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 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 descentStage 2
1,2km, 183m descentStage 3 (Queen Stage)
3,2km, 466m descentStage 4
1,2km, 225m descentStage 5
1,7km, 250m descentStage previews and maps are for racers only at the request of local authorities to deter spectators
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?
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
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 PredictionsMenMartin 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.WomenIsabeau 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.