impossible.
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Not sure if you are talking to me, the world, or some girl that dumped you for a sleazeball in your past, but... thanks? for the life lesson?

I don't think doping should be accepted as an evolutionary mechanism. I think it is almost the exact opposite. Drugs aren't going to turn you into Jordan, tiny-fetus-jesus made Jordan and his hard work (no offense to religious folk). Get what you are saying. Still think it is gross to pollute sport with cheating. Also think it's gross to look at meeting girls as sport. And also am getting a little bit of a vibe that a race against you might benefit from a urine sample at the end...
  • + 2
 Racing, in all of its forms, has the potential to be one of the purest forms of sport and competition we have. Racer, machine, track. I don't think Rude, Graves, or Maes are willing cheaters. I just don't. Doesn't mean I have to accept that other people are, and that it pollutes something pure with something very ugly.
  • + 5
 @Garrathustra: who said about accepting it... don't speak as if you had a choice because you don't. Social norms are there for a reason, they are policed for a reason and people break them for a reason. Reason we almost never fully know and each case is nuanced. What we can do though is give people the benefit of doubt, especially in the case where person didn't confess to the crime they are accused of. Makes life a lot easier. Like forgiveness, not holding a grudge. And I wasn't taking a personal dig at you.

"Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike"

Having said that, in a weird way it baffles me how people who claim to want MTB to be a loose, free, inclusive sport, activity, a way of life if you like, suddenly become zealot huntsmen for those who cheat. So do we have loose attitude or are we a police state? Or maybe everything in between. And we should chill the fk out, when Richie Rude or Jared Graves get tested positive for something, something
  • + 1
 @Garrathustra: Pure?! Like Virgin Mary? Hey Richie! From now on, EWS is Haram for you!
  • + 3
 Dont worry, my user name is a Nietzsche reference, I don’t get too confused by morality on a societal level. Done a lot of reading and thinking on the subject. And I don’t entirely agree with that quote. And this has gotten quite existential.

It offends my tastes. Cheating offends my perception of what could be a pure sport. No huntsman here. Not out for anybody’s blood. And I don’t think groups bigger than about five or six people are ever truly all that interested in loose inclusion, especially given the anonymity afforded by a keyboard.

I stay out of the comments most of the time. I read them more for social edification. No hard feelings on my side, sorry for the pokes. Off to ride my bike before it gets too hot!
  • + 3
 @Garrathustra: No hard feelings on my side either. I can only respect your attitude. We all cherish something. You happen to cherish this. Fine by me. Riding in the afternoonz
  • + 2
 @Garrathustra: got a link to the Graves engagement? I'd be interested to read it I'm still on the fence about how I feel about these two.
  • + 1
 It was on the article about Rude announcing his return to racing I believe. I would look to confirm, but I am actually trying to get on my bike at this very moment before the heat index goes through the roof. Sorry.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: dude you just sound creepy and dated with that analogy.
  • + 1
 @matttauszik: Yeah I have my flaws... but what you wrote sounds best with stiff upper lip and that is my only problem with it.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Appreciate the back and forth, especially when it doesn’t resort to name calling or anything too foolish. Sadly I stopped and unclipped just a little down the road to write a quick reply. (This is why I stay out of the comments)

If you look at what I wrote, I don’t think I made any moral value judgements. (Morality really is something I think about often) I said “ugly”, “pollute”, “disgusted”. Not evil, or even wrong. Just offensive.

Back to riding...
  • + 2
 @Garrathustra: nah I spoke to a general attitude. No probs. I’d hug it out with you, but you have sending to do.
  • + 5
 @Garrathustra: Seems as though envy is the root of much PB hate
  • + 1
 Couldn’t have put it better myself! @Garrathustra:
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Sadly, no sending today, just a road ride in my baggies long enough to earn some beers tonight. Unfortunately, road riding can be so contemplative. Had some miles to get a little peeved.

Re-read your first response and have a couple of notes. It's not always warranted to spout off life advice, dating advice, and lessons on morality to strangers on the internet.

