The Finale in Finale - EWS 7/Superenduro 6 in Finale Ligure

Oct 18, 2013
by Matt Wragg  


























The Finale in Finale
You never get a showdown in a town called Showdown. That kind of perfect, poetic circularity is rare gold. Yet thanks to some inexplicable Italian naming, the last big race of the enduro season is held in a town called Finale. So for the last eight years the enduro world, if you could call it that, gathers on the banks of the Ligurian Sea in the town of Finale Ligure to send off the race season. This year two series finish here, the Superenduro PRO series, and as it began in Italy, the first season of the Enduro World Series also finishes in Italy. The finale in Finale.

Of course the race doesn't just come here to make writers happy, there are other, good reasons why this has been one of the few stops that has been on the Superenduro circuit. It's the same reason the New World Disorder filmed here, as did Alex Rankin and Clay Porter. The same reason that Europe's biggest 24hour race is held here and that outside the alpine lift season, riders flock here to put tyres to dirt. Quite simply, it has a stunning trail network and has done for nearly two decades now. Originally the town thrived on rock climbing, but before long people realised that the network of ancient trails around the town and the surrounding villages could be threaded together and made perfect for the then-emerging mountain bikes...

On ground level Finale looks more like this - green mountains rolling into the deep blue ocean. If you re lucky there s sun overhead too.
  On ground level, Finale looks more like this - green mountains rolling into the deep, blue sea, with towns and villages clustering into the space in between. If you're lucky there's sun overhead too.

The course map for this weekend. On Saturday riders will tackle stages 1 to 4 then on Sunday 5 and 6. In total they will cover about 60km and climb and descend for 2 300m.
  The course map for this weekend. On Saturday riders will tackle stages 1 to 4, then on Sunday 5 and 6. In total they will cover about 60km and climb and descend for 2,300m.

Shuttling is allowed at Superenduro races. The only stipulation is that you can only shuttle on the tarmac road you are not allowed to shuttle on the fireroads that reach most of the trails here.
  Shuttling is allowed at Superenduro races. The only stipulation is that you can only shuttle on the tarmac road, you are not allowed to shuttle on the fireroads that reach most of the trails here.

Race director Franco Monchiero fields early morning calls as the setup begins.This is actually the test race for the Superenduro format next year as they move towards two-day races. One thing he is keen to introduce for this format next year is a parc ferme. So after Saturdays racing riders will have a limited time to work on the bike before they are locked away for the night. They decided it was a step too far for this race but it sounds like an interesting twist on the racing.
  Race director Franco Monchiero fields early morning calls as the setup begins.This is actually the test race for the Superenduro format next year, as they move towards two-day races. One thing he is keen to introduce for this format next year is a parc ferme. So after Saturday's racing riders will have a limited time to work on their bike before they are locked away for the night. They decided it was a step too far for this race, but it sounds like an interesting twist on the racing format.

Santa Cruz have brought Joe Bowman and Duncan Philpot with them to shoot film and photos for them this weekend and they are certainly blending in with the locals in the cafes.
  Santa Cruz have brought Joe Bowman and Duncan Philpott with them to shoot film and photos for them this weekend and they are certainly blending in with the locals in the cafes.

  Jerome Clementz arrived earlier this week, and while practice didn't start until yesterday, the woods provided plenty to keep him busy.

The most important thing with trying to cover one of these races is the planning you need to work where you need to be when you need to be there and most importantly how you re going to get there.
  The most important thing with trying to cover one of these races is the planning, you need to work where you need to be, when you need to be there and, most importantly, how you're going to get there.

The essential reading for most people in Finale this morning wasn t the paper but the race information. EWS main main Chris Ball and Dirt s Steve Jones get some quality bench time in.
  The essential reading for most people in Finale this morning wasn't the paper, but the race information. EWS main main, Chris Ball, and Dirt's Steve Jones get some quality bench time in.

Nicolas Quere before the stage 1
  Commencal rider Nicolas Quere wonders what the weekend has in store for him.

Fontana s baby
  Marco Fontanas wife has just had a baby, the first seaside trip is here. While Marco is best known as one of the frontrunners on the XC World Cup circuit, he's a great bike handler and we'd expect to see him near the top of the results sheet come Sunday.

