EWS 2013 Season Round-up - Part 1

Apr 10, 2014
by Matt Wragg  



























Round One:
Punta Ala, Italy
This may not look like the obvious location for a gravity-based event, but Punta Ala was the perfect venue to launch the Enduro World Series from. It symoblised a shift in enduro, away from the high mountains where the discipline was born, to the modern form which can be run almost anywhere with hills.Racing was set to be over 60km, with 1,800m of descending, but stage two had to be cancelled on the Saturday before the race, bringing the loop down to more like 50km and 1,300m of descending.

Stage five finishes on the fireroad above the sea. Mark Scott drifts through the deep dust towards the beach.
  The trail area for the race reached up into the mountains in the Bandite Trail Area and down to the beach at Cala Violina.

At the Specialized SRAM enduro race at Lake Garda a couple of weeks ago Joe Barnes won the second stage and scored a couple of seconds against guys like Barel Clementz and Lau. He looks at home here in the rock channels of Punta Ala and the easy-going Scot may just surprise a few people this weekend.
  For this race there was a week of practice for riders on the trails. This created a lot of discussion among the riders and race organisers, and when the race returned to Italy in October, this was cut to two days' practice before the race.

Theo Galy held his own today with a respectable 18th
  As the weather switched between rain and shine, the nearby town of Castiglione della Pescaia played host to the prologue - a one minute street DH through the medieval streets.

Matteo Nati was the last man working in the pits last night and the first I saw there this morning fettling and perfecting Dan Atherton and Martin Maes bikes.
  Nerves were high pre-race, as although anybody familiar with the event's hosts, Superenduro, knows, they have a wealth of experience running these kind of races. But still... With the world watching, there was definitely pressure to get it right. That was felt all the way through the event, from the organisers, to the mechanics, like Atherton Racing's Matteo Nati, pulling late night stints to get the bikes just perfect for race day.

The moment it all began. The first two riders Davide Sottocornola and Cedric Gracia set off on the inaugural Enduro World Series race.
  The moment it all became real. Davide Sottocornola and Cedric Gracia were the first riders ever to set off on an EWS race day.

How s that for a sight Nico Vouilloz and Steve Peat heading out to race together. As the two of them spent most of their careers going head-to-head we d pay good money to know how that conversation went.
  Who wouldn't want to have heard this conversation? Career-long rivals, Nico Vouilloz and Steve Peat head off to the stages together. In total there were nine world champions racing in Punta Ala.

The rider you can see just out of focus in the background is Greg Minnaar. Fabien Barel overtook him on track on both the first and second stages. Greg apparently tried to hold Barel s wheel but said he was just too strong.
  Fabien Barel simply demolished the rest of the field on stage one, going fast enough to overtake Greg Minnaar on track... It was a blow which the rest of the field didn't recover from, setting the stage for a victory for the DH legend.

For our money great athletes are marked not by how they win but how they lose. Jerome Clementz congratulates Barel on the finish line of stage four conceding that Fabien was just too fast for him today. It s a touch of class and we reckon a good footing for this series to start from.
  Jerome pushed Barel hard all day, but after the final stage he knew he had been beaten, conceding to Fab as the riders caught their breath at the end of the final stage. After Anne-Caroline Chausson went down hard on stage one, Tracy Moseley dominated the women's race.

A historic podium and a great victory for a legend of the sport. What more can you ask for Between the three of them they have won at the highest levels of enduro downhill and 4X all competing today on the same course. Why are we excited about enduro This is why...
  The round one podium: Barel, Clementz and Graves.




























Round Two:
Val D'Allos, France
For round two of the series, racers headed to the birthplace of enduro: Val D'Allos. Racing moved from the beach to the high mountains, with the head of the course sitting at nearly 2,000m above sea-level.

Those 7.30 lifts we mentioned unfortunately everyone needed to be up there too...
  While Punta Ala was a 50km loop to pedal around, Val D'Allos was all skilifts transfers, but a total of 10,000m of descending to tackle - including a half hour stage on the Sunday, which would be ridden twice. Before the race there was no practice, but riders' first run down each stage was untimed, to be followed by either one or two timed runs down that track.

