Pinkbike Primer - The New EWS Venue in Les Orres

Jul 4, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

Another french fast guy from the South of France here is Mathieu Ruffray going 100 to the 4th place.

Words by James Smurthwaite
Image Credit: Richard Bord - shot at European Continental Enduro Series 2018 - Les Orres

Round Five, The Great Unknown
Enduro's elites head to southeastern France for round five

Another week another new venue. This time we're in Les Orres, a small ski village above the town of Embrun in the south east of France. Les Orres was on the European Continental Series last year and it's making the step up to the World Series this weekend. The race last year fell just after La Thuile so a lot of top riders made the short trip over to scout this venue including Kevin Miquel, Greg Callaghan and Zakarias Johansen.

With all but 2 trails set in the bike park, there's a lot of chairlift liaisons this weekend meaning riders should be charging on each stage, no need to save energy when you can recover on the way to the next stage. Expect eight rocky, alpine stages with stunning backdrops spread over two days of furious racing. Let's get into it:

Be sure to remember his name in the future Simone Martinelli was a Junior last year came here with the plate 115th and took the 7th spot just in front of Nico Lau. That young gun is fast
Image Credit: Richard Bord - shot at European Continental Enduro Series 2018 - Les Orres

The Course

Day 1

Day 2

Riders are straight in first thing on Saturday morning with no liaison but instead a run from the top of the chairlift at the Les Orres 1650 ski village. They will have to ensure they've warmed up well and be fully awake for this rude awakening.

GRAND CABANE: 5.3km (Queen Stage)
The Queen Stage comes as the second stage of the day. Stage 1 drops riders back into the main village and from there they take a different chairlift followed by a short, flat transition to reach the top of stage 2. This is the longest stage of the weekend with more than a kilometre lost in vertical and starts the riders on their long road out of the bike park down to the town of Embrun.

Stage 3 winds down from below the ski village towards Lac de Serre Poncon. It's rated as a blue so there shouldn't be too much to challenge the riders.

The longest liaison of the race (7km) takes riders down through the town of Embrun and up the other side of the valley for the final stage of day 1, Tourniquet. It's the shortest stage of the day by some distance but as fatigue sets in riders will still have to be on high alert.

Day 2 is centered in the bike park with only one big transition for the riders to worry about and it's this transition that brings riders to the top of the valley for Les Cretes. This is another super-long stage with the most vertical lost in one go all weekend.

Riders hop straight onto another chairlift and then drop straight into Myrtilles.

There's a small transition back to the village then the last chairlift ride of the day as riders get taken to the top of Magic Wood, one of the marked bike park trails.

Magic Wood drops riders out at the start of the final stage of the weekend., Cool Rider. This is the shortest stage of the weekend so is unlikely to affect the standings too much but a loss of concentration here could definitely ruin a rider's weekend.

What Happened at the Last Round

With Martin Maes' suspension hanging over the pits, Richie Rude made a winning return in the men's field with Sam Hill seemingly back on form in second on his new bike. Florian Nicolai secured his new-found spot at the top of the overall with third.

Isabeau Courdurier is now halfway to a perfect season having won four from four so far this year. Andreane Lanthier Nadeau earned her best ever result with a second and Noga Korem took third.


Elite Men:

1st. Richie Rude: 35:28.350
2nd. Sam Hill: 35:47.310
3rd. Florian Nicolai: 35:53.990
4th. Ed Masters: 36:07.890
5th. Dimitri Tordo: 36:29.150

Elite Women:

1st. Isabeau Courdurier: 40:56.040
2nd. Andreane Lanthier Nadeau: 41:30.550
3rd. Noga Korem: 41:47.160
4th. Melanie Pugin: 41:55.410
5th. Morgane Charre: 42:47.840

See the full results here.

Dimitri gritted it out to take his best result of the year in 5th.
Dimitri gritted it out to take his best result of the year in 5th.

