As Martin Maes piloted it safely down the final, treacherous stage of the race, there was a collective sigh of relief from many. Through the sharp rocks of Men's DH he kept it tied and rolled down in 33rd. By then he had such a big lead that he just needed to make it through safely. Martin has been on the circuit so long that it is easy to forget that he is still only 19 years old. His victory this weekend is all the more impressive when you put his career into perspective.

At 15 years old he rolled up to Enduro of Nations in Sauze D'Oulx and embarrassed most of the senior field - he finished in fifth, if memory serves, against the world's best enduro racers at the time. That performance brought him to the attention of the Athertons and he was signed that winter to one of the biggest racing teams in the world. With that contract came expectation. He was the child phenom, expected to go on a win races. At just 16 it must have felt like the whole world was watching, waiting... Imagine growing up with all that pressure to perform. It is the kind of pressure that has broken more than a few promising riders, but not Martin. Throughout he has shown speed, then this year he added to consistency to that, until an injury at the Fort William put him on the sidelines for the mid-part of the season. His victory here in Finale Ligure is simply the jewel on an already impressive season. Those of us who follow the series have seen him grow up in front us and this weekend was a coming of age for him, although we need to be reminded every so often how young he still is.

There was also the matter of Richie Rude wrapping up his second consecutive title this weekend in fine fashion. He needed 36th to secure his title, he did his usual trick of over-delivering to fight his way up to second on Sunday, putting himself head and shoulder clear of the competition. And while we may harp on about how young Martin is, Richie is only a couple of years older too. Nico Lau rounded out the podium for the weekend - the old man of the group at a stately 27 years old...

In the women's race, Cecile Ravanel was once more supreme, chased by Isabeau Courdurier in second. Anita Gehrig tied up her third spot in the championship with a third here in Finale. In the under-21 race, Adrien Dailly was supreme and Seb Claquin had a tough weekend. While Dailly won every stage, Claquin struggled to find his pace and finished the weekend frustrated and off the podium. Fortunately for Claquin, his second in the championship was already safely tied up and it is going to be interesting to see how the pair fare in the senior competition next year.

Bruised and battered Jared Graves still had a positive outlook on this today and is already fired up about 2017.
Bruised and battered, Jared Graves still had a positive outlook on this today and is already fired up about 2017.

This week went better for some worse for others.
This week went better for some, worse for others.




// UNDER 21 RACE

Valentin Escriou couldn t hold his pace from day one watching third slip from his grasp.
Valentin Escriou couldn't hold his pace from day one, watching third slip from his grasp.

6th today for youngster Elliot Heap in U21.
6th today for youngster Elliot Heap in U21.

Sebastien Claquin Generally had a good weekend with many three top five and two top ten stages. Today stage sixth got the better of him and he took 33rd. Seb took 7th in theoverall.
Sebastien Claquin Generally had a good weekend, finishing every stage in the top ten.... until stage six, where he plummeted to 33th place - still good enough to earn seventh overall.

Adrien Dailly added another win to his impressive resume en route to the overall U21 championship.
Adrien Dailly added another win to his impressive resume en route to the overall U21 championship.




// WOMEN'S RACE

Casey Brown couldn t quite hold her pace from day one dropping back to 6th.
Casey Brown couldn't quite hold her pace from day one, dropping back to sixth.

Anka Martin raced her finale EWS today in Finale Ligure and while she will still be very active in the MTB community it sounds like her days of racing are coming to an end. Bravo Anka.
Anka Martin raced her final EWS today in Finale Ligure, and while she will still be very active in the MTB community it sounds like her days of racing are coming to an end. Bravo Anka.

Miranda Miller took her first top five EWS finish here in Finale.
Miranda Miller took her first top five EWS finish here in Finale.

Anita Gehrig had a very strong second day and took third place.
Anita Gehrig had a very strong second day and took third place.

Isabeau Courdurier attacked the rocks on the final stage and would finish 2nd on the weekend.
Isabeau Courdurier attacked the rocks on the final stage, and would finish second for the weekend.

Cecile Ravanel was on fine form this weekend looking more aggresisve through the nasty rocks on stage seven than most of the male field.
Cecile Ravanel was on fine form, looking more aggressive through the nasty rocks on stage seven than most of the male field.




// MEN'S RACE

After a strong showing on Saturday Nico would crash twice to start the second day and eventually was forced to retire from the race. Rumor has it this may have also been one of his final EWS races as well.
After a strong showing on Saturday, Nico would crash twice to start the second day and eventually was forced to retire from the race. Rumor has it this may have also been one of his final EWS races as well.