Stage two was around nine minutes long. Second and third-placed Nico Vouilloz pictured here and Jerome Clementz were split by two hundreths of a second. Just work back through that for a moment to have two riders pushing on the limit for that long and to come down in such similar times is unreal.
  On day one of racing, Jerome Clementz and Nico Vouilloz were trading blows, but a puncture on the final stage of the day gave Nico the overnight lead.

While the overall podium today tells you the story of the race the story of the day was rather different. Jerome Clementz smoked everyone by a reasonable margin only his puncture yesterday denied him the victory. Overall he finished a minute behind the winner and SRAM s Jon Chancellier reckons that he lost a minute and twenty seconds to that puncture...
  On Sunday Clementz came out swinging. Overall he finished a minute behind the winner and SRAM's Jon Chancellier reckons that he lost a minute and twenty seconds to that puncture...

As the holder of that number one plate Fabian was the first man to take to the track and get things underway.
  Stage three spelled the end of Fabien Barels weekend, putting him out of reach of the top spots.

Dan Atherton getting loose on the second stage. He was running well but stage three also claimed him a front flat ejected him over the bars and he limped down the piste which is effectively his weekend over.
  Another victim of stage three, Dan Atherton found himself a worryingly long way from the sharp end of things come Sunday morning.

Tracy Moseley is used to these kind of high speeds from World Cup downhill and started today as she left off yesterday.
  The story of the women's race was a simple one: Tracy Moseley was just dominant. Two wins from two races put her in a commanding lead in the series.

Cecile Ravanelle probably isn t a name that is too well-known outside France yet today she stormed to second in the women s race. That said none of the French riders seem surprised by that...
  Outside France, Cecile Ravannel wasn't a name many people had heard of, but being consistent all weekend put second overall, not too far back from Moseley.

On the stage he did just enough coming home in a for him relaxed seventh keeping it all in a pile to take a well-deserved victory.
  There were no dramas for Vouilloz on Sunday as he did just enough to seal the victory.

Jared Graves savoring that cold one before claiming second place for the race here in Val d Allos. With that placing Graves moves into first overall for the freshly minted Enduro World Series.
  Graves claimed second in Val D'Allos which, along with his third in Punta Ala, gave him the series lead, with Jerome Close behind and Barel and Vouilloz snapping at their heels.




























Round Three:
Les Deux Alpes, France
For round three more big mountains and chairlifts were in order, as the series joined the Crankworx Europe festival at Les Deux Alpes.

  This race was somewhere between the format of the first two races - with four timed stages to race over, but all accessed by lifts. Stages one and three were pretty mellow, while two and four were described by many of the riders as full-on DH tracks.

Line choices.... Blinky and Niko choose their nemesis. Camera left line is harder to get into and has a better run out while the other is the opposite.
  With only one day to learn the four stages, practice day was flatout. Here Lapierre teammates Nico Vouilloz and Sam Blenkinsop try two lines through one of the gnarlier sections of the course to see which one is better for racing. Unlike DH, these kind of enduro races are longer, so even if one line did turn out to be faster, if you have to risk too much to clear it, the slower, safer line might be the better bet for racing.

Val D Allos winner Vouilloz almost did it again this afternoon but a 9th in one stage is enough to upset your chances. He looked formidable everywhere but came out on top for stage 2 arguably the most technically challenging quarter. During the stages many times you have to push at the maximum... sometimes you have to sprint hard. The only thing that is not similar with downhill is if it is a long stage you cannot be flat out. To put everything into one run you will be feeling short the rest of the day on the other stages.
  Vouilloz was close, so close to making it two in a row, but a ninth on stage one dashed his chances of upsetting Jerome and he had to settle for second on the day.

Anne Caro rides with a truly unprecedented aggression in the women s class. She cleaned up on the final stage and stomped her foot into 4th overall on the day.
  Coming back from her injury sustained at Punta Ala, Anne-Caroline Chausson was not where she would have hoped to be - but did take the win on stage four, one of the most technical ones, which most have offered some reassurance that the speed was still there.

