The second day would begin with riders crossing over the border into Slovenia for Stage 4 on a beautiful fresh cut track. With no rain overnight or the previous day racers were greeted with fluffy brown loam from top to bottom before transferring through 20 mins of dark mining tunnel to reach Stage 5. After that, it would be a long pedal back across the border to Austria and the final long stage of the weekend from atop the gondola in Petzen.
With the exception of Cecile Ravanel who was once again far clear of her nearest challenger, all the podium spots were still very much up for grabs in all categories, and with only seconds separating many riders. Isabeau Courdurier had Melanie Pugin breathing right down her neck for the second spot in the women's field, and men's leader Sam Hill was less than 10 seconds clear of Martin Maes. Eddie Masters started the day in third but just barely as Robin Wallner sat only one second back in fourth. With tight times and the threat of rain hanging overhead at the start of the day it was still very much anyone's race.
As the things progressed there was little change to the running order at the front, but with each stage, the gaps between some key positions began to tighten up. Most notably Martin Maes who put the pressure on Sam Hill on the first two stages of the day, and the pair would head into the 6th and final stage of the weekend just 1.5 seconds apart. In the women's it was now Casey Brown who was pressuring Pugin for the 3rd and final podium spot. At 13 plus minutes the final stage of the weekend would equal nearly half the total time raced prior in the day, and with a mix in terrain from rock gardens to loam to bike park berms with all kinds of slick roots in between it would be a battle from top to bottom.
When the clocks finally stopped ticking it would be Cecile Ravanel far clear of all the women with Isabeau Courdurier behind in second. Casey Brown's late-race surge continued as she propelled herself into third and the final spot of the podium despite not racing any EWS rounds in almost a year. And in the men's Robin Wallner made up huge time to gain two positions and land himself on the podium, further solidifying his 2nd place standing in the overall. Martin Maes came close but it was Sam Hill who would put down a stellar final run to win both the final stage and race overall. With three wins now out of four rounds for Sam, and a perfect season thus far for Cecile Ravanel it's looking good for both as we head into the second half of the EWS season.
Next stop will be the big mountains in La Thuile under the shadow of Mont Blanc in just three weeks time.