Sam Hill rode to tenth this weekend - keeping his 100 record for top tens at the EWS.
Sam Hill rode to tenth this weekend - keeping his 100% record for top tens at the EWS.

McKay Vezina took a huge slam and was limping around this morning in a lot of pain. Impressively he toughed it out to finish 21st to end a stellar rookie season.
McKay Vezina took a huge slam and was limping around this morning in a lot of pain. Impressively he toughed it out to finish 21st to end a stellar rookie season.

Jesse Melamed had a rollercoaster of a weekend the high point being stage where he took the win. He finished the weekend in 7th.
Jesse Melamed had a rollercoaster of a weekend, the high point being stage where he took the win. He finished the weekend in seventh.

Matti Lehikoinen kept his speed consistent on Sunday to end the day in 18th.
Matti Lehikoinen kept his speed consistent on Sunday to end the day in 18th.

Mark Scott stormed his way to a career-best fifth this weekend.
Mark Scott stormed his way to a career-best fifth overall.

Iago deals with a broken chain before heading out to stage five.
Iago deals with a broken chain before heading out to stage five.

Theo Galy took sixth place after what has been a stellar weekend. His best EWS result to date.
Theo Galy matched his best result of the season with a strong sixth-place finish.

Marco Osborne nailed ninth this weekend to finish his season on a high.
Marco Osborne nailed ninth this weekend to finish his season on a high.

Curtis Kenne had a tough weekend here in Finale and would unfortunately slip just outside the top 10 in the overall.
Curtis Keene had a tough weekend here in Finale and would unfortunately slip just outside the top ten in the overall.

The fans lined the hillside above Varigotti to cheer the riders on down stage 7. Photo - Brady Lawrence.
The fans lined the hillside above Varigotti to cheer the riders on down stage seven. Photo - Brady Lawrence.

The penultimate corner of the race. Photo - Brady Lawrence.
The penultimate corner of the race. Photo - Brady Lawrence.

Jerome Clementz was another rider who faded away on Sunday finding himself all the way back in twelfth by the end of the weekend.
Jerome Clementz was another rider who faded away on Sunday, finding himself all the way back in twelfth by the end of racing.

Damion Oton brought it back from yesterday to finish fourth.
Damion Oton brought it back from yesterday to finish fourth.

Nico Lau pushed hard to make up time today to grab the final spot on the podium.
Nico Lau pushed hard to make up time today to grab the final spot on the podium.

While yesterday Richie Rude was somewhat tentative while he waited to see how the championship fight would play out. When it was clear that Oton was not in the fight for the win he opened the taps today and was the fastest man over the day.
Yesterday, Richie Rude was somewhat tentative while he waited to see how the championship fight would play out. When it was clear that Oton was not in the fight for the win, he opened the taps and was the fastest man all day.

How else would you cool down after a 100km weekend on the bike
How else would you cool down after a 100km weekend on the bike?

Martin Maes rode out of his mind this weekend. he looked on tracked to take all the stages yesterday but he dialed it back and kept it in control for his first win today.
Martin Maes rode out of his mind this weekend. He looked on track to take all the stages yesterday, but he dialed it back in the final stages and kept it in control for his first-overall win.

He may just have won his first race but Martin Maes still had time to stop and help a fellow rider in a fix.
He may have won his first race, but Martin Maes still had time to stop and help a fellow rider in a fix.
There was a bit of a nervous wait for Martin and his mechanic team manager Mark while the final riders checked their times.
There was a bit of a nervous wait for Martin and Mark (his mechanic and team manager) while the final riders checked their times.

That smile says it all.
That smile says it all.

Martin Maes had some support with him this weekend.
Martin Maes had some support with him this weekend...
Martin had plenty of family and friends here to see his victory.
...Plenty of family and friends here to see his victory.

It s been a long time coming for this one.
It's been a long time coming for this one.




// SERIES WINNERS

When the PA went down during the podiums Enrico Guala went low-tech for the rest of the ceremony.
When the PA went down during the podiums, Enrico Guala went low-tech for the rest of the ceremony.

To the victors go the spoils.
To the victors go the spoils.

The fastest man on the EWS for the 2nd year in a row. While last year Richie was a bit of an unknown who had to come from behind to take the title this season he lead from start to finish and had established himself as the man to beat at every round.
The fastest man on the EWS for the second year in a row. While last year Richie was a bit of an unknown who had to come from behind to take the title, this season he led from start to finish and established himself as the man to beat at every round.

