Photo Epic: EWS Ainsa 2018 - Day One

Sep 22, 2018
by Dave Trumpore  




Another hot day and nothing but sunshine greeted racers as they headed out for the more physical of the two race days in Ainsa. With Stage 1 being the most brutal of the weekend it would set the tone for the day as Cecile Ravanel and Richie Rude pulled impressive time gaps on their competition right from the get go. It would also claim some of the first victims of the weekend in Thomas Lapyrie and Robin Walner who would be forced to retire from the race.

Cecile would go on to win all four stages in the day to finish clear of Isabeau Courdurier and ALN, with Noga Korem threatening for the final podium spot in 4th. Richie too would dominate the day by winning stages 2 and 3 before conceeding a few seconds to a charging Martin Maes on Stage 4. Damion Oton rode most of the day in the second position but would get bumped by Maes at the very end to close out day one in third.

The biggest drama behind the scenes would be series leader Sam Hill who would suffer a devastating front puncture on the physical Stage 2, losing prescious time and possibly points in the overall. In the true spirit of EWS sportsmanship the man with the most to gain from Hill's mechanical, Martin Mae's, would be the man who helped Sam repair his bike at the finish line to ensure he would make it to the next stage on time.

Day 2 will showcase three much steeper and more technical stages with the risk of crashes and mechanicals very high, especially on the opening stage. Richie and Cecile certainly have the speed and motivation but as everyone saw today with Sam Hill, anything can and very well may happen.

Another Golden morning in Ainsa to kick off the first day of racing.
Another golden morning in Ainsa to kick off the first day of racing.

Final prep for what will be a very long day in the saddle.
Final prep for what will be a very long day in the saddle.

It's a long way to Stage 1.

With almost three hours from the time racers rolled out of the start in Ainsa until they would drop in on Stage 1 lots packed an extra lunch for the journey.
With almost three hours from the time racers rolled out of the start in Ainsa until they would drop in on Stage 1, lots packed an extra lunch for the journey.

Richie brought a little extra motivation to the race this weekend.
Richie brought a little extra motivation to the race this weekend.

All the focus through the rock garden on Stage 2 for Remi Gauvin and already looking deep into the next corner.
All focused through the rock garden on Stage 2 for Remi Gauvin, already looking deep into the next corner.

Not the start of the day ALN was looking for bust she regrouped and ended the day in 3rd.
Not the start of the day ALN was looking for, but she regrouped and ended the day in 3rd.

Noga Korem is within striking distance of the podium once again in 4th.
Noga Korem is within striking distance of the podium, once again in 4th.

Sam Dale smashing corners on stage three.
Sam Dale smashing corners on stage three.

The Story of the day was flats. The rocks of Ainsa are like teeth add speed and they have a nasty bite.
The story of the day was flats. The rocks of Ainsa are like teeth, add speed and they have a nasty bite.

Unfortunately Robin Wallner crashed and suffered a concussion on Stage 1 and smartly decided to pull out of the race.
Unfortunately, Robin Wallner crashed, suffered a concussion on Stage 1, and smartly decided to pull out of the race.

Richie Rude is riding with fire and motivation this weekend and it showed right out of the gate. He rode the first three stages of the day on another level and is definitely the favorite going into Sunday.
Richie Rude is riding with fire and motivation this weekend and it showed right out of the gate. He rode the first three stages on another level and is definitely the favorite going into Sunday.

Sam Hill was one of the first riders to send this gap in practice at the bottom of Stage 1 and it was non easy feat after riding the 10 plus minute physical stage above.
Sam Hill was one of the first riders to send this gap in practice at the bottom of Stage 1. No easy feat after riding the 10 plus minute physical stage above.

Caro Gehrig navigates the lay and physical bottom of Stage 2.
Caro Gehrig navigates the physical bottom of Stage 2.

Media takes many forms these days and lots of locals were out in force doing their best to get the shot of their favorite riders.
Media takes many forms these days. Lots of locals were out in force doing their best to get the shot of their favorite riders.

Martin Maes sits in second after day one. He may have a hard time catching Rude tomorrow.
Martin Maes sits in second after day one. He may have a hard time catching Rude tomorrow.

Sh t happens. Even to the best.
Sh*t happens. Even to the best.

Martin Maes gives Sam a hand after a stage two front flat.
Martin Maes gives Sam a hand after a stage-two front flat.

Lucas Cole digs deep on stage one. He sits in second for the juniors after day one.
Lucas Cole digs deep on stage one. He sits in second for the juniors.

Mark Scott races his shadow down the fast and rowdy Stage 4.
Mark Scott races his shadow down the fast and rowdy Stage 4.

Dmitri Tordo is back on the form we saw at the beginning of the year and had an excellent start to his weekend in Ainsa.
Dmitri Tordo is back on the form we saw at the beginning of the year and had an excellent start in Ainsa.

Isabeau sits comfortably in a familiar second place after day one.
Isabeau sits comfortably in a familiar second place after day one.