I get that most people don't notice the Nietzsche reference in my name (maybe there are a couple philosophy majors on here), but having spent years studying the guy, I have a more nuanced understanding of morality than the average individual.

And also I don't know if the dating reference was supposed to be a dig in some way, like attacking a stranger's manhood, but, dude. Again, not necessary. I was married to a Brazilian model for seven years. Before her I dated a girl who is now an international sex symbol whom you've probably tried to find naked pictures of on google, and after my wife, another model. All awesome people. Never planned it that way, just happened. Never cheated or looked at it like a sport either. You have no reason to believe me, but here's the thing... it's true.

Enough internet posturing for me today (probably for a couple months). Time to shower and go grab some brews! Keep your life lessons to yourself, man. I said I don't comment much, not that I don't read comments. Not sure what you get out of all of this all the time. Still no animosity, just kinda shaking my head, that's all.
  • + 2
 @Garrathustra: I appreciate your response, but you overanalyzed my comment. I guess because you are a good and smart guy. The whole comment was a critique of certain attitudes often found on this site. Not your comment in particular, funny enough I did not notice your username. Combination of these says a lot of bad things about me. But I don’t really care. My internet persona is just a persona like any other and I have as little to win with it as I have to lose. It baffles me how people try to stay anonymous as if they had God only knows what reputation to lose. I enjoy the freedom such realization provides.

As to analogy, well, you overanalyzed it. But I referred to the fact that just like me in my teenage years there are plenty of folks setting themselves a certain standard of what is fair and what isn’t, inevitably based on impressions they get from society. If I was to take a dig at you I would have to assume that you are a typical guy with Virgin Mary complex, who puts women on pedestal that is waaay over the top and as a result never getting laid. A type that thinks that one should never look for a woman in a club. A bipolar disorder of virgin/whore.

Now this can also be applied to looking for fairness in other areas of life. Not saying that you do but you did use words like “pure” which always strike me, as nothing, even a new born child is pure. Racing is not pure, and I personally find a few more disgusting things than opening speeches for Olympic Games, full of high fly values. I may change my mind when upbringing kids, I may see value in brainwashing, because their little minds not always grasp the underlying mechanisms. By no means I am trying to say that fairness is useless since everyone is cheating, but I have a hard time demonizing dopers, because I can put myself into their shoes. I rarely display empathy, but I can empathize with horrible people. Because I can imagine where they come from. Because I can find all that in me. I am one of you people. I also have a pro athlete in the family, it is a very hard walk to walk and nothing hides it’s darkest corners more than “sick edits” on social media.

The void is always there. The mirror, the home of shadows, angels thrown from heavens. The house of the dragon. Very few things make us more angry in other humans, than our own traits we are ashamed of and repress. Like the memory of that girl Ivonne I fancied and was super kind to, and she turned out to be a needy chick, that got away with another dude, an a*shole, possibly irritated with me not making decisive moves.

I believe showing your soft belly is a display of power Smile

BTw no sending for me either. Dig No ride day.
  • + 1
 One of the best ways I have ever heard it is “There is something about that guy that I don’t like about myself.” Jung said that the things that make us the most irrationally angry are the things we are unwilling to accept in ourselves. Same story.

I just choose not to spread anger accept where I feel it is warranted. And that is only when I’m at my best. I choose not to get involved online because personas are inherently flawed.

I will gladly talk to about this elsewhere, but for now... why do you take away from this community so often?
  • + 1
 Huge fan of your response. Love it, man. Just still have questions.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: If this is your argument, then cheating must become legal and everyone has to be allowed to do it. Performance enhancing substances create an uneven palying field. And that is what anti doping policies are trying to prevent. Sport is all about athletes having a chance to compete at the same conditions.

