Enduro World Series Round 5, Millau: Day 1 Photo Epic

Jun 30, 2017
by Dave Trumpore  




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.


took and ice rink and covered it in peanut butter you would still have more traction than what s offer here in Millau.
Take an ice rink and cover it in peanut butter, and you would still have more traction than what's offered here in Millau.

Mud thick like oil.
Mud, thick like oil.

Less ominous than a vulture. It didn t help.
A bit less ominous than the vulture's that continuously circle overhead here in Millau.

Readying for the day. Pre-race fuel is key for these big races.
Readying for the day. Pre-race fuel is key for these big races.

Sadly a massive crash on stage 1 left Jared Graves with a completely numb arm and a trip to the local clinic.
Sadly a massive crash on Stage 1 left Jared Graves with a completely numb arm and a trip to the local clinic.

Theo Galy won the final stage of the day and sits 3rd just 7 seconds behind two of his countrymen.
Theo Galy won the final stage of the day and sits 3rd, just seven seconds behind two of his countrymen.

Seb Claquin started the day with a 3rd and 2nd on the first two stages but a 50th on the treacherous stage 3 would push him down to 19th to close out the day.
Seb Claquin started the day with a 3rd and a 2nd on the first two stages, but a 50th on the treacherous Stage 3 would push him down to 19th to close out the day.

Caro Gehrig pushing her way to fifth.
Caro Gehrig, pushing her way to 5th.

Sam Hill foot out in the wet on his way to ninth.
Sam Hill, foot out in the wet on his way to 9th.

Adrien Dailly won the first stage of the day despite a puncture halfway down.
Adrien Dailly won the first stage of the day despite a puncture halfway down.

Anita Gehrig sits second but it s a long long way to the top of the leader board.
Anita Gehrig sits second after a successful day doing the raindrops, but it's a long long way to the top of the leader board.

Theo Gally charging toward the finish of stage two.
Theo Gally, charging toward the finish of Stage 2.

It s the little things. Like cookies after a brutal day out racing.
It's the little things, like cookies after a brutal day out racing.

A little warmth goes a long way. Iago all smiles after a long day.
A little warmth goes a long way. Iago, all smiles after a long day.

Cecile Ravanel rolls into the second day of racing with a very safe and sizable lead.
Cecile Ravanel rolls into the second day of racing with a very safe and sizable lead.

Dimitri Tordo pulling a fourth on the day for BH Bikes.
Dimitri Tordo came out of nowhere to land himself in 4th. With eight of the top ten riders hailing from France, one can only wonder if there's some home field advantage going on here in Millau.

Some riders cut high to the right of the tree others stalled out to the left. Richie Rude just plows straight through.
Some riders cut high to the right of the tree, others stalled out to the left. Richie Rude just plows straight through.

If you think his jersey looks ruined you should see the condition of the tree Richie Rude smashed into.
If you think his jersey looks ruined, you should see the condition of the tree Richie Rude smashed into.

Greg Callaghan joins Richie Rude in the bushwhacking competition don stage 3.
Greg Callaghan joins Richie Rude in the bushwhacking competition down Stage 3.

Isabeau on her way to third place on home soil on day one. She came out swinging with a stage one win.
Isabeau on her way to 3rd place on home soil. She came out swinging with a stage 1 win.

Alex Cure was the man of the day. He s currently sitting in the lead by just over five seconds.
Alex Cure was the man of the day. He's currently sitting in the lead by just over five seconds.

Adrien Dailly took second today. He was bested by Alex Cure by a margin of 5 seconds.
Adrien Dailly took 2nd today. He was bested by Alex Cure by a margin of five seconds.

Toni Ferreiro enjoys the only moment of sunshine that was seen all day.
Toni Ferreiro enjoys the only moment of sunshine that was seen all day.

Damian Oton throws some shaped to avoid the tight trees on stage 1.
Damian Oton throws some shapes to avoid the tight trees on Stage 1.

Isabeau Courdurier came out swinging with a win on stage 1 but a puncture and mechanical trouble pushed her back to 3rd by day s end.
Isabeau Courdurier came out swinging with a win on Stage 1, but a puncture and mechanical trouble pushed her back to 3rd by day's end.

Richie Rude dealing with a flat after stage 3.
Richie Rude deals with a flat after stage 3.

Not Noga s day out there today. A flat cost her positions.
Not Noga's day out there today. A flat cost her positions.

Disaster struck for Noga Korem on stage 2.
Disaster struck for Noga Korem on Stage 2.

7th today for Andreane Lanthier Nadeau.
Seventh today for Andreane Lanthier Nadeau.

Rain started to other on the helmet of a legend before the day s mid-point.
Rain started to other on the helmet of a legend before the day's mid-point.

