Practice: Bigger & Badder - EWS Les Orres 2019

Jul 5, 2019
by Dave Trumpore  



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.


With some big days ahead it s nice to see a few chairlifts here in the Alps.
With some big days ahead it's nice to see a few chairlifts here in the Alps.

Evening thunderstorms made things quite muddy for the first few days before training got underway but luckily the forecast looks clear and the tracks are now in perfect condition
Evening thunderstorms made things quite muddy for the first few days before training got underway, but luckily the forecast looks clear and the tracks are now in perfect condition

French Fireworks on the 4th of July
French fireworks on the 4th of July


Katy Winton is fully recovered as thrilled to be back racing at the EWS once again.
Katy Winton is fully recovered and thrilled to be back racing at the EWS once again.

It s god to see Lewis Buchanan back between the tape after missing a few rounds with a broken wrist.
It's good to see Lewis Buchanan back between the tape after missing a few rounds with a broken wrist.

Bex Baraona admiring the first stitches of her lifetime. Unfortunately some cracked ribs will keep her out of the mix this weekend.
Bex Baraona admiring the first stitches of her lifetime. Unfortunately, some cracked ribs will keep her out of the mix this weekend.

After a fantastic result in Canazei it s sad to see Laura Battista out with a broken hand this weekend.
After a fantastic result in Canazei it's sad to see Laura Battista out with a broken hand this weekend.

Lots of suspension prep going on after the beat down in Canazei and in anticipation of a very hard race here in Les Orres.
Lots of suspension prep going on after the beat down in Canazei and in anticipation of a very hard race here in Les Orres.


Romain Paullhan could be a spoiler for many thins weekend. He has only raced a few EWS rounds one over the years and at each on he s been right in the mix.
Romain Paullhan could be a spoiler for many this weekend. He has only raced a few EWS rounds one over the years and at each one he's been right in the mix.

The start of the stages in Les Orres are way up there.
The start of the stages in Les Orres are way up there.

The liaison way up to the start of Stage 5
The liaison way up to the start of Stage 5

Josh Carlson a ridge line and some big mountains.
Josh Carlson, a ridge line, and some big mountains.

Mark Scott boosting through on e of the high speed open sections on Stage 5
Mark Scott boosting through one of the high-speed open sections on Stage 5

Richie Rude and Shawn Neer blasting down Stage 7.
Richie Rude and Shawn Neer blasting down Stage 7.

Youn Deniaud looking for a top result on home soil.
Youn Deniaud looking for a top result on home soil.

Keegan Wright through the lower part of Stage one that weaves in and out of the bike park.
Keegan Wright through the lower part of Stage 1 that weaves in and out of the bike park.

High speed drifty turns on the grass halfway down Stage 2
High speed drifty turns on the grass halfway down Stage 2

Be careful where you place your tires our your dreams of a top result will quickly be deflated
Be careful where you place your tires our your dreams of a top result will quickly be deflated

The sharp rocks on Stage 2 took their toll on many riders tires.
The sharp rocks on Stage 2 took their toll on many riders tires.

If you run into problems out there, the locals probably won't be of much help

Pedro Burns surfs through some loose rock on Stage 2
Pedro Burns surfs through some loose rock on Stage 2

Views for miles on Stage 2
Views for miles on Stage 2

Rae Morrison and some very sharp rocks on Stage 5
Rae Morrison and some very sharp rocks on Stage 5

Big mountains and a little Wyn Masters
Big mountains and a little Wyn Masters

Morgane Charre will be looking to get back on the podium here on French soil.
Morgane Charre will be looking to get back on the podium here on French soil.

Lewis Buchanan on Stage 1
Lewis Buchanan on Stage 1

Remi Gauvin lost a few places in the overall last week and will be looking to pull a few of those back here in Les Orres.
Remi Gauvin lost a few places in the overall last week and will be looking to pull a few of those back here in Les Orres.

ALN had a huge crash on Stage 2 and while a bit bruised and battered she will soldier on.
ALN had a huge crash on Stage 2, and while a bit bruised and battered, she will soldier on.

