Photo Epic: Il Est De Retour - EWS Olargues, France 2018

May 14, 2018
by Matthew DeLorme  



There was something, or rather someone, missing from the podium of the Enduro World Series this last year. Call it pressure, call it the curse of the champions jersey, call it bad luck, call it whatever you want. It was confusing that the most dominant man in the EWS for two years didn't seem to be near the podium. Being a man of so few words, we might not get that answer, and to be honest it doesn't matter now. What matters now is that Richie Rude is back.

What was already an exciting EWS season just got gas thrown on it. It's quite possibly become a knife fight. The new king and the king returned, fighting for the throne. This is new beggings all over and it's going to be exciting to watch. Richie Rude came out swinging and rode like a man on a mission. Tires sounding tortured trying to maintain grip. With his early stage wins, he had a commanding lead, but the excitement got to him on the shortest stage of the race, costing him nine seconds. That said, he kept it together on day two after a night of rain turned these brutal French stages into tracks full of slick, treacherous teeth. Adrien Dailly would claim the second spot on the day and Martin Maes was back after injury in Colombia to take third. For Sam Hill, it was a race of protection. He rode conservatively and maintained his lead. In the women's race, Cecile Ravanel took the win again and Isabeau Courdurier took second after a bad crash in practice. Ines Thoma returned to the podium to take third place.

It should be worth noting that coming into this round the was skepticism about the scandal that has surrounded the last round in France and penalties for infractions of rules of late. It was refreshing to see a round without the cloud of scandal hovering over its head. No major infractions were reported over the weekend. As for Olargues, itself, it's been a hell of a venue. Great people, gnarly tracks, superb racing and beautiful views. You can't ask for much better than that.


It was a cold and grey day today in Olargues
It was a cold and grey day today in Olargues.

It was a mud spike kind of day in the morning but many went back to dry tires half way through the day.
It was a mud spike kind of day in the morning, but many went back to dry tires half way through the day.

Mitch Ropelato s TLD Stage helmet gets the rainy weather treatment. Troy Lee has stated the helmet will be 300 grams and available in August.
Mitch Ropelato's TLD Stage helmet gets the rainy weather treatment. Troy Lee has stated the helmet will be 700 grams and available in August.

Just a squid waiting on the shuttle.
Just a squid waiting on the shuttle.

Camille Servant was looking at top five this morning and finished in the top ten at the end of the day not too shabby.
Camille Servant was looking at top five this morning and finished in the top ten at the end of the day, not too shabby.

Camille Servant was the privateer on fire here in France. Camille was in touch with the podium all weekend and ended up finishing in eighth.
Camille was the privateer on fire here in France.

Riders only had one chance to visit the pits and repair broken bikes or switch out tires as the tracks began to dry through the day.
Riders only had one chance to visit the pits and repair broken bikes or switch out tires as the tracks began to dry through the day.

Kevin Miguel enjoys the dry rocks on the top of Stage 7 before heading into the wet and wild woods.
Kevin Miguel enjoys the dry rocks on the top of Stage 7 before heading into the wet and wild woods.

Thin was the section where lots of riders came undone including Caro Gehrig who was just seconds off the podium.
Thin was the section where lots of riders came undone, including Caro Gehrig who was just seconds off the podium.

Katy Winton took a huge slam on Stage 7 ending her hopes for a podium finish.
Katy Winton took a huge slam on Stage 7, ending her hopes for a podium finish.

Martin Maes took third here in France and should only get stronger as the season goes on.
Martin Maes took third here in France and should only get stronger as the season goes on.

A rough weekend for Katy Winton. Winton finished sixth after fighting off a cold last week and a bit of trouble on course yesterday that pushed her way past the hurt locker to stay in the race.
A rough weekend for Katy Winton. Winton finished sixth after fighting off a cold last week and a bit of trouble on course yesterday that pushed her way past the hurt locker to stay in the race.

Ruaridh Cunningham found the conditions to his liking and rode to 14th place.
Ruaridh Cunningham found the conditions to his liking and rode to 14th place.


Rocky Horror Stage
Rocky Horror Stage.

Youn Deniaud had another impressive top 10 finish going until a flat pushed him back to 35th.
Youn Deniaud had another impressive top 10 finish going until a flat pushed him back to 35th.

Rocks mud tight trees and awkward French switchbacks weren t match for Richie Rude this weekend.
Rocks, mud, tight trees, and awkward French switchbacks were no match for Richie Rude this weekend.

Florian Nicolai was battling with Martin Maes all day for the final podium spot but in the end he would lose out by just seconds.
Florian Nicolai was battling with Martin Maes all day for the final podium spot, but in the end he would lose out by just seconds.

Ines Thoma was happy to be back on the podium. Thoma finished third.
Ines Thoma was happy to be back on the podium. Thoma finished third.

Faster than most dudes. Much faster.
Faster than most dudes. Much faster.

Mckay Vezina gets a foot out on a slippery stage six.
Mckay Vezina gets a foot out on a slippery stage six.

Adrien Dailly finished second with two stage wins.
Adrien Dailly finished second with two stage wins.