Thomas Lapeyrie gives it full gas at the bottom of stage 2 and currently rounds out the top 10.
Thomas Lapeyrie gives it full gas at the bottom of Stage 2 and currently rounds out the top ten.

14th today for Jerome Cementz.
14th today for Jerome Cementz.

Sam hill can smell and inside line a mike away and had no trouble with this tree that caught out everyone but the local French riders.
Sam Hill can smell and inside line a mile away and had no trouble with the tree that caught out everyone, but the local French riders.

Just after the daily afternoon monsoon rolled through Cecile Ravanel heads down the final stage of the day well ahead of the rest of the field.
Just after the daily afternoon monsoon rolled through, Cecile Ravanel heads down the final stage of the day, well ahead of the rest of the field.

Katy Winton sits 4th but is very much still in contention for a podium position if she has a good day tomorrow.
Katy Winton sits 4th but is very much still in contention for a podium position - if she has a good day tomorrow.

Because Loose Dog.
Because Loose Dog.

Lewis Buchanan sitting in 25th after riding day one blind. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Lewis Buchanan sitting in 25th after riding day one blind. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Cure s BH Bikes back end. The only thing remotely clean looking is the rotors.
Cure's BH Bike's back end. The only thing remotely clean looking is the rotor.

Taking now prisoners Cecile puts the power down. She finished the day in first.
Taking no prisoners, Cecile puts the power down. She finished the day in 1st.

Sick or not Jesse Melamed was on the charge today.
Sick or not, Jesse Melamed was on the charge today.

Remi Gauvin not trying in the least to hide how shattered he was at the end of the day.
Remi Gauvin, not trying to hide how shattered he was at the end of the day.

Sam Hill still smashing it in the wet.
Sam Hill, still smashing it in the wet.

Even Adrien Dailly was showing some emotion today after fighting back from a puncture to take 2nd in the overall just a few seconds back.
Even Adrien Dailly was showing some emotion today after fighting back from a puncture to take 2nd in the overall, just a few seconds back.

Vison was secondary on stage 5 today with the only priority being survival. Greg Callaghan hits just outside the French dominated top ten in 11th.
Vison was secondary on Stage 5 today, with the only priority being survival. Greg Callaghan hits just outside the French dominated top ten in 11th.

While most were wincing at the finish those who managed to find themselves at the top of the leader board were all smiles. Theo Galy is poised for his best finish ever if he can keep it together on day 2.
While most were wincing at the finish, those who managed to find themselves at the top of the leader board were all smiles. Theo Galy is poised for his best finish ever, if he can keep it together on day two.

It ll be a busy night for the mechanics.
It'll be a busy night for the mechanics.



54 Comments

  • + 60
 Great shots and a fantastic turn around on the coverage. Thank you and well done PB!
  • + 13
 The lads are crushing it, rain, hail or shine.
  • + 44
 Massive props to the photographers,enduring those conditions and risking expensive gear to get us this awesome coverage. We all owe you a beer or two.
  • + 0
 Modern professional grade (not only) photographer's gear is dust and water proof. There are some amusing videos out there about how tough it actually is.

Nevertheless the photographers themselves suffer and most probably even ride the same conditions as the racers - huge respect for that!
  • + 11
 @pr3dator: but in actuality it really isn't. Once you start pressing button and turning dials things change. Not to mention the breakdown of weather sealing happens pretty rapidly in extreme environments.

I've already fried one camera body this year.
  • + 4
 @pr3dator: pro photographers stuff is extremely expensive and need to buy frequently, even more in sports world. They risk a fortune on rainy days. I say we owe them something more than beer!! All hail the guys that work so hard for so little recognition. I know who you are!!!
  • + 16
 Am I the only one who desperately wish to see some moving pictures - you know like a video from those EWS events, like we used to few years back? Maybe some raw shots from some tough corner or technical section, just to see how riders are taking different lines or something like that? Anyone?
I know its hard for the photographers in this weather but come on! I dont need super slow mo 4K shoots with epic music! Just compare EWS coverage to WC DH coverage this weekend - we have bike checks, prototpe shoots, WinTV, helmetcam track preview, training and qualifing results and photos, practice and quali action video, tech talk, raw action from day 1, 2, ..., bikes in slowmo, pitbits, Claudio preview! Dont get me wrong - I love it!! But what we get for EWS? Event preview, couple of helmet cam shots from T.Mo (nice!), a practice slideshow and then few pics form first race day.. I dont know... I would like to see some action from practice or racedays, just to get a better feeling of the conditions they are dealing with.
I know, you re gonna say just wait for the highlights video - yeah those are becoming kind of boring - looong intro, crapy music with lots of slowmo shots, some obvious interviews with the best ones, boring stats after every stage, more annoying music and slowmo...
Anyone?
  • + 7
 Its called VitalMTB, bud.
  • + 1
 Just checked Vital and they have a grainy slide show with voice over. Don't think that's what this guy wants. From what I can tell the photographer business model doesn't work for camping at one corner and getting video of the top pros.
  • + 3
 Would you sacrifice how technical and difficult the track is just so you could see videos and coverage?
This is why WC DH tracks are not as technical as before and a lot of the riders are complaining that it's too easy. It is to make the coverage easier.

