Photo Epic presented by ODI
Heading into the second day of racing in Madeira, race leaders Martin Maes and Isabeau Courdurier both held sizeable leads over their nearest rivals. While they had the luxury of possibly playing it safe in some spots, the riders chasing the final podium spots certainly did not. In both the men's and women's fields positions, two through five were separated by a few seconds or less. With five stages on the menu for Sunday, it was set up for some amazing and tight racing.
In the women's race, Isabeau Courdurier pulled further ahead through the day, while the battle raged behind. Ella Conolly would win a stage but suffer a mechanical on another, landing her in 3rd, only a second ahead of Morgane Charre going into the final stage. Noga Korem would push up into a secure second position and like Isabeau, had the luxury of being able to ride a bit defensively towards the end of the day. In the battle for third, it would be youngster Ella Conolly performing with the pressure piled on for the final stage, grabbing 3rd and her first ever podium appearance at the EWS against the Elite women's field. With new faces battling at the front of each round this year, this is the most competitive women's field the EWS has ever seen.
The men behind Martin Maes would swap positions back and forth throughout the day with Eddie Masters falling back and Jesse Melamed getting into the mix after a win on stage six. Martin and Adrien Dailly would pad their leads for first and second, but it would be Jose Borges who was putting on the pressure for the final podium spot. As the saying goes, "it's never over 'til it's over," and today that would ring true for Adrien Dailly who went down on the final stage to slide back to fourth. The mistake allowed Jesse Melamed to grab the final podium spot behind Jose Borges and a still undefeated Martin Maes.
Isabeau and Martin now carry commanding leads with nothing but wins across the board at the first three rounds, as the EWS takes a month off before picking up again in some big mountains with rounds in France and Italy.