Everything may have been turned on its head this year but there's one thing that couldn't be stopped - Finale Ligure closing out the EWS series. This is the seventh time the EWS has rounded off the series here after the Trophy of Nations was swapped out for this EWS round earlier in the year.
There is only the team title to be decided but Finale is once again sure to see the season out with a bang. It's the last chance for riders to prove themselves this year and for those with contracts coming to an end, it could be a definitive race for the next few years of their career. Let's get into all the details for a pressure cooker weekend ahead.
Riders will be well settled into this area after racing just down the coast in Pietra Ligure last week. Expect some similar terrain this weekend with rocky, loose stages and a monster of a day out. Despite it being well-trodden ground, Finale boasts a huge trail network that winds its way through the surrounding canyons and gives the organisers plenty of options to spring a surprise on the riders.
The Format and Stages
Finale will be another one day race with four stages making up the timed section of the course. The full course is 58.2 km, and it starts and finished on the promenade so there are 1542 metres of vertical throughout the day. 8.5km of that will be raced on stages with 1109 metres of descending. There's also no EWS-E this weekend, just EWS.Stage 1
2.3km, 444m descentStage 2
1.6km, 256m descentStage 3
1.9km, 12m ascent, 173m descentStage 4 (Queen Stage)
2.7km, 236m descentStage previews and maps are for racers only at the request of local authorities to deter spectators
Thursday, September 24 - Shakedown
Mostly cloudy with occasional rain and a thunderstorm // 25°C // 56% probability of precipitation // wind 17km/h
Friday, September 25 - Practice
VThunderstorms, some severe; partly sunny and windy // 20°C // 64% probablility of precipitation // wind 33km/h
Saturday, September 26 - Finals
Partly sunny // 20°C // 0% probablilty of precipitation // wind 15km/h
Weather forecast as of Thursday, September 24.
What Happened Last Round?
1st. Melanie Pugin: 24:50.36
2nd. Isabeau Courdurier: 25:04.57
3rd. Morgane Charre: 25:32.41
4th. Estelle Charles: 25:55.33
5th. Morgane Jonnier: 26:12.85
1st. Adrien Dailly: 21:30.49
2nd. Florian Nicolai: 21:51.07
3rd. Jack Moir: 21:53.13
4th. Dimitri Tordo: 21:53.28
5th. Ed Masters: 21:57.65
Pinkbike PredictionsMenJack Moir
- There isn't a riders' championship this year but if there was, the chances are that Jack Moir would be leading it. He's shown great consistency through the two races this year with 4th in Zermatt and 3rd in Pietra Ligure. He's also not finished lower than eighth on a stage with a best result of 2nd on the Queen Stage last week. Jack's move over to enduro caused a stir back in February but he's proven he deserves to be there and should be one of the favorites to take the win this weekend.Adrien Dailly
- After last week's French domination, we had to pick a Gallic rider somewhere in our predictions. French riders have always gone well here and have had at least 4 men in the top ten every time we've visited, including having seven of the top ten in 2014 and 2015. Dailly has won the junior race three times here and finished fourth in his one senior race too. He's one of the in-form riders and will be flying again this weekend.Jesse Melamed
- Jesse Melamed may have been inconsistent in Pietra Ligure but make no mistake, he was one of the fastest riders on course. His stage results of 1st, 5th and 8th were offset by a 26th and a 35th and evened out at 8th fastest on the day. If Jesse can keep it all together on Saturday he'll be among the podium favourites for sure.WomenMelanie Pugin
- With the two race being just a week and 5km apart, we don't expect anyone to make up the time that Melanie Pugin put into the field last weekend, especially with Isabeau Courdurier missing this round to focus on recovering her ankle. Pugin has been on our radar for a while so it was great to see her fulfill that potential last week after making the switch over from EWS-E. Morgane Charre
- Apart from Courdurier, Charre is the only woman who hasn't been off the podium this year at the EWS and there's no reason she won't carry on that momentum to Finale this weekend. Charre has been relentlessly consistent and hasn't dropped out of the top 4 in any stage all season. Andreanne Lanthier Nadeau
- It's been a tough mini-season for ALN after her crash in Zermatt but she showed signs of a strong recovery in Pietra Ligure by taking the dubious honor of being the first non-French rider. She came strong at the end of the day with her best two stages being the last. She'll be hoping to carry that forward to Finale this week.