After last year's calamites with the weather here in Finale, it was nice for riders to head out for practice under clear, blue skies. The course is a monster this year, not one for the faint-hearted. Over the two days of racing, riders will tackle 50km per day and a total of 3,250m climbing. More than any year before, there is a huge variety in what the riders will be facing - from full-blown DH, to stages that wouldn't look too out of place on an XC race course, it's going to be a complete challenge for any mountain biker. While some may feel that one stage goes too far one way, or another, at the end of the day, whoever wins here is a real all-rounder. As such, this is a fitting climax to the season, the right place to let the dust finally settle on an incredible season of racing.

The hazy mornings have been burning off to fill the days with sunshine but all of that could change on Saturday as a storm is predicted to roll through.
The hazy mornings have been burning off to fill the days with sunshine but all of that could change on Saturday as a storm is predicted to roll through.

Ines Thoma grabbed her first podium of 2016 last time out - can she repeat that again this weekend
Ines Thoma grabbed her first podium of 2016 last time out. Can she repeat that again this weekend?

Nico Vouilloz showed he has what it takes to win in Valberg. Will this be the round it happens
Nico Vouilloz showed he has what it takes to win in Valberg. Will this be the round it happens?

Dan Wolfe is on the hunt this weekend to end his season on a high note.
Dan Wolfe is on the hunt this weekend to end his season on a high note.

Elliot Trabac is always a podium threat in the U21 race.
Elliot Trabac is always a podium threat in the U21 race.

Rene Wildhaber scandies his way through a hole in the wall.
Rene Wildhaber scandies his way through a hole in the wall.

One of Italy s top riders Vittorio Gambirasio on the hunt in practice.
One of Italy's top riders, Vittorio Gambirasio, on the hunt in practice.

Curtis Keene s strong mid-season results have put him in the top 10 overall with just one race to go.
Curtis Keene's strong mid-season results have put him in the top ten overall with just one race to go.

Jerome Clementz knows the smoothest line is the one in the air.
Jerome Clementz knows the smoothest line is the one in the air.

Cube s junior rider Daniel Schemmel asked Is it ok if I lift the front wheel Yes yes it is. You can make your own moto noises...
Cube's junior rider, Daniel Schemmel, asked "Is it ok if I lift the front wheel?" Yes, yes it is. You can make moto noises...

Martin Mae s has been flying in practice and that elusive first win is long overdue.
Martin Maes has been flying in practice and that elusive first win is long overdue.

Katy Winton hucking her way down stage three.
Katy Winton, hucking her way down stage three.

Jesse Melamed is riding with confidence and authority right now.
Jesse Melamed is riding with confidence and authority right now.

Hannah Barnes descends the rough old cobblestone road that makes up the final section of stage 1.
Hannah Barnes descends the rough old cobblestone road that makes up the final section of stage one.

This is one of the most physical races of the year can Casey Brown come out and smash it again
This is one of the most physical races of the year. Can Casey Brown smash it again?

Nico Lau tends to his much-grazed helmet after training.
Nico Lau tends to his much-grazed helmet after training.

Last rounds winner Sam Hill is riding a bit chilled out here in Finale. Perhaps keeping his cards a bit close to his chest before race day.
Last round's winner Sam Hill is riding a bit chilled here in Finale, perhaps keeping his cards a close to his chest before race day.

Mark Scott lays her flat on stage four.
Mark Scott lays her flat on stage four.

Not a bad way to starr the day eh
Not a bad way to start the day, eh?

World Cup regular Eliot Heap is once again trying his hand at the EWS.
World Cup regular Eliot Heap is once again trying his hand at the EWS.

Happy Birthday Iago thanks for putting some style in everyones day.
Happy Birthday Iago, thanks for putting some style in everyone's day.

Florian Nicolai may still be the number one Rocky rider in the series rankings but he hasn t been the fastest man on his team in a few races and will want to set that straight in a race less than two hours from his front door.
Florian Nicolai may still be the number one Rocky rider in the series rankings, but he hasn't been the fastest man on his team in a few races, and will want to set that straight in a race that is less than two hours from his front door.

