Pinkbike Primer: Everything You Need to Know Ahead of EWS Pietra Ligure 2020

Sep 17, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

And just like that, the end of the EWS season is in sight. Pietra Ligure will be the penultimate round of this year's race series with the traditional finale coming in Finale next weekend. Pietra Ligure stepped in at the last hour in August to provide another round for EWS fans and it makes its EWS debut this weekend.

As a new round on the calendar, it should be a level playing field for all riders across the field and with only one round to go after this and no World Championship at stake, we can expect riders going hell for leather to get as much as possible out of a truncated season.

The Venue


The EWS hasn't visited Pietra Ligure before but it might look pretty familiar to race fans as the town sits just 5km down Italy's Ligurian coast from Finale Ligure. It boasts the same beautiful Italian coastline, historical architecture, food, mountains and most importantly, friendly, easy-going Italians. Bolstered by its proximity to one of Europe's riding hotspots, the scene in Pietra has been growing steadily over the past few years and it has been a venue at the Superenduro series over the past 2 seasons.

Expect the same mix of tight, rocky, dusty trails with a dip in the sea and some gelato to finish the weekend off.

The Format and Stages


Pietra Ligure will be another one day race with 5 stages for riders to test themselves against. The course is 50km long with nearly 2,000m of climbing and descending across the day. This will all be done on the bike with shuttling allowed on the practice day on Friday but nothing on the Sunday race day.

Stage 1 1,8km, 329m descent

Stage 2 1,2km, 183m descent

Stage 3 (Queen Stage) 3,2km, 466m descent

Stage 4 1,2km, 225m descent

Stage 5 1,7km, 250m descent

Stage previews and maps are for racers only at the request of local authorities to deter spectators

The Weather

Friday, September 18
Partly sunny // 30°C // 6% probability of precipitation // wind 7km/h

Saturday, September 19
Variable cloudiness // 29°C // 18% probablility of precipitation // wind 7km/h

Sunday, September 20 - Finals
Periods of sun // 29°C // 25% probablilty of precipitation // wind 9km/h

Weather forecast as of Tuesday, September 15.

What Happened Last Round?

Elite Women

1st. Isabeau Courdurier: 17:21.62
2nd. Morgane Charre: 17:44.56
3rd. Ella Conolly: 18:13.95
4th. Anita Gehrig: 18:37.95
5th. Katy Winton: 18:38.04

Elite Men

1st. Jesse Melamed: 15:00.27
2nd. Martin Maes: 15:04.91
3rd. Theo Galy: 15:14.93
4th. Jack Moir: 15:16.05
5th. Jose Borges: 15:19.01

Pinkbike Predictions


Martin Maes has won here in the past and with the current form he is on it would be unlikely to see him finish any worse than second.

Martin Maes - I'm sticking with Maes again as my winning pick for round 2 after he finished just 4 seconds off the win in Zermatt. Maes has shown winning form on this coastline in the past and dragged an inexperienced Belgian team up to fifth in Finale at the Trophy of Nations last year. Maes has been racing in Liguria since he was 16 and will be able to draw on all of that experience this weekend at the new venue.

Jesse Melamed - With 3 weeks of racing already under his belt thanks to the Crankworx Summer Series, Jesse Melamed clearly came into the season with the best from and there's no reason he won't carry that through this weekend. Expect Jesse and Martin to battle it out again for the win this weekend.

Jack Moir - I think Jack Moir could be the surprise package this weekend as he continues his first full EWS season. With this being a new venue for all the racers, he won't be at a disadvantage to those who know the trails better. On top of that, the dusty, rocky conditions are likely to suit him far better than cold and wet of Zermatt, where he finished 4th.


Isabeau Courdurier won the first two stages of the day but would concede the time back to Ravanel by the end of the day.

Isabeau Courdurier - With Cecile Ravanel still not racing, it's hard to look past Isabeau Courdurier continuing her perfect streak in enduro racing. She's coming off an ankle injury and she has never won an EWS race in Italy, but she led France to a handsome comeback victory in the Trophy of Nations just down the coast last year.

Morgane Charre - Charre was the only woman to get close to Courdurier last time out in Zermatt as she finished second to her compatriot in both stages and was only seconds back at the finish line. These two women showed they are the pick of the field so far this season and will likely continue to be in Pietra.

Noga Korem - The Israeli rider had a nightmare in Zermatt after a malfunction had her off the bike and trying to fix her derailleur in the middle of the track in stage 1. She was able to regather herself in the tech area though and went on to grab third in the final stage. She'll be heading to Pietra with redemption on her mind and will be in with a great shot of a podium finish.

Author Info:
jamessmurthwaite avatar

Member since Nov 14, 2018
1,770 articles

  • 38 0
 I want 1 dollar for every time the word "gelato" is used in the coverage of the Italian EWS events.
  • 34 3
 It's called ice cream ffs. Talking about stereotyping countries... Anyway, Imma go eat some waffles...
  • 3 0
 @C1audio: wtf.. you guys are better than Wikipedia!!! :O
  • 2 0
 @LaurensVR: While both gelato and ice cream contain cream, milk and sugar, authentic gelato uses more milk and less cream than ice cream and generally doesn't use egg yolks, which are a common ingredient in ice cream. ... Meanwhile, Italian gelato includes only about 4 to 9 percent fat.
  • 2 1
 @endlessblockades: so gelato is light-icecream. got it chief!
  • 1 0
 @LaurensVR: You got it boss
  • 2 0
 @LaurensVR: Nope, not so fast. The biggest differentiator between gelato and ice cream is the amount of "overrun" - which is to say how much air they mix in to the final product. In other words, traditional gelato is denser than most ice cream. Yes, ice cream tends to have a higher fat content, but if you are eating bargain-brand ice cream w/ 100% overrun, it is 50% air, and thus the same sized portion of gelato will be more caloric, both in terms of sugar and fat content.
  • 3 0
 Noone in their sane mind would ever call Ligurians friendly and easy-going. Source: I'm Ligurian, we are very well known in Italy for how grumpy and unfriendly we are, especially with tourists. Probably you don't get it 'cause you don't understand Italian.
  • 1 0
 Friendly & easy going are relative. Compared to the neighboring Swiss and Austrians, or for that matter the English & Germans, all Italians are both easy going and friendly.
  • 6 0
 Is ALN back in action? Is there a starting list?
  • 1 0
 That's one of the things I need to know.
  • 3 0
 @vapidoscar: The start list isn't being published publically this round, we're assuming that will be the same next weekend too.
  • 2 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: thanks for letting me know. That will save me a lot of time that I planned to search later.
  • 43 0
 Yes she is and she is looking fast!
  • 1 1
 @murfio: if I had to guess, probably liability associated with contact tracing and covid.
  • 3 0
 My money is on Morgane Charre for the win! She just won the french "worlds" championships last week. She'll be surfing this success.
  • 4 0
 Morgane Charre also just beat Courdurier at the French Championship
  • 2 0
 Issabeau is nursing an ankle ligament issue, no?
  • 2 0
 Beautiful, natural trails! Looks like the better Finale, or what it used to be many years ago!
  • 1 0
 the dirt to rock ratio on that trail looks like it will make for outstanding sketchiness.
  • 1 0
 Even with a lot of riders not at the events there are enough top guys to keep things exciting.
  • 1 0
 That looks like a beautiful spot to race a bicycle
  • 2 0
 Hell for leather
  • 1 0
 Over 2000m descending... but the sum of those descents is only 1453
  • 1 1
 Sven's course preview will be all-time
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