I hope they don't ruin EWS with watered down tracks because you want to see videos.
  • + 2
 I do agree but its got to be so much harder to cover an EWS to the same degree as a World Cup. So much more resource must be needed to provide all the features you list above and I guess the money just isn't there. The media outlets have got to make a decision as to where to direct their focus. I do REALLY enjoy the EWS coverage but I think I find the DH racing more exciting in general and would rather see the greater range of reporting there. Personally.
  • + 1
 No, ofcourse, dont get me wrong! I understand completly that its pretty much impossible to live cover the whole event. All I am saying is that Im missing fun videos like this:
www.vitalmtb.com/videos/features/Corner-Carnage-Enduro-World-Series-Rotorua,28517/sspomer,2
or:
www.bikemag.com/videos/ews-ireland-corner-carnage

Its fun to watch and you can really see how skilled the riders are, and get a feel how difficult certain section is to ride.
Also I love fun videos where you can see the real personality of riders - like WynTV, IMO it doesnt need to be always so tied up and official...
  • + 2
 @nekislav: those videos were shot and submitted by spectators and amateur racers at the event.

Feel free to volunteer.

On the home page you will find and event preview photo story, and helmet cam track preview, a prototype bike feature, a video of tech and pits with T-Mo, and practice photo epic, and a day one race photo epic.

Coming up will the the final race day photo epic , the one minute highlight video, and then the 15 minute full recap video that always comes out within a day if the event.

I'd like to think given the resources at hand and the massive distance that needs to be covered when shooting an EWS round that we are doing a pretty damn good job.

Cheers
  • + 17
 If it's giving those with experience of the place that much advantage they need to ditch the one run practice format
  • + 1
 I'm not sure I see how that would help - the locals already know the place? At least a practice run gives the non-locals a look at the track - without that look they would be even more disadvantaged. Is there something I am missing?
  • + 14
 @AlanMcCrindle: I believe he is suggesting more than 1 practice run.
  • + 5
 @AlanMcCrindle: All the French aren't that "local",only Theo Galy live near Millau. All the others come from anywhere in France. However, the last 3 years this race was a French enduro serie so they have ridden it more.
  • + 0
 @Whipperman: I am not sure most of them raced it before. They skip more and more the french series since 2-3 years. Galy and Oton are the closest neighbors, at least 200km away though, but with a very similar type of terrain.
Maybe the french are simply more used to this kind of format with very limited training (if any). Have you thought of that dear author ?
  • + 9
 @EnduroManiac: oddly they all turned up to beacevit last year just prior to the EWS schedule being "officially" announced.

Standing trackside it the tricky sections, it's obvious there are more than a few guys who know where they are going compared to the usual front runners.
  • + 1
 @davetrumpore: Odly the full Kiwi podium in Rotorua did not lead to this kind of comments, rather focusing exclusively on the influence of the rain (which was obvious). Now of those who weren't affected by the rain, we strangely found a full kiwi podium.
Now looking at the top 10, I see one (Tordo) maybe 2 (Cure) names that are not usual top ten contenders. Considering who the team manager is, I'm not surprised if they've spend some time there this winter.
  • + 0
 @EnduroManiac: in Rotorua the guys in the podium raced their first stages before the rain. That was their advantage and just how racing goes... Not a similar situation this round.
  • + 0
 @davetrumpore: They were locals too...
French guys used to WC podiums living at 500km from Millau : locals who did recon
3 guys riding all year long at Rotorua : not locals, that was the rain
  • + 0
 @davetrumpore: Did you actually read my comment before answering? "Those not affected by the rain"
  • + 1
 @Whipperman: and they were only faster because of the gift they got by racing the first stages in NZ before the rain came down. Local or not, in NZ the rain was he biggest/only factor.

And in NZ everyone got a chance to practice.

In France they only got one run on track crowded with amateurs and people pushing back up sections/in the way.

Standing trackside during the race in tricky sections it was night and day between this who trained on the hill prior to the event and this who only got one run.

You are trying to compare two different events and two very different circumstances.
  • + 0
 @davetrumpore: I don't see the difference: local advantage is local advantage. But french local advantage is bad and nz local advantage is cool?
  • + 0
 @EnduroManiac: again, you are failing to understand that it was rain, nit local advantage that played a hand in NZ.