Josh Carlson smashed the boulder in the background hard enough to rip it clean out of the ground. Somehow he also managed to ride the whole thing out.
Josh Carlson smashed the boulder in the background hard enough to rip it clean out of the ground. Somehow. he also managed to ride the whole thing out.

Jerome Clementz speeding through the gully on stage four.
Jerome Clementz speeding through the gully on stage four.

Jesse Melamed is leaving a trail of destruction everywhere he rides right now.
Jesse Melamed is leaving a trail of destruction everywhere he rides right now.

Jared Graves rails a berm through one of the more unique sections of stage 3.
Jared Graves rails a berm through one of the more unique sections of stage three.

The top of stage five looked a touch like Hecklers Rock today. Everybody kept their shirts on no beers were thrown.
The top of stage five looked a touch like Hecklers Rock today. Everybody kept their shirts on, no beers were thrown.

This weekend marks Kelli Emmett s final weekend as a full-time racer.
This weekend marks Kelli Emmett's last as a full-time racer.

Anneke Beerten is healthy one again and looking to battle it out once again with Cecile and Isabeau.
Anneke Beerten is healthy, and looking to battle it out once again with Cecile and Isabeau.

Cody Kelly drops into the spine on stage five.
Cody Kelly drops into the spine on stage five.

Miranda Miller is on board a shiny new 2017 Enduro this weekend and is looking faster for it.
Miranda Miller is on board a shiny, new 2017 Enduro this weekend and is looking faster for it.

Nico Vouilloz is on form right now and his past results in Finale mean he is definitely a threat for the win this weekend.
Nico Vouilloz is on form right now and his past results in Finale mean he is definitely a threat for the win.

Hannah Barnes having no troubles on the ridge of stage five. Those whites stayed crispy clean.
Hannah Barnes having no troubles on the ridge of stage five. Those whites stayed crispy clean.

Early morning light courtesy of stage four.
Early morning light, courtesy of stage four.

Birthday boy Iago Garay takes the high line to straighten out the natural chicane halfway down stage 4.
Birthday boy Iago Garay takes the high line to straighten out the natural chicane halfway down stage four.

Joe Barnes weaving his way to the sea.
Joe Barnes weaving his way to the sea.

Damien Oton was on the hunt through the flowing rivers of perfect dirt at the head of stage four.
Damien Oton was on the hunt through the flowing rivers of perfect dirt at the head of the fourth stage.

Cody Kelley arcs it through the work of art that is stage 4.
Cody Kelley arcs it through the work of art that is stage four.

Martin Maes finding the mega huck on top of stge seven.
Martin Maes finding the mega huck on top of stage seven.

Greg Callaghan had a good showing last time in Valberg and is looking to consolidate his top ten ranking this weekend.
Greg Callaghan had a good showing last time in Valberg and is looking to consolidate his top ten ranking this weekend.

Isabeau Courdurier is only here for one thing this weekend to seal second in the championship to upgrade her jersey for next year.
Isabeau Courdurier is only here for one thing this weekend: to seal second in the championship and upgrade her jersey for next year.

Sam Hill threads it through a rock and a hard place on the freshly cut ridge of stage 5.
Sam Hill threads it through a rock and a hard place on the freshly cut ridge of stage five.

Toni Ferreiro scrubs throws a bit o style into the day.
Toni Ferreiro scrubs throws a bit o' style into the day.

Riders pause for food and water between stages six and seven.
Riders pause for food and water between stages six and seven.

Theo Galy heads to the sea on what will be the final stage of the weekend and the 2016 season.
Theo Galy heads to the sea on what will be the final stage of the weekend and the 2016 season.

Richie Rude may not need a big result this weekend to take the title but he looks all-out in practice so far this week.
Richie Rude may not need a big result this weekend to take the title, but he looks all-out in practice so far.

Flying Flo sliding through the loose corners on stage seven.
Flying Flo sliding through the loose corners on stage seven.

Just two more days left before the sun sets on the 2016 season for good.
Just two more days left before the sun sets on the 2016 season.

