After hosting various rounds of the French Enduro Series over the past few years, Les Orres will finally get the chance to play host to a full-blown Enduro World Series race this weekend. Nestled high in the Alps and far from any major cities, Les Orres is a bit of a remote destination but anyone familiar with the terrain will assure you it is well worth the journey.
The trails are a mix of classic French high alpine terrain full of loose scree and sharp embedded rock, and forsted trails full of loamy goodness. A few of the stages crisscross the more established bike park tracks, while others venture down the valley for some steep switchbacks that racing in France has become infamous for.
With two big days high in the mountains and 8 total stages, this will be by far the biggest and baddest EWS round of the season thus far. Thankfully, quite a few chairlifts will help riders on their way to the high altitude starts, but will many of the stages pushing 1000m of descent it will be anything but easy. When you add up the two days of practice leading up to the event, riders and bikes will have taken one heck of an epic beating by the time the winners are crowned on Sunday.
Coming off of wins last week Richie Rude and Isabeau Courdurier carry the momentum into this round in France, but you can be sure many riders such as Florian Nicolai and Morgane Charre will be looking to challenge for the top spots on home soil as well. With the points race now tightening up in the men's race and many top riders showing great mid-season form it will be paramount to perform well here to have any chance at taking the overall title. And while Isabeau is running away with it in the women's title chance, the remaining podium spots are still very mush up for grabs.