I'm all for legalizing performance enhancing drugs, but one needs to be aware of the consequences: it will cause a loss of reputation for the sport in question, more athletes might die due to drug related complications, etc. I don't know whether we really want to go there...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Yeah I get that an 80s jock mentality and road bike testosterone is taking over the sport, but some 14 year old girl should be able to read the comments section in a mountain bike forum with out that dated b.s.. Save your 1 up, you already got me with that stellar comment.
  • + 1
 @matttauszik: dated? Ok... you may call it inappropriate since a 14yr old may read it, but dated, heh... ok... as if it was ever getting dated. Unless you mean that above the age of 25 it doesn’t work on such a wide spectrum of +25yr old population as it works below 25. But well it’s a bike forum not psychology today.
  • + 1
 @AaGro: cause he is a cheater and got catched and still blame someone else and make them suspect.
He would get my repsect back if he just said sorry and got on. But now? Sorry ass cheater it is.
  • + 1
 @Garrathustra and @waki get out of each others ass and stop making cheating right. RR is a full blown cheater and now also a liar!
  • + 1
 @jozefk: doesn’t that mean you have to say the same about Maes? I don’t, but this comment seems like you might.
  • + 1
 @jozefk: Well, that’s just like... your opinion, man. Have a nice night!
  • + 1
 @AaGro: nope indeed, cause he has witnesses, real facts and proof. None of what RR and Graves have.
  • + 7
 1. EWS races are shorter this year : IMO they should be getting longer. Why spend all that time training and piles of cash only to go to shorter races. Longer is harder but that's what they do for a living....it's not supposed to be easy! All races should be two day format with at least 5 stages a day :-)
  • + 4
 You're confusing riding with racing. Longer rides are "harder" for you, but shorter races aren't any easier to win. Anyone who races gravity knows that. What you're actually asking for is more of an endurance test. Go watch WCXC if that's what gets you fired up.
  • + 7
 6. People who get suspended for banned substances are faster when they return.
  • + 4
 Assuming he's been clean during his time away, it still makes some sense. He has probably had less time spent traveling, less wear and tear from racing, and less race recovery downtime that can all interfere with just training as hard as possible the whole time.
  • + 0
 Been to 2 rounds this season....Definitely easier than 2017 when I last saw a race. Its has mixed up the results too , with many experienced riders not able to show there skills with easier and faster stages suiting DH riders. Rude / Hill / Masters ect…
If RR continues to win it will make it hard for SH to catch Flo. He needs the wins to pull back the points gap.
  • + 0
 Point 5 is soooo moot, if not for the outward influence imposed this year. That is at best half a point, and the statement re correlation re day stage results vs overall is not substantiated.
  • - 1
 I learnt one thing recently after speaking to a doctor friend of mine that Probenecid is mainly used when treating either a brain infection or super gonorrhea. Bummer.....
  • + 0
 Is super gonorrhea that prevalent in Australasia?
  • - 2
 Rude VS Hill is happening! Sorry about injuries and stupid drug tests but this is what it is. Women's bracket getting more competitive also. Going to be a hell of a showdown.
  • + 20
 Ewww Stupid drug test really ? Our sport is being poluted with doped athletes, it's ruining its visibility but you think it's stupid. Dude please stay focused.
  • - 6
flag jorgeposada (Jul 3, 2019 at 2:21) (Below Threshold)
 @McommeMiaou: Focus on what, have seen real pro atheles who make more than the whole EWS sit out a season for banned substances. This is a reality check but extremely far from new, get focused!
  • - 3
 Given what we have seen so far, it is only a duel until one of them crashes hard enough to end his season.
  • - 3
 @Ttimer: Get positive stupid.
  • + 0
 5.5. Flats and 29 is faaaaast, in the gnar.
  • + 0
 Net: nothing new :-)
  • - 3
 Is it that hard to write Andreane Lanthier Nadeau? We could just use RR and SH and be done with it.
  • + 27
 I don't think so, CMM.
  • + 9
 It is her actual nickname in real life.
  • + 5
 I remember that she says in an interview that she likes to be called ALN instead of her full name so what's the matter?
  • + 4
 It's her #nickname. ALN uses it herself...
  • + 3
 you must be fun at parties
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