The Standings

1st // Florian Nicolai // FRA // 1740
2nd // Sam Hill // AUS // 1520
3rd // Ed Masters // NZL // 1460
4th // Kevin Miquel // FRA // 1450
5th // Dimitri Tordo // FRA // 1390
6th= // Keegan Wright // NZL // 1355
6th= // Remi Gauvin // CAN // 1355
8th // Robin Wallner // SWE // 1250
9th // Jesse Melamed // CAN // 1210
10th // Wyn Masters // NZL // 1205

1st // Isabeau Courdurier // FRA // 2160
2nd // Noga Korem // ISR // 1620
3rd // Morgane Charre // FRA // 1400
4th // Andreane Lanthier Nadeau // CAN // 1250
5th // Bex Baraona // GBR // 1020
6th // Ella Conolly // GBR // 945
7th // Anita Gehrig // SUI // 840
8th // Becky Cook // GBR // 825
9th // Rae Morrison // NZL // 675
10th // Melanie Pugin // FRA // 625

Weather Forecast

It's a hot one in France but with a chance of rain for this weekend's race.

As you probably read it on the previous bike check from Les Orres French Cup the Marseillaise Morgane Such didn t race that much this year and was here to have fun. Looks like it was the key for the top step of the podium in front of those other girls who race all the French Cup Series and more
Image Credit: Richard Bord - shot at European Continental Enduro Series 2018 - Les Orres
Thursday, July 4 - Practice Stage 1, 2, 3, 4
Periods of clouds and sunshine, a couple of showers and a thunderstorm // 22°C // 60% precipitation // wind 9km/h

Friday, July 5 - Practice Stage 5, 6, 7, 8
Partly sunny, a thunderstorm around from late morning on // 25°C // 51% precipitation // wind 7km/h

Saturday, July 6 - Race Day 1: Stage 1, 2, 3, 4
Intervals of clouds and sunshine; very warm // 27°C // 25% precipitation // wind 9km/h

Sunday, July 7 - Race Day 2: Stage 5, 6, 7, 8
Times of clouds and sun, a couple of showers and a thunderstorm // 25°C // 62% precipitation // wind 9km/h

Weather forecast from Accuweather as of July 3.

The Schedule

2017 French Enduro Series Round 5 Les Orres - Day Two
Image Credit: Kike Abelleira, shot at 2017 French Enduro Series Round 5, Les Orres

Thursday, July 4
• 11:00-13:30 Stage 1 Training
• 11:45-14:00 Stage 2 Training
• 12:30-15:00 Stage 3 Training
• 13:45-16:15 Stage 4 Training
Friday, July 5
• 11:00-13:30 Stage 5 Training
• 12:30-15:00 Stage 6 Training
• 13:00-15:30 Stage 7 Training
• 13:30-16:15 Stage 8 Training
Saturday, July 6
• 8:30-17:00 Race (Stages 1-4)
• 18:00 Awards
Sunday, July 7
• 8:30-17:00 Race (Stages 5-8 )
• 18:00 Awards

Note: All times are local and subject to change by the event organizer.

Follow Along

2017 French Enduro Series Round 5 Les Orres - Day Two
Image Credit: Kike Abelleira, shot at 2017 French Enduro Series Round 5, Les Orres

Pinkbike will be providing you with the best daily coverage from our team in Les Orres, France this week. Tune in to Pinkbike to catch photo epics, videos and results from practice and race day, as well as tech bits and news.

Following the Enduro World Series live can be a struggle with remote stages and hundreds of riders tackling trails at the same time. We're lucky to have Polygon rider Dan Wolfe bringing you behind the scenes action from each round LIVE through the Pinkbike Instagram stories this year. Find what's going down on course during training and race day through our Instagram. Be sure to follow @pinkbike to keep up with the action.

Pinkbike Predictions

bigquotesThe venue looks to be pretty similar to last week and there's not much that can change in a week so we expect the fastest riders in both fields to be right up there again. In the men's series, Sam Hill has been getting better and better each week and the next step for him is to get back into that winning groove this weekend. He won in La Thuile last year in similar terrain and it has been too long since we saw him at the top. Richie Rude is obviously carrying pace at the moment so expect him to do well as well. For third place I've gone for Ed Masters, he's having a great season and is missing the downhill to be here in Les Orres so has plenty of motivation to aim for the podium to back up the one he got in La Thuie a year ago.

On the women's side, Isabeau Courdurier has an extremely healthy lead in the overall and will now be turning her attention to a perfect season, that means going all out for the wins. I think her streak is going to continue and we'll see her notch up number 5 this weekend. Noga Korem seems to be the most consistent of the rest of the women but really places 2-7 seem to be anyone's this year. It's going to be fascinating to see who will step up and grab the podium spots this weekend.