Rae Morrison navigates the tight trees on Stage 6.
Rae Morrison navigates the tight trees on Stage 6.

A familiar 2nd today for Isabeau Courdurier
A familiar 2nd today for Isabeau Courdurier, but she had to battle up from a few spots down on Day 1.

After missing the first half of the season with illness it was great to see Thomas Lapeyrie in 13th for the weekend.
After missing the first half of the season with illness it was great to see Thomas Lapeyrie in 13th for the weekend.

Melanie Pugin was 4th by just a few seconds despite having to overtake slower riders on every stage of the weekend.
Melanie Pugin was 4th by just a few seconds despite having to overtake slower riders on every stage of the weekend.

Martin Maes fought to the very end to claim the final podium spot on the last stage of the day.
Martin Maes fought to the very end to claim the final podium spot on the last stage of the day.

Not the weekend Sam Hill was hoping for but he still holds on to the overall.
Not the weekend Sam Hill was hoping for but he still holds onto the overall.

Eliot Trabac on Stage 6
Eliot Trabac on Stage 6.

On the podium in 3rd for Ines Thoma.
On the podium in 3rd for Ines Thoma.

Damien Oton checks the results after a long day on the bike. Oton finished fifth.
Damien Oton checks the results after a long day on the bike. Oton finished fifth.

Richie Rude bleeding for his first win since Whistler in 2016.
Richie Rude bleeding for his first win since Whistler in 2016.

20 minutes after the finish and this is the glamorous life of the best riders in the world as they await their turn at the anti-doping station.
20 minutes after the finish and this is the glamorous life of the best riders in the world as they await their turn at the anti-doping station.

Richie Rude back on top where he belongs
Richie Rude back on top where he belongs

The trophies everyone is chasing in Olargues
The trophies everyone is chasing in Olargues

Yesterday you saw Richie s half smile when he knew he had things under control. Today you get to see the real deal when he ends the weekend as the fastest in the world.
Yesterday you saw Richie's half smile when he knew he had things under control. Today you get to see the real deal when he ends the weekend as the fastest in the world.

Once again it was Cecile Ravanel on top in the Women s race.
Once again it was Cecile Ravanel on top in the Women's race.

An American a Frenchman and a Belgian on top at round three.
An American, a Frenchman, and a Belgian on top at round three.





Previously:

Final Results
Day 1 Photo Report
Practice Gallery
Course Preview


Mentions: @EnduroWorldSeries




64 Comments

  • + 23
 Anyone have an update on Katy Winton?? She hit her head really hard. There's a video of it on another page's RAW video and a picture of her helmet with a great big hole in it.
  • + 26
 According to her Instagram she’s okay, no signs of concussion or other head injuries but taking a week off riding just to be on the safe side.
  • + 1
 She made a somewhat vague post about it on her IG. www.instagram.com/p/Bivyneun5hF/?taken-by=misswinton
  • + 8
 There's no way someone cracks their helmet like that (at the speed she was presumably going) and doesn't have even a mild traumatic head injury. Working in emergency medicine, and having had a bad traumatic head injury myself, she's got a head injury to some degree for absolute sure... She may be on the bike in a week, but she won't be staying on the bike, that's for sure. I wouldn't believe that any doctor would clear her to ride within a week.
  • + 3
 @bigmike9699: Completely agree with your statement. There is no way she should have been let back on course.
  • + 2
 @bigmike9699: everyone wants to be optimistic and hope for the best after a crash. I'm not surprised by her initial comments. Once the adrenaline wears off, she's away from the buzz of the race and $hit gets real she'll have a different perspective. I would expect her team would want a doctor's report with a clean bill of health before she races again.
  • + 4
 @vikb: Thing is, the person with a brain injury is not fit to judge whether or not they are injured.
  • + 1
 What about Rae Morrison's plain jersey. Was it pink for mother's day, or has she no marquee sponsors?
  • + 17
 What happened to the new Stumpy and it's riders?
  • + 12
 this course obviously required a rockhopper instead of a stumpjumper. duh
  • + 4
 Design wasn't specialized for this terrain.
  • + 11
 "He's back = Il est de retour",

"Il retourne = He's going back", just like when the guys sing they miss their place and want to go home in country songs Wink
  • + 13
 Damn sleep deprived photographers. Thank you!
  • + 2
 @brianpark: And FYI, in French, we use a capital just for the first word of a headline (i.e. "Il est de retour"). Smile
  • + 4
 So you're saying Richie is the Illest??
  • + 1
 @cool3: We do that in the United States as well.
  • + 9
 For those who cannot wait for the highlights, (and who understand bits of french) here's a nice professionnal video with interviews, hard sections, crashes...
(Many on "le goulet" on top of stage 7 "les cretes XXL" ~ 6 minutes and forth)
www.vojomag.com/ews-3-olargues-le-reportage-video-complet
  • + 7
 As always, amazing photos! I saw somewhere else Cecile was a 29er this weekend, what bike did Richie race on? The SB5.5 or SB6?
  • + 9
 SB5.5, we have a winning bike check from him coming up shortly.
  • + 7
 What was the scandal that surrounded the last round in France?
Great photos, great race.
  • + 1
 People poaching closed sections of trail and getting penalized. What I thought it was. Or people jumping over haybales to cut corners What someone pointed out down below.
  • + 7
 i run the same chainguide as Richie so i guess i'm pretty much a world champion enduro racer
  • + 6
 "Martin Maes took X here in France and should only get stronger as the season goes on"