The biggest issue in France was that there was only one practice run given at a venue that has seen multiple rounds as part of the French series.

It's not about one being cool, or taking sides. You will always have some sort of local advantage, but that can and is usually negated with adequate practice. That's why there is rarely an issue.

Had it not rained on the top 20 in NZ things would likely be quite different, local or not (on a side note Wyn Masters does not ride in Rotorua on purpose and is quite vocal about pointing that out when he won). And since the EWS had raced Rotorua in 2015 and used many of the same stages and trials everyone was familiar with it was again a non issue. In France this is not the case.

If that makes no sense to you, or you fail to understand it then you have completely missed the point.
  • + 0
 @davetrumpore: it's really surprising that you don't understand my point about Rotorua. For you, the rain negates local advantage. I am in no way saying the rain had no impact. It obviously had the biggest of impacts. That is why I said "those not affected by the rain". I think that's pretty clear that I am talking about a subgroup. I'm not saying Wyn won against Rude but rather Wyn won against those who had similar conditions. And in this group with similar conditions (those who've been a bit more lucky with the weather) then local advantage oviously played a huge role with 3 Kiwis on the podium.
I hope you understood me this time. And if not, I try something else. What if we substitute "local advantage" by "cheating". DISCLAIMER : I AM IN NO WAY SUGGESTING OR SUPPOSING ANYBODY HAS BEEN CHEATING (clear?)
Case 1: the French cheated in Millau
Case 2: It rained in Rotorua. And the Kiwis cheated. But it doesn't matter because it rained first.

Do you finally see what I mean? Same same. Local advantage = local advantage.
  • + 3
 @EnduroManiac: I think you are overcomplicating some very very simple facts here, and bending them quite a bit to suit an agenda.
  • + 0
 @davetrumpore: I'm just trying to make a comparison as fair as possible. You seemed to be concerned by fairness in racing and so rightfully.
If I'm totally in favor of a single run of training, it should be better done, and riders should have a window when to start on which track. It was the very same mess in Madeira, particularly on day 1. With the difference it was possible to have a second run if people had the fitness for that. Not me.
Also if a venue is meant to host an EWS it should not be in the local series the year before.
  • + 1
 @EnduroManiac: You seem to be trying to argue for little reason.

The point is that the practice format meant anyone who hadn't been to the area where others had as part of other races was at a distinct disadvantage and racing was impacted as a result.
One run on a crowded tricky descent doesn't help where as the one/two day practice followed by a race allows riders more of an appropriate time to learn and negates some of the advantage by previous visitors to the venue.
This goes for any venue but in France with their format it was distinctly worse. NZ could have had some local advantage but the rain never allowed us to make that conclusion as the top half of the field ran in totally different conditions (beyond the advantage of local knowledge).
There was a big song and dance a couple of years ago about pre practice with some turning up way before the start so they began to keep tracks secret, but there's only so much they can do. Spirit of Enduro eh

It goes right through to grass roots racing and it sucks.
  • + 10
 "Sam Hill can smell and inside line a mile away and had no trouble with this tree that caught out everyone but the local French riders."

So true, he was literally the only guy to spot an inside line at a corner I was marshalling earlier in the year. No idea how he spotted it when he went by at full whack.
  • + 10
 that´s really brutal, respect
  • + 8
 Those guys look ruined. What a brutal race.
  • + 1
 Agree, well said
  • + 5
 please show us Josh Carson´s new reign!
  • + 3
 The place was about 40°C two weeks ago...

Epic photos, the helmet shots make it look like they encountered some nasty aliens or whatever :p
  • + 3
 Looks like what a proper EWS event should be: a vicious test of mettle.
  • + 3
 There all F*ckin Warriors!
  • + 3
 Poor international riders, they don't know the French lines lol
  • + 2
 To the mechanics, I salute you.....
  • + 1
 Super impressed with Jeremy Melamed!
  • + 1
 so close
  • + 3
 @n-lagasse: you mean jessy marmalade?
  • + 1
 @funkzander: ARGHH Auto-correct on my iphone. Sigh.
  • + 1
 Been a bog of slippery soil mush neatly every round....looks tough.
  • + 1
 Looks like normal riding conditions for 9 months of the year to me
  • + 1
 whats on the riders wrist?
medicine? tracker?
  • + 1
 Timing chips. I guess one is for redundancy.
  • + 1
 Good job ALN !!!!! Québec, Canada
  • + 1
 Awesome stuff! Thanks!!!
  • + 1
 Brutality
  • + 1
 EPIC!
  • - 3
 How come no mention of who is riding 29ers? Neeeeeed to know!
  • - 1
 so true!
Thougth I ve seen at least one pair at the pics ontop. Hard to say - :-/

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