Photo Epic presented by ODI
Close. Uncomfortably close. In a weekend of incredibly brutal racing, the penultimate round of the Enduro World Series heated up to inferno temperatures. While Florian Nicolai was trying to protect his series lead on trails and conditions he wasn't totally fond of, Richie Rude was trying his hardest to hold off a hard-charging Sam Hill. Mitch Ropelato was on his best EWS ride ever, giving Martin Maes a run for his money. Isabeau Courdurier once again added another win to her season. Noga Korem took second place in what has to be the best form of her career. Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau took third in the overall and the win on stage five.
Coming into day two, Sam Hill and Richie Rude sat fractions of a second apart after Richie came out and put down a seven-second lead on stage one. But Sam Hill was on the hunt for that first win of the season and cut that gap on stage two. Mitch Ropelato was the Cinderella story of the day when the dust settled on day one sitting in third place. Richie laid down the winning run on the queen stage, adding significantly to his points. Mitch took second on stage three, three seconds and change behind Rude. But the day wasn't over yet. Sam Hill took the win on stage four, with Adrien Dailly just over three seconds back. Rude would finish stage four in fourth just under seven seconds off of Hill's winning time. Hill would go into the lead of the race after stage four, and even with the win on stage five, Hill would hold the lead going into stage six by slivers of a second. When the dust had settled Richie Rude would come across the line 0.81 of a second ahead of Hill. Enough for the win by the slimmest margins in EWS history. Now going into the finals round in Zermatt the points spread in the men's race in extremely close. Perhaps uncomfortably close for some as there will be no margin for error between Florian Nicolai and Sam Hill as they duke it out for the title.