EWS Practice Gallery: Rugged & Rocky in Olargues, France

May 11, 2018
by Dave Trumpore  




Three rounds in and the Enduro World Series has found itself at another new venue in the small village of Olargues, France. Just as the first two rounds could not have been more opposite to each other, the conditions this week are like nothing the riders have faced yet this season. Once again stressing how strong racers have to be to be good in any conditions and any terrain if they hope to contend for the overall championship.

Both Sam Hill and Cecile Ravanel have shown no weakness thus far in 2018 on the moon dust of Chile and the slippery slop in Colombia, but will they have what it takes to dominate the never-ending rock gardens, loamy dirt, and unpredictable weather of Montagne du Caroux? Hot on their heels will be a host of local riders like Theo Galy and Damien Oton in the men's field and Cecile's French compatriot, Isabeau Courdurier in the women's. So far the conditions have been fairly similar to what has been seen in previous venues such as Ainsa, Spain, and Finale Ligure, Italy, but with some classic French flavor thrown in for good measure. Lots of tricky switchbacks and tight trees break up some flat-out sections on every stage. There's hero dirt when you actually find a section of trail free of rock, but on many stages it feels more like holding on to a jackhammer.

Right now things have been dry and the sun has been shining through both of the training days, and while all the riders are loving the tracks now, the weather may throw a spanner in the works for the weekend. With possible thunderstorms in the forecast for late Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday, there's a good chance all that rocks will get a bit wet and wild before this round is over.

Stay tuned over the next two days as we bring you all the action from the Montagne du Caroux and the third stop of the 2018 Enduro World Series.

Welcome to Olargues and the Montagne du Caroux Enduro.
Welcome to Olargues and the Montagne du Caroux Enduro.

Matt Walker lays it back on one wheel through the centuries old streets of Stage 4.
Matt Walker lays it back on one wheel through the centuries-old streets of Stage 4.

Pedro Burns gets his front wheel up while trying to adjust to the French landscape.
Pedro Burns gets his front wheel up while trying to adjust to the French landscape.

It s been dry and sunny for both days f training but don t hold your breath for it to last through the weekend.
It's been dry and sunny for both days of training, but don't hold your breath for it to last through the weekend.

Local boy Theo Galy leads his teammate down Stage 5.
Local boy Theo Galy leads his teammate down Stage 5.

Noga Korem smashing rocks on the bottom of Stage 6.
Noga Korem smashing rocks on the bottom of Stage 6.

Robin Walner moving like a cruise missile on stage three.
Robin Wallner moving like a cruise missile on stage 3. Currently sitting second in the overall, you know he has his sights set on the podium here in France.

Iago Garay once again giving the Squids a show.
Iago Garay once again giving the Squids a show.

Rope-a-Dope gets full moto on stage two.
Rope-a-Dope gets full moto on Stage 2.

Greg Callaghan could be a real threat if the rains come and they are scheduled to come.
Greg Callaghan could be a real threat if the rains come, and they are scheduled to come.

Joe Barnes rising the flow on some bone dry rocks. Perhaps a little rain and mud in France would make him feel right back at his Scottish home.
Joe Barnes trying to find flow on some bone dry rocks. Perhaps a little rain and mud in France would make him feel right back at his Scottish home.

Just when you get up to speed on Stage 6 and let things roll it seems like the trees just all of a sudden tighten up in the most awkward of ways.
Just when you get up to speed on Stage 6 and let things roll, it seems like the trees just all of a sudden tighten up in the most awkward of ways.

Don t call it a comeback. Jerome Clementz is only riding here as a team support riders during practice and will be cheering from the sidelines during race day.
Don't call it a comeback. Jerome Clementz is only riding here as a team support during practice and will be cheering from the sidelines on race day.

Stage two is a fresh cut loamy work of art. The crowd favorite by far.
Stage 2 is a fresh cut loamy work of art. The crowd favorite by far.

Thomas Lapeyrie has had a mixed bag of a season can he pull together a result her on home soil.
Thomas Lapeyrie has had a mixed bag of a season, can he pull together a result her on home soil?

