It's taken some time to get used to this new world of racing. All parties involved have had to be quick to adapt to rapidly changing rules regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Let's not be subtle in this case- yes, it's good to be back to racing, but to all parties involved it's been nerve-wracking. To say that we are sad it's come to an abrupt end for the EWS just as we felt we all might be hitting our stride in this brave new world we live in is an understatement. It's also a f*$king relief it's over.
The stresses of orchestrating all the parts of such a race are taxing in regular circumstances. Much less in the age of COVID. The EWS crew deserves a bow here. They worked their asses off for this. Was it perfect? No. Could it have been? Not a chance. They did the best they possibly could given the hand they were dealt and did it with grace and commitment to rider, staff, and community. To have had to make the call to pull the plug early on the final two rounds must have been heartbreaking, but it was a wise decision.
So here we are at the end of a really short season. Truth be told there was some spectacular racing. We could speculate on what would have happened if the series continued, but let's assume it would have ended knee-deep in snow at this point. Anyone watching the forecast in Austria will understand. Four stages in the fabled Finale Ligure awaited us this morning, and the sun was shining, even though yesterdays front brought some rather chilly temps behind it.
With Isabeau Courdurier out with torn ligaments in her ankle, the race came down to Morgane Charre and Melanie Pugin. Charre took stages one and two and the day was hers. Estelle Charles took her first podium in third place. It was all France for the top three women. Katy Winton came back to take fourth, and Anita Gehrig took fifth. In the Men's race, Jesse Melamed ran away with stage one and never looked back. The bombastic Canadian would finish the day with his second win of the season. Florian Nicolai would take second, and Theo Galy would take third.
Now as the temperatures cool down some of us will head on over to Austria for a bit of Whiteout Whip Offs, and whatever else this screwed up season throws at us. To be honest, maybe they should just make a snow DS course, put some screws through some mud spikes and then call it all good for 2020. Whatever they are smoking that makes them think this next bit of racing will all go off as planned, we wish they would share.