Finale Ligure mountain biking trails

MENTIONS: @mattwragg / @davetrump / @mdelorme




71 Comments

  • + 55
 Anybody else have a hard time going back and riding their local trails after seeing these galleries?? It's like a golf fan going to Augusta and playing next week on his local municipal course....
  • + 3
 Me.
  • + 21
 No my trails are rad
  • + 48
 WHAT is golf?
  • + 13
 @cjohnson7391 Idk how many in the pink bike community can relate to a golfing analogy. And No, i just get more amped to ride
  • + 2
 All the more reason to go explore and find a new hidden gem near you !
  • + 3
 Can't say that looking at rad pictures makes me want to stay inside. But the rain outside my window does...
  • + 2
 @cjohnson7391 --As a Georgia transplant now living in Colorado...I love the Augusta analogy! We have some pretty sweet terrain here in Colorado though..
  • + 1
 Yeah????
  • + 1
 ^^ :-/
  • + 3
 Golf aint that a Car a VW right ....
  • + 3
 I started appreciating my local trails a lot more after riding Ligure this summer. It was amazing, best ridrs of my life, but there is some pleasure when riding a trail you know like the back of your hand.
  • + 1
 @dragonaut: did you ride with Finale Freeride? I was there this summer too. It was amazing.
  • + 1
 @sicmoto: nope, went solo, a fried went on the roller coaster. I rode mostly on la Briga, and local trails, once on Caprazoppa, and on san Bernando.

Slied my rear tyre few days before the end so spent the rest chilling.

Great little town, totally fell in love with it. But def I needed a full sus, doing those trails on a steel hardtail is punishing and rewarding.
  • + 30
 More bike checks please! Thanks for the great coverage PB!
  • + 20
 Any bets Graves will get a puncture?
  • + 1
 Hes got ghetto tubeless in one pic... he will be fine.
  • + 3
 @Thustlewhumber: he flatted ghetto tubeless at one round already
  • + 5
 I hate see such great rider's tyres getting slaughtered or butchered on the grid like that. He should maybe get a permission from Spec to go double down...
  • - 2
 While we are at it can we get Fox to change a certain riders fork lowers? They look rather Rude to be honest...
  • + 11
 That picture of Melamed is ridiculous! Steeeeez
  • + 9
 i think minaar's callin rider's out. he and peaty goin real enduro. blind. should be good.
  • - 2
 For sure he is. A bunch if cheaters!
  • + 7
 @whattheheel: there is a time and a place for blind races but the EWS isn't it. Liability reasons for one but let's not get into all that .

Minnaar didn't have a great result in Finale the last time he raced despite practicing and this year he seems to be doing it just for fun. so perhaps he's just making excuses for the performance we will see this weekend ahead if time so no one judges him to harshly.

There were two days of practice for everyone and 4 of the stages were new/fresh and not ridden by people who train in Finale.

It's one of the more popular riding destinations due to the number of trails that can be shuttled year round and a lot of European pros train here. Just like Whistler and Morzine it sees a ton of rider traffic so yes some trails have been ridden or even raced in previous rounds of EWS. But that doesn't make it cheating just because the venue uses the long standing training grounds of a few people.

I wish Greg the best in the race but would have been nice if he'd done his thing quietly and not tried to make a controversy out of it by stirring the pot over a moot point.
  • + 0
 @davetrump - C'm on, it's just as good as Sam Hill saying 29ers are gay. Humans progressed as species to the point where we can admit to ourselves that every single person has certain amount of crap inside and if it doesn't show it doesn't mean he's a more decent person than the dude who tweets with his arse. To me it is the fake social outrage when tweets like these happen.
  • + 0
 @davetrump: Especially given that Greg himself showed up weeks early for the Fort William world cup to spend time doing testing with Fox on the track ahead of the race circus arriving. Pot, kettle.
  • + 3
 @neiltheweak: pointless talk, everybody who's been to pits during the world cup, knows that Syndicate pit is like a golf club and Peaty and Greg bounce around a lot and are humble for the camera. I have no clue how has Ratboy ever fit in there. I don't care, they aren't my neighbors, they don't date my daughter. Good on them.
  • + 3
 Casey frickin Brown is BACK! 3200 meters climbing! The pics rock and the racing has not even started. Could this be Jesse Malamed's first event win???
  • + 2
 A little hyped are we ?! I'm with you. I hope they smoke em!
  • + 5
 I see as much style and radness here by many riders as a dh worl cup...
  • + 4
 Seriously,...look at all the style and great pics capturing it here!
  • + 4
 Great pics and such amazing terrain. This set makes me want to go there and ride! Such a rad destination.
  • + 5
 where is such ride?
  • + 8
 I meant where is rich rude? Stupid autocorrect.
  • + 3
 If riding ebikes mean we get this many awesome photos then good on ya boys! Haters gonna hate.
  • + 3
 Is Jesse Melamed riding a Plus Recon rear tire??? Looks like it in both pics!
  • + 3
 Anyone else instantly lock eyes on Vittorio Gambirasio's pie plate? At least he managed to remove the reflectors..
  • + 1
 Now that you mention it I can't unsee it...thanks for that! haha
  • + 1
 Didn't understand, urban dictionary-ed it. Still don't understand.

