What a season it has been. From Chile and Colombia, to Europe, to our backyard in Whistler, and back across the pond to the final two rounds in Spain and Italy. We're exhausted and we watched the action from the sidelines. Here are a couple things we noticed.
1. The French still rule enduro.
First and second in the Pro Women's rankings in the overall standings with Isabeau Courdurier and Cecile Ravanel, and second, third, fifth and tenth overall in the Pro Men's standings with Damien Oton Florian Nicolai, Dimitri Tordo and Youn Deniaud. On top of that, two-thirds of the riders on both the Pro Women's and Pro Men's podiums at Finale Ligure were French. The difference with the 2018 DH season? None of the men finished on the top step of the podium the whole season.
2. Cecile had the perfect season taking 8 wins in 8 races, but will it last?
Since the third EWS in Olargues, France, Isabeau Courdurier has got consistently closer and closer to Cecile at every round. She was 2:46 behind in Olargues, 2:31 in Petzen-Jamnica, 1:39 in La Thuile, 1:25 in Whistler, 55 seconds behind in Spain, and now just 6 seconds behind in Finale Ligure with two stage wins. On a side note, Cecile wasn't the only one who had the perfect season. The UK's Ella Conolly won eight for eight in the U21 Women's category.
3. It's a very long season, which means consistency is key.
It was a drama-filled year with riders having some major ups and downs throughout it. Katy Winton was able to hold on to third despite not finishing on the podium after the first two rounds. And how about Florian Nicolai not getting one podium and still finishing in third overall!? Richie Rude won three rounds, but still couldn't crack the top 5 overall.
4. Injuries are a part of the game, but how long you'll be out is anyone's guess.
Just seven weeks after Ines Thoma broke her C5, L1 and nose
ahead of EWS Whistler, she was able to finish EWS Finale Ligure! Jesse Melamed broke his hand ahead of Whistler and finished 8th in Spain and 7th in Finale Ligure. Then there's Adrien Dailly who missed almost the entire season with a broken elbow, and Rae Morrison who missed half the season with a broken finger.
5. Second place riders put it all on the line.
There isn't that one-run-wins-all attitude for the final round of the EWS like there is at DH World Championships... At least not for the leaders going into the final round. Sam Hill played it safe, with a 9th place to finish up the season. However, both Martin Maes and Isabeau Courdurier seemed to put it all on the line with nothing to lose and everything to gain in Finale Ligure. It almost paid off for Isabeau Courdurier, and proved detrimental to Martin Maes' overall dreams after he crashed and injured his hand.
6. A healthy ALN is a force to be reckoned with.
Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau improved steadily each race after returning from injury for Round 4, with a 9th, 6th, 4th, and two third places. One to watch in 2019!
• Flat pedals and 650b wheels took the Pro Men's overall, but clips and 29ers took it for the women.
• Commencal riders won the EWS Pro Women's overall, DH Men's overall, and have development riders that were top three in the overall in both DH with Thibaut Daprela in DH and Theotim Trabac in Enduro.
• Miranda Miller finished 10th at the final DH World Cup of the year, and 10th at EWS Finale Ligure.
• Casey Brown has a third place earlier this year in Petzen-Jamnica, but posted on Instagram that Finale Ligure would be her last EWS... What next?
What did we miss? What stood out to you this during this weekend's race?Previously:
• Essential Guide to Finale Ligure
• Course Preview
• Practice Photo Report
• How Do Enduro Pros Fuel Up For Race Day?
• Final Results
• Race Day Photo Epic