Richie s whole family and his adopted uncle with a busted ankle got the celebrations started prior to the podium ceremony.
Richie's whole family (and his adopted uncle with a busted ankle) got the celebrations started prior to the podium ceremony.

The relativeley small at least in terms of budget Rocky Mountain team showed the world how strong a team can be this year running away with the team title as their four senior men swapped top ten spots all year.
The relatively small (at least in terms of budget) Rocky Mountain team showed the world how strong they could be, running away with the team title as their four senior men swapped top-ten spots all year.

The top 3 in the U21 overall and the future stars of the EWS.
The top three in the U21 overall and the future stars of the EWS.

The fastest three ladies of the 2016 Enduro World Series.
The fastest three ladies of the 2016 Enduro World Series.

The top three men in the overall. Damien Oton Richie Rude and Jerome Clementz.
The top three men in the overall.

There we are - the 2016 season done and dusted. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we have
There we are - the 2016 season done and dusted. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we have!


MENTIONS: @mattwragg / @davetrump / @mdelorme / @EnduroWorldSeries




54 Comments

  • + 93
 Race winner: 19. Overall winner: 21
So much about enduro being the old man's DH.
  • + 17
 Nice try but nothing will sell Enduro to judgmental Pinkbike bros unless you put 20m gaps there and make racers do scrubs and backflips... perhaps backflips on uphill is something juicy...
  • + 2
 Yep, it aint, it may be where a few end up but it'll draw the talent by itself
  • + 10
 @WAKIdesigns: do you ever have a positive thing to suggest?
  • + 19
 @bikeguide: Get out and ride! I hope you enjoy it! Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin
  • + 7
 What I think is amazing is that Martin missed two races, but still finished 4th overall.
  • + 2
 Yes he have mega talent but big respect to Rude boy and Gwin taking the most important overall, what a year for US cycling. Much sacrifice and dedication to recognize. If we could get our female racers up to speed???? Great coverage and racing by all involved, thanks for a great season.
  • + 68
 The fact that the last two men's race winners and overall women's series winner were on aluminum frames, aluminum wheels, and 142x12 rear axles puts a smile on my face.
  • + 2
 that Sanction must be a good bike
  • + 48
 Graves celebrating with Rude! what a picture!
  • + 13
 @TZAK I was there yesterday at the presentation and Graves was that proud of and stoked for Richie that he was in tears. :-)
  • + 18
 Enduro looks to be all about fighting against yourself rather than fighting against competitors! Cool to see Graves and Rude being like brothers on this picture, two great athletes conveying a great image of our sport.
  • + 13
 Can't upvote this enough. Nightmare of a season for Graves but that's pure awesome that he and Rude still celebrate together!
  • + 1
 They going to be on the same team anyway.
  • + 27
 www.pinkbike.com/photo/14005866
the spirit of enduro right there...

looks like maes vs rude next year! Smile
  • + 15
 This enduro spirit is unique! Imagine Froome helping Condandor changing a tube...ha,ha,ha...or Nino helping Julien...triple ha,ha
  • + 3
 You are totally right, fantastic photo and etiquette, however if you watch Greg Minnaars 'live' video of the start of day 1 you will see the race official tell Greg that under no circumstances is any outside assistance allowed even if it's another rider, he said the same to my wife who raced it and 2 years ago he chucked Katy Kurd out of the race for accepting an inner tube off another rider. So whilst I am the upmost believer in sportsmanship and helping others it seems that some people get whacked by the rule and others are captured on photo helping someone and win the race. In my opinion they need to ditch this ruling sharpish and to my knowledge it's only enforced in the Finale round of the EWS.
  • + 2
 Actually it appears the race was over at his point, and Martin helped Jerome so that he could ride back to the pits, so race rules didn't apply. Yes this spirit exists but I don't Martin would take any risk of being disqualified in-race. As the sport is growing the competition is bound to become tougher and the stakes higher. So while this may appear as sad given the vibes in enduro, i think this is the kind of necessary rule to prevent contestations as much as possible ( "he won the stage but I gave him a tube so he doesn't deserve to win blah blah blah") . But yes this kind of sportsmanship has to be preserved.
In a greater extend the same kind of issue flared up in the Dakar and one can see how difficult it was to find a balanced solution.
  • + 2
 @polarproton: I was there Polar, and the race doesn't finish until the final time check-in back in the town square. If you watch the Minnaar live video this is exactly what the official was saying about as he made a specific reference about other riders helping riders even if it's on the way back.