Don't we read this after every race the last three years?
  • + 7
 None wears elbow pads.. Why?
  • + 8
 our tan lines are already bad enough!!
  • + 11
 Graves answered that question during his live Q&A at sea otter. He said it was probably a bit dumb but its one of those things that doesn't fall into his must have protection set. He said noone does it and its probably fashion related. No good answer for why not but he's not about to start. At least he was honest.
  • + 0
 Also, no goggles on Melanie Pugin...
What's wrong with those people?!..
  • + 2
 ... and shin pads ? Seems they are really needed too. If fashion/comfort is the issue not to wear them then this new Rockingtor.com shine kneepads nailed.
  • + 5
 @ka81: Sometimes, when your goggles are full of water and mud, it's better to put them off. Else, you're basically blind. :p
  • + 0
 @evildos: it was mud as a reason?? I mean photo of Melanie Pugin
  • + 2
 I always found that regardless of how tight I had them they would always end up on my wrists and become more of an annoyance than anything. Which is why I don’t use them anymore.
  • + 2
 @ka81: Maybe rain. I saw a picture of Sam Hill with his goggles around his neck during this round.
  • + 3
 @ka81: Possibly fogging lenses.
  • + 1
 @PNdubRider: You're right !
  • + 3
 Wow, what an amazing set of very, very hard trails. This must be the hardest race of the series so far. Dare I say it, it made the first WC DH look a bit like a walk in the park, the rocks of Losinj, notwithstanding .
  • + 6
 Seems shin pads needs to be re-invented.
  • + 2
 As much as i’m a big fan of Sam Hill and wish to see him on the top step in every race, the line “for Sam Hill, it was a race of protection. He rode conservatively and maintained his lead” doesn’t make sense to me. That was only round 3, not a last round when He has to ride conservatively in order to minimize the chance for crash or mechanical and to maximize the chance to take the overall win. Maybe this race wasn’t the best race for him but to say he rode conservatively to keep the leading when we are not even in the middle of the season doesn’t make sense to me.
  • + 6
 I think conservatively compared to Rude and Maes and some others who went out full on this weekend to try to catch him. He still has a pretty good lead and may have to go full on in a round or two if he becomes threatened.
  • + 7
 If you have ever ridden this terrain on the wet, you would know why. riding at full pace on these wet stones is rolling the dice. Why would he do that with such a commanding lead.
  • - 1
 @FlorentVN: maybe because he better increase his gap over the other competitors so he can be even more secured leader?
  • + 7
 @Eden4: But he did increase his lead over the guys near the top, apart from a measly 10 points lost to Oton.

Rude is too far back to catch him if he keeps finishing 6th. Maes or Dailly as well, unless they win every race (not happening). And Melamed is out of the running now as well.

Listen to his interview on vital. He would have preferred to ride faster, but happy enough to get points and play the long game.
  • - 1
 Actually you and most people missed what really happened. Gwin was going Soo fast he won the entire race on Saturday. Sunday he was already back in CA shredding.
  • + 2
 Everyone deserves a bad day at the office!
  • + 3
 @gapos999: totally!
  • + 1
 "wasn't feeling the fire."
  • + 5
 @fecalmaster: I would like to see Gwin on such a race... He's in great shape and very strong -- would make for an interesting competition vs the top guys.
  • + 5
 Makes sense when you think what happened to Melamed...
  • + 4
 Awesome pics, great coverage.

PS. I don't think 300g for the helmet is correct, maybe 300g lighter?
  • + 3
 Good catch. 700g is the target weight for the Stage.
  • + 2
 "After missing the first half of the season with illness it was great to see Thomas Lapeyrie in 13th for the weekend"

Pinkbike, where 2 / 8 = 0.5 ;-)
  • + 1
 "The scandal that has surrounded the last round in France and penalties for infractions of rules of late" : what do you mean ? There were a couple of 5s penalties at the last two rounds but is it that uncommon ?
  • + 2
 people were hopping over some hay bales to cut some corners
  • + 3
 Men's elite occupied by all the young 'uns!
  • + 2
 Ritchie's calf muscles split his legs open...talk about vulgar display of power.
  • + 2
 Rude's legs are huge though.
  • + 1
 VitalMTB seems to really have the best coverage if you're looking for video of the event.
  • + 2
 Dang, that Thin section is crazy...
  • + 2
 Nice photos Dave & Matt.
  • + 1
 Is there any biker on here who hasn’t got scars all over their shins??
  • + 1
 Sooooo in 8 months we're going to get a Anneke Beerten retirement post?
  • + 1
 I will have a belgian beer for Martin!
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