The bottom of stage 2 6 was through dark thick forest but occasionally they d open up enough to let through a shaft of golden light.
  The bottom of stage 2/6 was through dark, thick forest, but occasionally they'd open up enough to let through a shaft of golden light.

Nico Lau look on the gas on stage 2 6. Were going to stick our neck out now and say he s our bet for this weekend. His season hasn t been quite what he wanted so he s hungry for an EWS win and coming off a win at the Trans Provence his confidence must be riding high.
  Nico Lau looked on the gas on stage 2/6. We're going to stick our neck out now and say he's our bet for this weekend. His season hasn't been quite what he wanted, so he's hungry for an EWS win and coming off a win at the Trans Provence his confidence must be riding high.

Martin Maes has already sewed up the junior EWS series title and watching him through the rocks it is easy to see why. The question now isn t whether he ll be the other juniors but how many of the adults he can beat. The smart money says most of them...
  Martin Maes has already sewed up the junior EWS series title, and watching him through the rocks it is easy to see why. The question now isn't whether he'll beat the other juniors, but how many of the adults he can beat. The smart money says most of them...

Two arrows in case you miss the first one... The Superenduro crew have been out doing a heroic job with the taping double-taping some sections to stop less scrupulous riders accidentally slipping through them. On the sections where a clear advantage could be gained relatively easily it s taped hard enough so that you ll most likely bounce backwards if you hit it. That said on the stages it doesn t feel like too much not like a downhill course where you do nearly your entire race run between the tapes.
  Two arrows in case you miss the first one... The Superenduro crew have been out doing a heroic job with the taping, double-taping some sections to stop less scrupulous riders from accidentally slipping through them. On the sections where a clear advantage could be gained relatively easily it's taped hard enough so that you'll most likely bounce backwards if you hit it. That said, on the stages, it doesn't feel like too much, not like a downhill course where you do nearly your entire race run between the tapes.

  Jerome Clementz has already wrapped up the EWS series title, but a second place finish at the Trans Provence will surely have him gunning for the top spot this weekend.

Ludo May on the stage 3
  Welcome to Italy. Norco rider Ludo May drifts and waves through a loose corner while practicing stage three.

Stage five is Cacciatori vs. Madonna della Guardia two classic Finale trails cleaned by the local orgaisation Blue Bike and mixed together to keep even the locals guessing.
  Stage five is "Cacciatori vs. Madonna della Guardia," two classic Finale trails, cleaned by the local orgaisation, Blue Bike, and mixed together to keep even the locals guessing.

  The stage starts up at the church of Madonna della Guardia.

Somebody needs to sign Dorian Zuretti next year. He s had a tough year - a broken wrist in Punta Ala ruled him out for the rest of the season but his pace is undeniable and he s gladly pushed back and forth for different photographers and filmmakers today to hit sections again and again for them.
  Somebody needs to sign Dorian Zuretti next year. He's had a tough year - a broken wrist in Punta Ala ruled him out for the rest of the season, but his pace is undeniable and he gladly pushed back and forth for different photographers and filmmakers today, to hit sections again and again for them.

Photo Richard Bord
  Here's another shot of Dorian making his way through the magic sunbeams.

This nas to be one of the best things about these practice days - running trains with your friends in the dust...
  This has to be one of the best things about these practice days - running trains with your friends in the dust...

Ines Thoma
  Ines Thoma recently won the Ischgl Overmountain Challenge in cold, wintery conditions - the climate of Finale should be a welcome change of pace.

Pasta in the sunshine for lunch. Yeah today was tough.
  Pasta in the sunshine for lunch. Yeah, today was tough.

EWS main man Chris Ball drops into the final stage. You shouldn t forget that Chris was once a World Cup DH racer himself and watching him ride it s clear he knows which way to point a bicycle. Very quickly.
  EWS main man, Chris Ball, drops into the final stage. You shouldn't forget that Chris was once a World Cup DH racer himself, and watching him ride, it's clear he knows which way to point a bicycle. Very quickly.