It is good to see Thomas Lapeyrie back in the pits this weekend after health problems kept him from racing the opening rounds in Chile and Colombia.
It is good to see Thomas Lapeyrie back in the pits this weekend after health problems kept him from racing the opening rounds in Chile and Colombia.

Isabeau Courdurier navigates the tight street of Olargues on Stage 4.
Isabeau Courdurier navigates the tight street of Olargues on Stage 4.

not for blog
Zakarias Johansen boosts in through the trees on Stage 8.

It s always good to catch up after a long break.
It's always good to catch up after a long break.

Jesse Melamed seems to be getting on well with both the high speed sections and the quirky French switchbacks.
Jesse Melamed seems to be getting on well with both the high-speed sections and the quirky French switchbacks.

Katie Winton riders the rock highway on Stage 1.
Katie Winton rides the rock highway on Stage 1.

When French Switchbacks punch back.
When French switchbacks punch back.

Youn Deniaud has finished consistently near the sharp end of things the past few rounds and is by far the fastest privateer of the 2018 season.
Youn Deniaud has finished consistently near the sharp end of things the past few rounds and is by far the fastest privateer of the 2018 season.

Theo Galy is as local as it gets in this region of France and his family is actually responsible to bringing the EWS to Olargues. Needless to say he will definitely be a podium threat this weekend.
Theo Galy is as local as it gets in this region of France, and his family is actually responsible for bringing the EWS to Olargues. Needless to say, he will definitely be a podium threat this weekend.

Riche Rude the man with the big question mark over his head. Is this going to be the round he turns it around
Riche Rude, the man with the big question mark over his head. Is this going to be the round he turns it around?

Remy puts some style into it on stge eight.
Remi puts some style into it on Stage 8.

Ruaridh Cunningham could do well here in Olargues if the going gets wet.
Ruaridh Cunningham could do well here in Olargues if the going gets wet.

Martin Maes is back after a shoulder injury in Colombia. Is he back to 100 percent We will have a better idea after tomorrow.
Martin Maes is back after a shoulder injury in Colombia. Is he back to 100 percent? We will have a better idea after tomorrow.

Josh Carlson leans it on stage six.
Josh Carlson leans it in on Stage 6.

Rae Morrison getting close and comfortable in the tight trees on Stage 6.
Rae Morrison getting close and comfortable in the tight trees on Stage 6.

The man to beat Sam Hill looking to make it a hat trick here in France.
The man to beat, Sam Hill, looking to make it a hat trick here in France.

Cecile is the favorite and we should expect her to finish on the top step on home soil.
Cecile is the favorite and we expect her to finish on the top step on home soil.

Mark Scott is always good for a top ten. Can he pull one off here
Mark Scott is always good for a top ten. Can he pull one off here?

Mark Scott is loving the rough and rocky terrain in France.
Loving the rough and rocky terrain in France.

The Muscles From Brussels gets ready to face the day in the GT pits.
The Muscles From Brussels gets ready to face the day in the GT pits.

That s practice done time for a coffee and a croissant.
That's practice done, time for a coffee and a croissant.

Pray for sunshine.
Pray for sunshine.



