Pinkbike Primer - Everything You Need to Know Ahead of EWS Madeira

May 8, 2019
by Sarah Moore  

Round Three, Racing on an Island Paradise
Enduro's elites head to the tiny Portuguese island for round 3

The third Enduro World Series of the year heads to the island paradise of Madeira, Portugal. This tiny island in the Atlantic ocean is one of two autonomous regions of Portugal (along with the Azores) and made its EWS debut in 2017, when Greg Callaghan and Cecile Ravanel came away with the wins. The diverse, technical trails are built and maintained by Freeride Madeira and proved a big hit with riders from around the world two years ago.

This will be the first two full days of Enduro World Series racing that the riders will be undertaking this season after racing one day in Rotorua and the bulk of the racing happening on Sunday in Tasmania. Let's refresh your memory on what happened in Madeira in 2017, take a look at the course and the upcoming weather conditions and get primed and ready for the weekend.

Greg kept it steady and avoided the mechanical disasters on his closest competitors to grab the lead with two stages to go.

The Course

Stage 1: 3.10km - 5m UP - 440m DOWN The longest stage of the race, starting below the golf course on the left side of the valley of Machico. A super flowy and smooth track with a gentle gradient and a couple of sprint sections, crossing eucalyptus and acacia forest on the upper section then switching into the open on the lower section with amazing views over the valley of Machico.

Stage 2: 1.55km - 5m UP - 230m DOWN This is one of the oldest paths of the island that we recovered for mountain biking a few years back. With a fantastic view over the Peninsula of São Lourenço, the far East of the island, this coastal trail will challenge all your abilities. It’s fast, it’s rocky, has tight switch backs and a couple of short uphills in between. Don’t get distracted by the view!

Stage 3: 2.05km - 2m UP - 295m DOWN This trail was used to finish the event in 2017. You will be flowing down a smooth old farmers path, through agriculture terraces until you reach the tarmac road. The lower part takes you onto a fast grassy slope with a machine built section with three jumps in a row making things a bit more exiting for riders and public.

Stage 4: 1.85km - 2m UP - 310m DOWN Located above the capital of Madeira, in the Ecological Park of Funchal, this track was built for the current Downhill World Champion, Loic Bruni, for his segment on the “Gamble” film. The top third is all machine built with big berms, jumps and rhythm sections, all overlooking the basin of Funchal. The bottom is all hand built where speed is the main ingredient!

Stage 5: 1.05km - 0m UP - 220m DOWN This trail was named Rat Boy after a video with Josh Bryceland for Santa Cruz Bicycles. It drops slightly North through a beautiful Pine forest, the shortest track of the race is fast and fun with some small berms and drops but also with some rocks and roots, demanding full concentration top to bottom.

Stage 6: 2.10km - 3m UP - 290m DOWN Starts with an easy and owy gradient which can become physical, then half way down turns into a steep rooty and rocky Portuguese National Downhill track. It was one of the most intense sections for bikes, riders and public! Get ready, get rowdy!

Stage 7: 2.20km - 10m UP - 375m DOWN Isolated and far away from civilization, Boca do Risco is one of the most mythical paths of this race. Steep, narrow and quite technical till you cross the abyss that always spices up the adventure. This trail is an iconic piece of riding on the island and suffered some changes since 2017! The bottom part is completely new, becoming wider, faster and smoother. This is the Queen Stage of the event, so no joking around!

Stage 8: 2.70km - 3m UP - 400m DOWN An extended version of SS3 that adds a couple extra meters going through some iconic streets of Machico and finishing right at the beach in the event area.

What Happened in 2017

The event in 2017 was one for the history books. The weather was wild, tracks that were long and taxing on the racers, and mechanicals were aplenty. The race was a true war of attrition and being consistent was the key to winning. Jesse Melamed had a commanding lead coming into day two when he broke a wheel on stage seven. Many other riders also flatted or broke something that cost them precious time. Madeira served up a race that was pushing everyone to the breaking point, both mentally and physically.

Greg Callaghan was the man who held it all together and took the lead when the race started to fall apart for others. A late charge from Martin Maes put him into the mix late in the game, and if it weren't for a big crash on the final stage he might just have ended up on top. Cecile Ravanel stayed fast and consistent throughout the weekend to take the win in the women's race ahead of Isabeau Courdurier.

Elite Men

1st. Greg Callaghan 49:24.49
2nd. Martin Maes +00:05.26
3rd. Damien Oton +00:18.84
4th. Jared Graves +00:30.48
5th. Sam Hill +00:44.55

Elite Women

1st. Cecile Ravanel 57:19.74
2nd. Isabeau Courdurier +01:08.97
3rd. Noga Korem +02:06.75
4th. Ines Thoma +02:33.85
5th. Miranda Miller +03:34.93

See the full 2017 results here.

