After two days of training, race expectations were high at the first stop of the EWS European Series in Macanet de Cabrenys, Spain. With perfect weather and the right amount of rain, a couple of days before the event the trails were in mint condition. Racing started at 8am with the eBikes category, followed by the women and then all the men and their different categories. Riders started in couples and had a bit more than 1h to get to the start of the first stage. Long climb ahead, with some big ramps, that many opted just to walk and save energy for the descent. Riders departed each 30sec, more than enough time to ride comfortably at least until the faster ones caught up.
Robin Wallner had a slow start, grabbing second after Italian Mirco Vendemmia and third came local Guillem Sanz. The first stage was split in two by a demanding long pedaling section on a fire road. The first bit of the stage was a nonstop mix of switchbacks, natural berms and loamy terrain, followed by a second section where gnarly and rocky were the best words to describe it. Some big crashes here, with punctures and smashed rear derailleurs. Liason to the second stage was long with limited time to get to the start, so riders couldn´t stop much time on the feed station on their way up. The second stage was the Queen stage, freshly open for the race, with the sketchiest section with boulders and rock garden to navigate. Riders really enjoyed it and as more and more went down the terrain was even better, with clear lines for everyone to follow.
From the second stage to third there was a bit of hike-a-bike included to get to the fire road and up to the third stage. From that point on, stages four and five were almost one after the other, with a small quick liason in between, so once the riders got to the start of third, they were happy no more climbing needed to be done, at least as part of liaisons. The third stage, fast and fun, physical with a lot of pedaling to keep the momentum over the rocks and loamy conditions, no big drops or step sections so all was on riders legs. Now the fourth stage was a different kind of monster, longest stage of the day, with top, medium and lower sections different from one each other. On the top, rocky, loose, dusty alpine like terrain, followed by a fast tricky exposed trail in between the trees and final section a bike park like with carefully manicured jumps, doubles, drops and berms, perfecto to finish a good day of riding. Stage fifth was just a mere 800m long to get the riders to the paddock.
Next race of the European series is in Innerleithen, South of Scotland 19 of May, part of the POC Scottish Enduro Series.
Stage three and four were the gnarliest ones with some big boulders and rockgardens to overtake, Caro and Anit sending it without hesitation
1st.ROBIN WALLNER — 00:22:49
2nd. MIRCO VENDEMMIA — 00:23:08
3rd. GUILLEM SANZ CASADEVALL — 00:23:12
4th.ZAKARIAS JOHANSEN — 00:23:13
5th. MiLAN MYŠIK — 00:23:16
1st. ANITA GEHRIG — 00:28:03
2nd. CARO GEHRIG — 00:28:31
3rd. MARKETA MICHALKOVA — 00:37:26
4th.MARTA ZANON RUBIO — 00:37:53
5th. HANNA SOINILA — 00:42:48