After all of the rain this season, racers have light-heartedly nicknamed the EWS the Enduro Wet Series, and the event in Millau did not disappoint in living up to that standard. However, no one is really laughing anymore as racers and support staff alike have definitely had it with the constant muddy conditions. As frustrations mount it has become a mental game as riders try to keep morale up, despite having to battle it out in miserable condition once again.
For many, it was one of those rare "hardest days ever" that only show up every couple of years. The kind of day that tries to beat you down, succeeds, then beats you down a bit more. To say more than a few riders were shattered by the end of the day would be a serious understatement. And to add insult to injury, the temperature dropped, the wind picked up, and the torrential rain came pouring down as many had reached their breaking point on the final climb to the start of Stage 5.
After those five tough stages, it would be Cecile Ravanel and Alexandre Cure who reigned supreme in muddy Millau, racing very tough conditions on the steep and technical French terrain. The home field advantage was fully apparent as well, and one look at the result sheet shows eight of the top ten men all hailing from France. Standing trackside, it was plainly obvious, the riders who were familiar with the terrain here versus those who were only able to make the one allowed practice run the previous days. A slightly un-level playing field on some very un-level terrain.
Tomorrow, however, is a new day, but with more steep and loose trails and even more rain in the forecast, it is surely going to be a battle of attrition once again.