Cecile Ravanel throws a bit of pump track style into stage four.
Cecile Ravanel throws a bit of pump track style into stage four.

Eliot Heap storming down Stage 1 in the U-21 race.
Eliot Heap, storming down Stage 1 in the U-21 race.

Damian Oton ran in second most of the day until Martin Maes knocked him back a spot to 3rd on the final stage of the day.
Damian Oton ran in second most of the day until Martin Maes knocked him back a spot to 3rd on the final stage.

Full attack. Wyn Masters stage one.
Full attack: Wyn Masters, stage one.

Sixth on stage two ninth on stage one. It was all going so well for Ruaridh Cunningham until it went all wrong in the back wheel department.
Sixth on stage two, ninth on stage one. It was all going so well for Ruaridh Cunningham until it went all wrong in the back wheel department.

Jose Borges takes seventh on the day here in Ainsa.
Jose Borges moved into seventh today.

Kevin Miquel is having his best EWS race to date and currently sits just off the podium pace after day 1.
Kevin Miquel is having his best EWS race to date and currently sits just off the podium pace.

Lewis Buchanan was one of the only riders to send it off this steep blind chute
Lewis Buchanan was one of the only riders to send it off this steep, blind chute

Two stages and two liaisons. Ruaridh Cunninghams wheel has seen better days.....
Two stages and two liaisons. Ruaridh Cunningham's wheel has seen better days.....

.....but with a little love and some unconventional tools it may see this race through to the end.
.....but with a little love and some unconventional tools, it may see his race through to the end.

Martin Maes was on a mission the last stage of the day and broke Rude s winning streak but just barely.
Martin Maes was on a mission on the last stage and broke Rude's winning streak, just barely.

Cool calm and collected. Maes might have a trick or two up his sleeve on day two.
Cool calm and collected, Maes may have a trick or two up his sleeve tomorrow.

A job well done for Richie Rude after day one.
A job well done for Richie Rude.

Hard day at the office. Time for a refuel.
Hard day at the office. Time for a refuel.

All the sun and all the Layers of mountains to close out the first day of racing in Ainsa.
All the sun and all the layers of mountains to close out the first day of racing in Ainsa.



