The EWS season has been highly fought round after round with rivalries forming and pressure to grab as many points as possible with just a few rounds remaining. In keeping with that theme, round seven in Crans-Montana did not disappoint and proved to be as intense as they come.
In the men’s competition series leader Jack Moir’s race was thrown into disarray right out the gate when a crash on the Pro Stage left him with a shoulder injury severe enough to raise the question as to whether he would even attempt Sunday’s stages. Adding insult to injury his main rival for the overall Richie Rude threw down the fastest time to start things off and walked away with the Pro Stage win, and with it a little extra confidence going into Sunday.
Rude started Sunday’s stages with a three-second lead over new second-place rival Jesse Melamed and it was a theme that continued throughout the day rather than the usual Rude v. Moir battle we have seen at all previous rounds. Rude led the race from start to finish to win in convincing style. While Melamed’s consistency, finishing four out of the five stages in the top three, was rewarded with second place. Martin Maes was back on form and the podium, rounding out the top three. Moir would savage his weekend the best he could to finish the race in a very respectable tenth place. But not enough to hold the series lead which goes back to Rude with just two rounds remaining.
It was a similar story in the women’s category as series leader Melanie Pugin controlled the race from the start. A convincing win on the Pro Stage was backed up with consistent top-three stage results, seeing her finish the race with a commanding ten-second lead. Morgane Charre won the last two stages of the day to land her in second place, while Noga Korem rebounded from a disappointing Pro Stage to mount a comeback for 3rd spot and a trip to the podium.
There is no rest for the weary or the injured as the series now heads straight to Italy for round 8 in the iconic venue of Finale Ligure.
Curious, is there someplace to watch EWS races? I’d be stoked to watch some of these stages live.