1 // Sam HILL
2 // Richie RUDE
1 // Isabeau COURDURIER
2 // Noga KOREM

Fantasy League


Don't forget to complete your EWS Fantasy team before the race starts on Saturday. If you don't know who to pick, check the Start List . There are prizes for each round, so if you haven't already, make sure to build your team today! If you've already got a team in the mix you're in the running to win the Grand Prize, so visit the Fantasy homepage to make sure you have the fastest team possible for Round 5.

The Fantasy Enduro League is Presented by Shimano.


MENTIONS: @shimano

Regions in Article
Les Orres

Author Info:
jamessmurthwaite avatar

Member since Nov 14, 2018
1,770 articles

  • 11 0
 Kind of sucks they scheduled 2 huge events on same weekend. Honestly the Masters brother's made the right choice going EWS. Would like to see Hill or Rude on top!
  • 4 0
 Only one is live on RB though, so for fans it's an easy choice.
  • 6 0
 @mi-bike: Definitely would watch a DH race any day and checks EWS highlight reel later.
  • 5 1
 @mi-bike @jorgeposada If EWS/Redbull would make a live coverage of the King Stage being the last one making a non inverse start like in some french race they do, leaving the real acumulated gaps so far between riders, so you see a "snake" of riders in real action of the GC, that would be very entertainning see how it resolutes the race... Also the previous hours they could make the resume and the interviews of each stage... so here you have it.. Enduro for real TV coverage.
  • 1 0
 Sadly, that means no Wyn TV for the DH guys.
  • 2 0
 @neimbc: Cathro has it covered;-)
  • 2 0
 @neimbc: and Elliot
  • 2 0
 @PauRexs: I would watch both split screen , and hopefully that will come in the future.
  • 9 1
 Not loving the trend to bike park lift assist enduro racing. It's really just multi-lap DH racing, as the focus on all-day riding fitness and more remote (less practised) tracks is what separates enduro athletes and their skillset. Crankworx Whistler was fine as a one-off big day, but one might wonder when they won't just start hauling a more DH-oriented bike when the transitions are short and largely flat.
  • 4 2
 Agreed. If they're riding lifts up, and using downhill trails for the course, then how is it any different than a mini-DH race? I thought "enduro" was all about having to climb up on your own, making it a different beast over the course of a two-day race?
  • 3 2
 Quite lame not to have pedaled liaisons, except for a really small one, in two days of racing. If Enduro doesn't wan't to be considered the B-series of DH they should try to keep the fitness level up with at least 1300m of climbing each day, which is really the bare minimum.
  • 1 0
 I still find it's quite different, queen stage alone is an estimated 20 minutes. Race 8 stages that you barley know at race pace has it's own level of tacticts, energy wise and saftey wise. I find it really hard to compare DH and Enduro even when Enduro is at it's most DH-like format.

That said this season has had races that are a lot shorter than other years. I remember EWS Corral being 100km with no lifts/ trucks. Rotorua was 63 I believe. Maybe they are trying to make it easier for the non-pro racers.

Maybe the best would be a season with varied rounds, some very long and physical rounds and some others like the ones this season has.
@whitehonky @stevemokan @P-Munari
  • 8 0
 I really want to see Eddie on the top step. What a party that would be.
  • 2 0
 Whatever happened to the write-ups about the location itself? History, geography, culture... that stuff is part of what makes enduro racing around the world exiciting to follow. Helps me pick destinations to dream about too. So far Ainsa, Chile, La Thuile and Val di Fassa have stuck out in my imagination as top destinations to go for a bike holiday... in part because of the pictures and write-ups here on PB...
  • 4 0
 So who will be the first pro to ditch the single crown and sled their enduro bike?
  • 2 0
 Umm Jared Graves got 3rd at the world champs on his yeti enduro bike.
  • 4 0
 @jorgeposada: True. Doesn't mean he wouldn't be faster on a dual crown fork though. I was mainly thinking now that riders are running 29er 170mm forks a short boxxer would maybe be a suitable option..... particuarly at such a lift assisted venue.
  • 1 1
 Pff and they call it enduro? 170md+, seriously? In a country that has so many perfect enduro trails?
I do not know this little ski village, but obviously they paid a lot to get an ews event to compensate the lack of snow in winter. Such a pity.
  • 1 1
 Would be RUDE not to count Richie in for the win! Big Grin

But i think Sam will take it home after feeling comfortable on the new prototype 29er Mega now!
  • 1 0

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