55 Comments

  • + 127
 What a great shot of Maes giving Hill a helping hand. It sums up our sport as weekend warriors but it is great to see this at the very top end of professional competition.
  • + 2
 True, although from the previous article I thought it was mid race run which would have been truly amazing
  • + 16
 Hats off to him. True gentleman. It's easy to say one would have done same, but I know I would not have done same. Well I would have helped Sam Hill, because he's a living legend. No way I would help someone I was racing against and had a chance of beating though! No way! Martin Maes, you're an even more top guy now than you were last week, and that was already top. Top top!
  • + 5
 With still two races to go, anything untoward happening to Sam's races could actually tip the overall to Martin's favor. Maes still helping out is a great show of class.
  • + 28
 Maes does not want to win because of a flat tire. He wants to win fair and true, that way he knows he is the best.
  • - 7
flag jaame (Sep 23, 2018 at 0:06) (Below Threshold)
 As many sports managers have said, a win is a win. I'm sure he would prefer to win on merit but shit happens. No champion in history has ever given up a trophy to a competitor who was unlucky with a mechanical, in any sport. Shit happens. You worry about yourself and move on. Look at Lewis Hamilton. Deserved to win the championship in 16 by being the best driver but had too many breakdowns. Rosberg didn't give him the title though did he? To finish first, first you have to finish.
  • + 16
 @jaame: Seems then that sometimes, true sportsmanship requires NOT listening to your manager. whatever his motive, Maes, and all others who help irrespective of what may lie ahead, do their themselves, and sport a great honor. It's the very definition of selflessness, something the world in general is sorely needing.
  • + 2
 @jaame: it does happen in sport, albeit very rarely. In F1 in 1958 Stirling Moss defended Mike hawthorn when hawthorn could have had a large points penalty. Moss lost the world championship by one point that year.
  • - 4
flag jaame (Sep 23, 2018 at 6:03) (Below Threshold)
 @Kapricorn: That's very noble and everything, but when you're talking about your job and paying your bills, results help you get paid. Being the champ can make a difference in tens of thousands in earnings. I doubt Maes would have done it if it hurt his time. Well maybe he would, and if so, he is one in a million in that regard, and hats of to him. My point is that these guys aren't doing it for fun, so to speak. At the end of next season, no one is ever going to remember who got what win where. The results sheet doesn't tell a story. Not trying to be a knob, simony saying that professionals who are doing it to make a living take the wins however they may come in the vast majority of cases, despite what they may say at the time.
  • + 35
 That Belgium fella is a solid example of a human being! Thank you Mr. Maes for making the world a little less hateful and a lot more compassionate! We all need to see that more often.
  • + 9
 Maybe some of us have a problem and see the world as hateful... and should be a bit more compassionate to themselves in the first place. Maybe reality isn’t that bad at all... and this picture presents... normalcy?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you're probably right!
  • + 24
 Pumped for Richie this weekend, you're doing Jared proud buddy.
  • + 16
 . . . and that's why they don't use carbon rims
  • + 8
 Became a Sam Hill fan last year after that Downhill performance in Cairns on an Enduro bike... add to that Martin Maes for doing the similar this year. To hear about this awesome sportsmanship, I am becoming a bigger and bigger fan of the Enduro guys. ????
  • + 18
 you only became a fan of Sam Hill last year???
  • + 9
 You should check this "enduro guys" background... Haha
  • + 5
 You must be new here
  • + 4
 @andreko: This guy is about to lose his mind! Ha!
  • + 3
 No one wants to see a Champion taken out by a flat tire, even his toughest competitor! Sam has demonstrated in the past that he is the kind of guy that would do the same if the situation was reversed. Great to see and a great examples to everyone in this sport. Compete hard on track, be friendly and respectful off it.
  • + 4
 ".but with a little love and some unconventional tools, it may see his race through to the end":
Try that with a carbon rim!.......Wink
  • + 3
 Surely Ruaridh's rim is not from only Ainsa ? ! Top honors for the day to Richie for the win and to Martin for sportsmanship !
  • + 1
 it could be. i dunno if he gets new wheels built for each race, certainly likely he does. some places just trash wheels. Fort william in the uk has seen me annihilate brand new rims in just a few runs. also bear in mind he was on a flyer yesterday and maybe knew he was sitting close to the podium spots and kept battering on the stage, with the punctured tyre, to keep what positions he could. at his pace he could do that to a rim no problem with in a few mins
  • + 3
 It looks like Sam Hill carries as extra set of tools for quick access instead than using the tools in the steering tube?
He needed to use an hex to remove the wheel.
  • + 2
 The disadvantage of having new tires all the time is that these are a lot tougher to pry out of the rims. I've seen tire levers broken into pieces at many a race.
  • + 3
 Try fitting a tight tire on a deemax
  • + 0
 15mm qr on the front
  • + 3
 @Verbl-Kint: who uses plastic levers on wheels they don't buy with their own money?
  • + 1
 @yzedf: the point is that he needed an hex to remove the front wheel and he had one in his back... i guess the steering tube tool does not work for him – besides all the bs i read on the article about "what tool pros carry" a couple of days ago.... they carry what they are paid to carry... even id they dont use it.
  • + 1
 @RedRedRe: who says it doesn't work for him? In a race you revert to muscle memory, or maybe he used the pack so everything came from the same place and went back to the same place, or maybe he's a fumble fingers and drops the bits frequently, or maybe he forgot it was there. Who knows. Don't care, not blaming the tools.
  • + 4
 Can confirm, Cunningham's rim is easy to dent. Have a pile in my basement.
  • + 1
 You must be almost as fast as he is.
  • + 4
 TYLER WEST!!! I knew you were wrenching for the big dogs. Man I miss the days lapping canyons in carhartts.
  • + 2
 If you made a movie with the scene where Martin helps Sam - it would be quite unrealisitic wouldn't it? You'd sit there and think/say - come on - be serious / dream on......
Sometimes life is better than fiction
  • + 2
 Scott: YoU dOn'T nEeD a ReSeVoIr ShOcK
Scott Athletes: *puts resevoir shock on all their bikes*
  • + 1
 That picture of Maes dropping into something; his fingers!
Not on the brakes but trying to brake regardless; commitment!
  • + 2
 martin maes is winning at life
  • + 1
 Figured out how Maes is so fast... no fingers on his brakes!! (steep levers FTW)
  • + 1
 Lezeyne makes a great pair of small yet sturdy aluminum levers that'll do the trick on any rim!
  • + 2
 Martin Maes, stop making us love you even more.
  • + 1
 Maes is always better on day two.....get that win tomorrow....Belgium humble sportmanshippy beast!!
  • + 2
 The Belgium humble bee?
  • + 2
 Anyone know how many km/miles in a typical day of EWS racing?
  • + 4
 Watch the previews, Ric does a good job breaking them down.
  • + 1
 Theres a guy with a hat and pink shorts scratching his balls hahaha
  • + 1
 Fvck: Ritchie Rude, absolute legend.
  • + 1
 Great marketing tactic for Bontrager. Nice job Rude!!!
  • - 10
flag mkul7r4 (Sep 22, 2018 at 17:58) (Below Threshold)
 Bontrager parts are garbage
  • + 1
 Not a good start for Michelin. Was Sam unfamiliar with that tire?
  • + 1
 What’s with the bracelets? Do those some now track their times?
  • + 5
 exactly, they are the timing chip, and the second one is for back up
  • + 1
 Is that a beer holder on Maes's bike?
  • + 1
 Is the privateer in the mix?
  • + 1
 San Miguel, definitely one of the world's best beers!
  • + 1
 Now YOU are getting your prioritys right!

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