57 Comments

  • 46 1
 Richie's forearms make that Renthal bar look skinny!
  • 29 0
 I was about to say, he makes that entire bike look tiny
  • 7 0
 I prefer Rae's Actually, I may have Rae's forearms already.
  • 6 3
 Whats the story with his lack-luster results this year? We need him back on top representing the USA!
  • 4 0
 @taurausmountain: flat in Chile cost him a lot of time and positions. Mud fest in Colombia, ground it out for 24th. Definitely not his strong suit for riding.
  • 2 0
 He runs 740mm bars.
  • 1 0
 @endlessblockades: raes bars look so wide!
  • 6 17
flag murfio (May 11, 2018 at 14:52) (Below Threshold)
 @taurausmountain: An emergency circumcision at the start of the season made the first couple of races really uncomfortable for him down below
  • 2 0
 @taurausmountain: doing ok today! Top spot on 1st and 2nd stages
  • 1 0
 @BMG: three out of four on the day! Seems he likes the venue!
  • 40 7
 Anybody else feel like CRC needs to step up with some better looking kit for Sam? Ugliest kit on the mountain for the coolest king of the Hill.
  • 4 1
 Brandkit... and brand name needs both to be nuked
  • 2 0
 They are pretty awful looking. Maybe just wear black pants or shorts, the current pants he wears are way too busy. The GT kits are kinda similar but look much better with black shorts.
  • 18 1
 there is only one muscles from brussels...jcvd
  • 9 0
 I wonder how expensive it is being a privateer. I can't imagine it's cheap - buying all the gear to keep up with the fully supported riders, plane tickets, hotels, food, etc. Do these riders get any free stuff? Anyone have any insight?
  • 18 0
 Privateer is pretty much anyone without a factory team ride. A lot of racers get help from various brands or distributors but other than some free gear and if lucky a buget to cover gas they are on their own. No one cooking them dinner, arranging transport, shuttling them around, or fixing their bike. Some of those things may happen but not often and not in a structured program.
  • 1 0
 Read all Jamie Nicoll interviews here and you'll understand how hard it is to be a privateer.
  • 15 4
 Sam Hill is so fast, he already won.
  • 6 0
 And since his bar height is 1042 there will be no stopping him!
  • 4 0
 uh oh..he's in full dh gear..
  • 2 0
 except he got 8th on the first stage....
  • 9 0
 If it rains and conditions are horrible Sam Hills odds go up even more to win!!! Sam loves the chaos of gnarly, technical, wet muddy trails, so let it rain!
  • 11 0
 These trails don't turn from dust to mud when it's raining. They turn to "ultragrip/brake pads destructor", then to "wtf am I riding it's so weird", then to "absolutely no way to ride it", and finally to "ultragrip" again when trails are rivers.
  • 8 0
 No mention of how fast Mark Scott will be if it rains? Missed hitting the stereotype mark there you weatherists!
  • 7 0
 Cecile Ravanel: Je t`adore!!!!!! Probably the coolest competitor so far, and the fastest lady definitely. A great Dame!!!
  • 1 0
 How wide is too wide? Good lawd, Isabeau and a few others look like they could benefit from maybe bringing their bars in a few inches. I'm 6'1" with wide shoulders and I ride with 30-31" bars. Some of the people in these pictures look like they might be 5'4" and riding the same width as me.
  • 4 0
 Trek team not running thru-shock?
  • 2 0
 I've been hitting F5 on this website for the past month non-stop waiting for the Commencal Meta 29 to be properly released! stop teasing us like this!
  • 2 0
 Great photos, the venue looks great. I'd like to see those techy rock sections in more detail!
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore I will be here next weekend and would love to ride some of the same trails, do you know if there are any rentals in town?
  • 1 0
 ‘Thomas Lapeyrie has had a mixed bag of a season, can he pull together a result her on home soil?’

One of these things is not like the other ????
  • 2 0
 Thomas Lapeyrie's Gulf colorway on his Orbea!! Nice!
  • 4 2
 Mitch's helmet making a debut it seems Wink
#theSTAGEisSET
  • 2 0
 Is that a prototype gt trail bike? It looks a lot like there new dh bike.
  • 1 0
 I noticed that! Looks like a Trek...
  • 1 0
 That pic of Cecile, amazing; full fork compression and full tyre squish. The definition of OOooffff
  • 1 0
 I don't think that's Cecile...
  • 1 0
 @mrtoodles: lol, you're right. Too much focus on the squish, not on the rider
  • 4 7
 Classic rockshox blowing thru its travel on the smallest bumps
  • 1 0
 Youn Deniaud, fastest privateer. Will those Moto hand guards start catching on soon?
  • 1 0
 pro team needs to hand this guy a contract now !
  • 1 0
 Looks like Hill, Rude, and both women pictured are the only ones riding with their chins up.
  • 1 0
 Do I spy with my little eye... a DH helmet by Smith on a couple of Rocky Mountain riders?
  • 1 0
 Does Jerome Clementz's bike have major tire rub on the downtube?
  • 2 0
 I would say taigate pad rub, no sense on it being tire rub.
  • 1 0
 Looks like amazing riding.
  • 2 1
 No word about Phil Atwill...
  • 1 0
 Where can I view the live streaming of the EWS round 3 Race, Anyone?
  • 1 0
 Go Sam go!!!
  • 1 0
 Melamed crashed on sp2
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