Wyn Masters though one of two tricky rocks gardens on Stage 5
Wyn Masters though one of two tricky rocks gardens on Stage 5

Elliot Trabac on Stage 6
Elliot Trabac on Stage 6

Remi Gauvin vs. another bush.
Remi Gauvin vs. another bush.

Sam Hill skimming over the sharp rocks on Stage 7
Sam Hill skimming over the sharp rocks on Stage 7


Florian Nicolai will certainly be a threat on the tight switch backs.
Florian Nicolai will certainly be a threat on the tight switch backs.

Ella Conolly pinned on Stage 1
Ella Conolly pinned on Stage 1

Ines Thoma on the technical Stage 1
Ines Thoma on the technical Stage 1

Noga Korem is having a fantastic season and currently sits in 2nd overall.
Noga Korem is having a fantastic season and currently sits in 2nd overall.

Stage 5 is high above rah treelike and starts in a field of scree and shale.
Stage 5 is high above rah treelike and starts in a field of scree and shale.

Jose Borges will be looking to make up for his early retirement in Canazei last weekend.
Jose Borges will be looking to make up for his early retirement in Canazei last weekend.

Kevin Miquel has been consistent all year and the only thing missing has been a podium appearance.
Kevin Miquel has been consistent all year and the only thing missing has been a podium appearance.

Melanie Pugin trying to find the grip on the off camber grass on Stage 8.
Melanie Pugin trying to find the grip on the off camber grass on Stage 8.

Once again Isabeau is the one to beat in Les Orres.
Once again Isabeau is the one to beat in Les Orres.

Isabeau Courdurier all alone and out front in the overall points chase as we enter the second half of the season.
Isabeau Courdurier all alone and out front in the overall points chase as we enter the second half of the season.

Unfortunately a big crash in the rocks ended Ella Conolly s season with what looks to be a broken arm and injured leg.
Unfortunately a big crash in the rocks ended Ella Conolly's season with what looks to be a broken arm and injured leg.

Another beautiful end to a day of riding amazing trails in Les Orres.
Another beautiful end to a day of riding amazing trails in Les Orres.


Fire in the sky in Les Orres
Fire in the sky in Les Orres



19 Comments

  • + 23
 Loads of crashes and more or less severe injuries this year... This is a bit of a scary evolution.
  • + 4
 I agree. Seems this year more than ever that we are hearing riders out with injuries...
  • + 9
 I do not think you can draw any conclusion from such a small sample. Venues are different, there more more participants, tougher competition and loads of other factors that make a difference. It would be a scary evolution for the sport if the interest in it would be fading but it is not the case
  • + 18
 Gutted for Ella - she was having a great season...
  • + 2
 Ya, that was a big bummer to read.
  • + 12
 Fantastic pictures...as always!
  • + 1
 Just glorious.
  • + 5
 Trumpore - Great photo of Wyn Masters through rock garden! Look at the focus in his eyes!
  • + 1
 I just wanted to say that I've seen loads of social media video clips of racing thanks to bed Barron's doing a fine job .Also watched the course preview video etc .However it really makes me happy that the amazing squid stills in this article does a better job of getting across the story of this race weekend ,what the location has to offer ,the scenery ,the injuries ,the disappointment ,the glory etc etc. Good jobs Squids long live the stills ????
  • + 1
 Just wanted to say how good a job the squids are doing ! I've watched loads of video clips of the racing via bed barron doing a epic job out on course and the track preview etc. But the stills in this report does a amazing job of telling the story of the location,racing glory,dissapointment and everything else that went on at the race ! Big up the Squids ????????????????
  • + 3
 Curious, with an EWS and WC DH/XC race on the same weekend how do the squids decide what to cover?
  • + 10
 We have teams hustling for all of the events. Smile
  • + 1
 @brianpark: surely to god all under UCI this does not happen. How just how did central control allow this. As part of its mantra, and all the advice of the sponsors and platforms? Very very strange.
  • + 1
 @gonzoracing: well at least both WC circuits are in Andorra Razz
  • + 4
 How much vertical feet (meters) do they actually have to climb?
  • + 3
 Amazing Photos once again, you guys are killing it!
  • + 3
 Gorgeous
  • + 2
 too bad, Romain Paulhan is not listed in the fantasy league.
  • + 2
 Looks sweet!

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