After a day of rain turned dust into mud, riders came into race day unsure of what they would find hiding in the Irish hills. Would it be tacky or maybe a bit slimy and sticky? The answer was all of the above. The ever-changing conditions made each stage a bit of a mixed bag full of unique challenges, and it was riders who could adapt and react on the fly that were able to exploit weakness from their rivals throughout the day. And that's not even taking into account the added pressure piled on by the Irish fans who came out in the thousands to both cheer and heckle all day long.
For Cecile Ravanel and Adrien Dailly the challenges on and off the track were no distraction and they put in nothing short of dominant performances. Cecile won each and every stage handily, and Adrien won three of the six (and finished 2nd, 3rd, and 6th in the other stages). The same could not be said for Ireland's golden boy and two-time winner here, Greg Callaghan. Even the massive Irish crowd that seemed to carry him to victory the previous two years was of little help, and when a rider has an off day there's really nothing one can do but try to survive...and survive Greg did. Despite finishing a few stages back in the teens and twenties he still rallied back hard enough to earn valuable points and leaves Ireland with his series lead intact, but only by the skin of his teeth.
With four rounds down and four to go, the EWS has come to its midpoint as we head into a short break before picking this back up in France next month. For the women it looks like Cecile will be hard to beat, but the remaining podium spots will certainly be up for grabs as riders like Katie Winton and Isabeau Courdurier continue to charge at the front. For the men, things are about as tight as they can get with only 60 points separating Greg Callaghan, Sam Hill, and Adrien Dailly, ensuring that this season things will most certainly come right down to the wire in Finale Ligure in October.