The way Dan Atherton attacks the stages you would assume the beautiful meadows of Deux Alpes make him very angry for some reason. A huge believer in the power of GoPro Dan reviews and relives his runs from the day until they ve thoroughly sunk in.
  One of the last times we were to season Dan Atherton on a race track in 2013. After disappointing (for him, ie. not winning) showings in the first three races, Dan then popped his shoulder out and was written off for the rest of the season with rehab.

Jerome Clementz slashes his way into the last stage to take his win here at the third World Enduro Series.
  Three rounds, two wins put Jerome firmly in the driver's seat as the series left Europe and crossed the Atlantic.

Tracy Moseley
  In the women's race, Tracy made it a perfect three for three to take a commanding lead in the series.

Not everything Jared Graves was hoping for today.
  Not what he hoped for... Graves was clearly not impressed with himself for finishing off the podium, but was still in touch for the series title hunt.




























Round Four:
Winter Park, USA
This was the point people were nervous about, as the series touched down in the Colorado Rockies. Enduro is a new discipline to North America, in Europe the formats are well-established, well-rehearsed, so everybody in the sport knew what to expect. In the US much of the enduro scene has been hijacked by the cross-country, open-face helmet crowd who seem to have misunderstood the part of the discipline that involves racing on real, technical terrain. But that's why the US round was awarded to Winter Park - because Ross Schnell and his team get it - Ross was one of the small group of US riders who went to France to race the Enduro Series before most Americans had even heard the "e" word.

Now we know why it is called Winter Park. A huge thunderstorm ran over the race tracks.
  The weather hadn't got the memo that people were supposed to go racing and wreaked havoc all weekend, shutting the lifts with heavy thunderstorms each afternoon.

German rider Tobias Woggon is one of the few racers who are riding the whole series on a 29 bike.
  For this race there was one day of practice again, but two days of racing for riders to contend with. Here Tobi Woggon makes the most of his training time.

After a 30 minute break the lift ran again and the rest of the field was ready to set the course on fire. Tracy Moseley won stage 3a.
  Four for four. By this point of the season the question was becoming whether anybody could even get close to Tracy Moseley in the women's field?

It s a neck and neck race. Anne Caroline Chausson won stage 3b.
  More recovered from her crash in round one, Anne-Caroline Chausson was on better form, taking a couple of stage wins from Tracy, but not quite enough to upset the final podium order.

Now the race got more and more confused. The lift stroke again but not all the riders were already at the starting line. The organizers decided to let them go as they come. That s why Cecile Ravanel was the first woman on the course.
  A mechanical put Cecile Ravanelle off the podium for the first time in 2013, but she held onto her second overall spot in the series rankings.

The number 2 plays a very big role in Nicolas Vouilloz life. He is currently on second overall position. Today he started from the second position and ended up on this number after two stages of racing.
  In his DH days, we're not sure Vouilloz knew what number two meant, but in enduro he is having to live with it more as he grabbed he second second position in a row and solidified his grasp on second in the series.

Jared Graves had some technical issues and has to be content with one of the last places.
  A mechanical put Graves outside the top 40 as things seemed to be slipping away from him...

Fabien Barel turned 33 today and made himself a present with his 3rd place.
  Third overall for Barel to keep him in contention for the series overall.

After the rocky section on stage 2 Jerome Clementz had to pedal hard for his leading position of day one.
  After day one there was a familiar feel to proceedings as Jerome Clementz sat atop the timing sheets, with three races to go his lead was starting to look very healthy...

www.enduroworldseries.com


8 Comments

  • 11 0
 So many 2wheeled goodness on dirt events to watch this weekend. EWS, PMB dh, SX... Go Graves!
  • 2 0
 It looks like Barel won't be going back to those high rise bars that he used to run.
  • 2 0
 That pic of Peaty and Nico is just awsome.
  • 2 1
 Nice
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