www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pie+plate
  • + 2
 @el-nombre: The plastic frisbee thing that keeps incompetently adjusted derailleurs out of your spokes / the first thing you remove when unboxing a new bike.
  • + 2
 I refuse to enjoy any of these tainted pictures due to the use of ebikes to get them!
  • + 3
 Sweet photos. Now I just need some bike checks to keep my demons up.
  • + 2
 Would've loved to see some Minnaar action, even tough he's not racing EWS full time. Peaty is there too!
  • + 3
 why does jesse do not ride the new slayer ?
  • + 9
 I saw somewhere that he wanted to stick with what was familiar until the end of the season. He's on an absolute tear at the moment so I wouldn't be changing anything up either! The Altitude is also a little bit lighter than the new Slayer but I don't know if that plays a part.
  • + 1
 @greg1: makes sense, thx for the information
  • + 4
 Never change anything on race day.
  • + 2
 Any ideas why Jared isn't on the new Enduro for this race?
He's on a Stumpjumper, guess it suits the course better?
  • + 1
 Is he riding the 2.6 tires? Any other racers on the plus(-) size?
  • + 4
 @TerrapinBen: I didn't even look and I can tell you that's a no. Here's the simplest answer - You run the fastest tires you can get away with. When most of the field is running ~2.3, saving the full DH tires for DH, no one is going to be riding anything plus/plus(-)/slow(kindafast)/etc

*to qualify, no one is going to do that without a fat bonus check from their sponsors marketing department. Cuz it ain't faster.
  • + 4
 @trialsracer:

If you did look, you may have found this.
www.pinkbike.com/news/ews-race-tech-jared-graves-new-specialized-tires.html

Maybe he will, maybe he won't but it's certainly not out of the question
  • + 1
 I believe he rode the Stump at all the events
  • + 1
 Was going to say the same thing, he rode the stumpy last round as well. I thought the bike S would be pushing him to ride the new bike.
  • + 2
 @trialsracer: Got a local guy that races his 2015 Enduro in the NW Cup and is a full 10 seconds faster per mile on a Stumpy 6Fattie. He is actually pretty pissed about it.
  • + 3
 Rich rude...
  • + 2
 Not one pic of the EWS leader.. I wish they would give more specific stats on the outcome of this race. Such as: Whats the lowest Rude can place and still take the number one spot.
  • + 6
 @dwmetalfab: third to last one is him.
  • + 2
 @wsor1337: I see that now! How did I miss those bright orange forks?..
  • + 2
 Looks like he's running 180mm of travel..
  • + 4
 @dwmetalfab: Clementz or Oton has to win and Rude has to finish below 37th I read somewhere
  • + 1
 Can't wait, we arrive in Finale on Wednesday, ready to ride on Thursday :-)
  • + 1
 Cody Kelly on a 29er? Or is it just me eyes playing tricks on me.
  • + 1
 I thought he's been riding the 5.5 a fair amount this season, right?
  • + 1
 What bike is in the first picture?
  • + 1
 looks german
  • + 1
 Nice lockout, or electronics on Nico's Vivid coil!
  • + 1
 Melamed looks fast and loose!
  • + 1
 Looks awesome
  • + 0
 Absolutely Sick Pix! Thanks Guys!

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