Jesse Melamed s wheel exploded after riding with a flat tire and he said the only reason he kept going was because he wanted to be sure he left Madeira with a photo from the epic view on Stage 8... Well Jesse here s that photo.
Jesse Melamed's wheel exploded after riding with a flat tire, and he said the only reason he kept going was because he wanted to be sure he left Madeira with a photo from the epic view on Stage 8...

Weather Forecast

The forecast for this weekend looks ideal for racing. It's not too hot, not too cold, not too windy, and, for once, not too wet!

Stage 8 has that iconic Madeira view.
Thursday, May 9 - Practice Stage 1, 2, 3
Mainly sunny // 20°C // 0% precipitation // wind 9km/h

Friday, May 10 - Practice Stage 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Mainly sunny // 20°C // 20% precipitation // wind 9km/h

Saturday, May 11 - Race Day #1 (Stage 1-3)
Mainly sunny // 21°C // 10% precipitation // wind 21km/h

Sunday, May 12 - Race Day #2 (Stage 4-8 )
A mix of sun and clouds // 23°C // 20% precipitation // wind 18km/h

Weather forecast from the Weather Network as of Tuesday, May 7.

The Schedule

Some riders just do it with more style. Iago Garay is one of those riders.

Thursday, May 9
• 9-12:30 Stage 1 Training
• 13:00-17:00 Stage 2 + Stage 3 Training

Friday, May 10
• 8:30-10 Stage 4 Training
• 9-10:45 Stage 5 Training
• 9:30-11:30 Stage 6 Training
• 11-13:00 Stage 7 Training
• 13:00-15:00 Stage 8 Training
• 18:30 Rider Briefing

Saturday, May 11
• 9:00-17:00 Race (Stage 1-3)

Sunday, May 12
• 9:00-17:00 Race (Stage 4-8 )
• 18:00 Awards

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

Follow Along

Isabeau drops into some steep gnar on Stage 6.

Pinkbike will be providing you with the best daily coverage from our team in Madeira 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.

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 and stay tuned for our Predictions article. 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 3.

The Fantasy Enduro League is Presented by Shimano.

MENTIONS: @shimano


  • + 49
 I was riding with the Freeride Madeira crowd 2 weeks ago, I asked the guide "are there any flat bits on the Island?"

His reply " yep, the airport, the football field and the tennis court!!!"

Outstanding trail riding, all sorts of terrain, and fabulous views!
  • + 3
 Amazing place!
  • + 2
 In my next life I will own a cottage on this beautiful island.
  • + 2
 Quite possibly my favourite place on earth. I have friends who are property developers out there who joke that flat ground is worth more than gold in Madiera.
  • + 10
 Callaghan is injured, not racing this weekend.
  • + 12
 I though the title says "everything you need to know" obviously thats not the case. A rider report is missing here.
  • + 4
 @Boardlife69: There's a start list literally ONE article down.
  • + 3
 @smokingtires: which literally came out after my comment.
  • + 4
 The "epic view" photo showing Iago Garay ( is weird: he's in the air, while on another photo shot from the same location it seems (mind the tree branches) Jesse is only a meter before Iago's spot but he's on his feet as if pedaling uphill: ...

I guess it's just the photo that flattened the terrain which is actually downhill, but the more I look at it the more weird it looks.
  • + 2
 Jesse also has a flat tyre
  • + 2
 Garay can whip it everywhere... everything... just put a camera infront of him. hahaha
  • + 3
 in that spot there's a bit of an uphill actually. I think Iago went a bit off trail to the left to hop and style it up.
  • + 3
 I've ridden that trail and @ismasan is correct, the trail starts to go up again. Jesse is on the proper trail, Iago is off the trail doing something weird.
  • + 1
 And why do I see no flat tire on Jesse's bike at that photo? Thanks to magical tire inserts? Or am I seriously gastrodemental ? :-)
  • + 2
 do i get that right...there is almost zero meters uphill - hence all will be shuttled? always thought part of enduro is cycling up as well...thanks for explanation
  • + 2
 This ( reminds me how Dave was robbed in 2017 contest. One of the best bikes photos ever on PB.
  • + 1
 Ah yes, the Burlington, Vermont photo
  • + 2
 I can't wait to go back to Madeira to ride again. The crew at Freeride Madeira are a rad bunch!
  • + 1
 @ridestuff yeah need to get back to Madeira, I only had one day riding with them. Crammed a lot of trails in to one day 40km, major arm pump. I’d like to go back and do a week but less intense as the end of the day seemed like we were all just trying to survive.
  • + 2
 When will Richie Rude be back in action?
  • + 1
  • + 2
 Do you get extra points for pooping off that cliff.
  • + 1
 Watch for that red dirt!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Day 2 looks nice, downhill grade for the whole ride!
  • + 2
 Tracks look incredible.
  • + 1
 is Ratboy racing or not?
  • + 1
 According to the entry list,no.
  • + 0
 FIAT124 Sport Spider

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