Take golden light and a breathtaking coastline and you inevitably end up with packs of photographers and filmers hunting for gold.
  Take golden light and a breathtaking coastline and you inevitably end up with packs of photographers and filmers hunting for gold.

Yeah... Not bad not bad at all.
  Yeah... Not bad, not bad at all.

Charging into the sunset.
  Charging into the sunset.

This is the angle you don t see from most of the photos - the massed media find their gold and Chris Ball kicks up some dust for them.
  This is the angle you don't see from most of the photos - the massed media find their gold and Chris Ball kicks up some dust for them.

And so finishes the first day of practice as the sun dips behind the Maritime Alps. Same again tomorrow
  And so finishes the first day of practice, as the sun dips behind the Maritime Alps. Same again tomorrow?



30 Comments

  • 24 1
 this is my dad's and my hometown! ive ridden on all those trails and lived a good portion of my life there before i moved to canada.
  • 3 0
 lucky
  • 8 0
 Its very nice to see a city without chairlifts so famous with mountain bike ...
  • 8 1
 Putting my money on Fabien! Such a great guy, hope he gets it.
  • 6 0
 A grand finale in the grand finale
  • 6 0
 Drifting while waving. How!?
  • 4 0
 Loving this place...great riding awesome food
  • 3 0
 What a location! Beautiful!
  • 3 0
 Go Nate Hills!!!!!
  • 1 0
 Is Nate racing it? I'd love to see how he fares.
  • 1 0
 Nate isn't going to be there. He's in the states.
  • 1 0
 Oh, I thought he was going over there with Alex and doing this race.
  • 1 0
 Haha Jerome and his magic shrooms
  • 1 1
 Let's do some podium bets Big Grin

mine:

1. Barell
2. Vouilloz
3. Graves
4. Clementz
5. Schurter
  • 1 3
 What is the deal with full face helmets vs half shells? Are they required to wear full face or is it by choice? Are the courses gnarly enough to need it even for pro riders?
  • 1 0
 Might be choice or could possibly be a sponsorship thing. I must admit since getting into enduro/all mountain racing I've scared myself a few times and I invested in a full face even though I wasn't riding a proper downhill trail.
  • 2 0
 Full faces are part of the required protection for EWS races. "Full-face helmet, long gloves, knee pads and a back protector all CE certified are compulsory into the stages" I think some at least bring a half lid for the transfers. I'm not sure about the one guy in the photo with a half lid though, but maybe he was not yet on the stage.
  • 1 0
 Why not use a full face if your going flat out on DH stages. While its not world cup DH trails or speeds they still get moving pretty quick and its better to have the protection even if it could be considered overkill.
  • 3 1
 Without a Fullface, you're likely to get seriously hurt in Finale when you crash... All stages they run are more demanding than a typical DH track in the US...
  • 1 0
 As I understand it, full face helmets r required for all stages on race day, but u can opt for half lid on training days if u want.
  • 4 1
 Shalf "All stages they run are more demanding than a typical DH track in the US..." Having live in Europe for 15 years and ridden all over the US this isn't true. I am not sure what DH tracks in the US you are referring to but make informed comments.
  • 2 0
 I spent a week riding here. The first morning our guide made 2 comments on my set up.... 1. You will struggle with that 800mm bar (clipped 3 trees) and 2. Bring a full face the next time. He was absolutely right. These trails are amazing, as you get lower they get rocky. This place is biking paradise.
  • 1 0
 Wide angle rulez!
  • 1 0
 Magnifiques photos..
  • 1 2
 Enduro. Enduro specific everywhere.
  • 8 1
 I thought the point of Enduro is to get up the hill and down the hill on the same bike, thus it is not specific but designed for bikes that can do a broad range of things....so how has "Enduro Specific" become a term? It's an oxymoron.

This is not a dig at the comment above. I recognize sarcasm when I see it.
  • 3 0
 I just always automatically replace the word Enduro with Mountain biking, or all mountain. Unless of course its directly in reference to the race itself. Its easy try it yourself. I'll start. Enduro helmet for enduro racing. Mountain bike helmet, great for all mountain epics. next....
  • 1 0
 *slow clap
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