I am in total agreement with you here, I helped a rider yesterday in the same race that was rushed to hospital with a neck injury, my point is the rule is wrong, it should be taken out, or enforced for everybody. If I was Martin I would have done exactly the same.......
  • + 5
 @lee-jordan: I'd take a stab that the rule is in place to prevent teams racing a "mule" carrying all the spares you'd need with no intention of winning the race. You want to avoid any chance to exploit support riders.
  • + 15
 The new Slayer is absolute porn. :O
  • + 1
 Rad that they only release a new bike when it's 100 percent ready. Pure Hardcore Porn.
  • + 8
 Maes' mechanic's helmet has a Duvel sticker on it, Full Belgian, super stocked for GT
  • + 5
 Mark, the GT team manager is indeed also Belgian, and a true Duvel fan Smile
  • + 2
 Should have been a Maes sticker though
  • + 8
 So that makes 3 years running of the mens champ being aboard a yeti, doesn't it?
  • + 2
 yes sir. I wonder how many carbon frames that translated into.....
  • + 6
 The EWS and the WC make life better. So fun to watch the best riders in the world battle it out every couple of weeks. Can't wait for the coming year!
  • + 2
 has anybody seen the cleats on richie rudes shoes? i wouldn't think of riding them nearby the centre of my foot. maybe i'll have to give it a try - when this is his secret. haha

www.pinkbike.com/photo/14004317
  • + 3
 Fabian Barel, and others, say riding on flats, near the middle of your foot is better and allows you to let you drop your ankles and not be ‘standing’ all the time when it’s under the ball of your feet. Moving the cleats back may help with that. Wouldn’t be surprised if some companies start making cleats farther and farther back possible with their shoes.
  • + 4
 shimano has been doing this a couple of years already and they aren't a trend setter. When the introduced the M200 Enduro shoe a couple years back that was one of the "features". I imagine that you're right, the cleat position may move even farther aft in the future.
  • + 1
 The whole backset cleat idea isn't a new one, its been on the 2FO shoes since they came out and was on the VXi Clips before that...
  • + 2
 I ride like with similar cleat position on my Fiveten Impacts. It adds a lot of stability and allows greater pedaling power. Definitely try it out. Also, if your pedal has large platform, it will add even more stability and control. I felt a big difference switching from Crankbrothers Candy to Acid.
  • + 2
 Running your cleats slammed all the way back is #enduro. Has been for a while now.
  • + 1
 Definitely @benpinnick ! You don't #broduro if you don't slam the cleats back! #endurobro
  • + 3
 Is this a banana in Martin Maes' shorts or is he just really happy to have won the race ?
  • + 3
 I miss that already, the off season gonna be too long! Amazing pictures as usual!!!
  • + 2
 I see Mark Scott rockin' on a SC Hightower. Does the bike check find many 29ers out there now?
  • + 2
 Top three overall photo. Richie says no smiling allowed! Love it!
  • + 2
 Definitely rocking the hover hands.
  • + 1
 Where is the eBike recap?cuz, that's what I want to know anout...the REAL Mtn biking segment.
  • + 2
 Congratulation all the beautiful season !!!!!
  • + 2
 Now - on to Rampage coverage please!!
  • + 2
 Still photographs sure can capture the moment..
  • + 0
 does it count as world championship if the race only held in European countries?

how bout asia?
  • + 1
 Because they raced South and North America too perhaps?

I do get your point but the organisers have made a direct attempt at keeping costs reasonable for teams. How many racers could afford to race every race of they were across all the continents? There is also the fact that the vast majority of fans and teams are based in North America and Europe. I do agree that an Asian race could be incredible though - perhaps it will happen sooner rather than later?
  • + 1
 There is a race scheduled in Tasmania next year. They are trying to expand the series, but it will take time.
  • + 1
 @slimboyjim: well, its logistically challenged..maybe the EWS series committee could link up with someone in the asia region to create something? maybe sharing the knowledge of what is endure racing because in asia, its mostly Downhill event...even the endure racing somehow following the DH format
  • + 2
 Bibendum needs a beer
  • + 1
 Perhaps in the himalaya??? Long distance enduro!
  • + 1
 and the frenchies nailed it once again !
  • + 1
 I want that SRAM hat!
  • + 2
 Went back to find the hat. I agree.
  • + 0
 were is canyon factory

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