The traditional EWS final in Finale is nearly upon us. To top what has been an incredible season of racing, riders are faced with four stages in one day, starting at Border Line, to Rocche Gianche, to Mao Crest, and finishing up on the 3km double-black diamond DH Men track. Expect the unexpected here in the sleepy Italian coastal town of Finale Ligure; the sum of their efforts from the training in the off season to the seven races prior to this one comes to a conclusion. Time to go full out flat out… time for EWS Finale Ligure.
What Happened At The Last Round
Seven mighty stages in scorching temperatures in Spain presented us with a fantastic weekend of racing in the penultimate round of the EWS. The rain stayed away but it meant the tracks were dry and the dirt was loose, with stages claiming a number of victims along the way.
In the Pro Women’s race, Cecile Ravanel won five of the seven stages to take the overall, and Isabeau Courdurier claimed a small victory by taking the final two stages of the two-day event, slotting into an all too familiar second place. It was Andreane Lanthier Nadeau who finished the race in third behind Ravanel and Courdurier, with the icing on the cake for ‘ALN’ being the victor in the urban prologue race on the afternoon of the Friday.
In the Pro Men’s race, Richie Rude reigned supreme and looked to have not made a mistake throughout the event. He completed the first day of racing with 12 seconds to spare over second-placed finisher Martin Maes. Maes would put in a good fight come Sunday and managed to win two of the three stages that day, however he wasn’t able to pull back such a margin of a time Rude had created. Rude would take the win by eight seconds, making it his second win of the 2018 EWS season. It would be Damien Oton who would complete the podium in third place.
Top five individual rider points are awarded as follows. A full rundown of points is available in the EWS Rulebook
• 1st = 500 points (Men) // 400 points (Women)
• 2nd = 450 points (Men) // 350 points (Women)
• 3rd = 420 points (Men) // 320 points (Women)
• 4th = 400 points (Men) // 300 points (Women)
• 5th = 390 points (Men) // 290 points (Women)
The Weather Forecast
“Damn you Richie Rude, you don’t make predicting winners easy, do you? As soon as I leave you off this list for a race you do that. For this weekend I will go with the form and put my chips on him to take back-to-back wins, if for no better reason than I really want to see a four-way fight next year between an in-form Rude, a healthy Dailly, Maes and Hill.
Grant Langston gave a great explanation of what Hill is facing at the end of this year’s US outdoor MX season - these guys spend so long learning to go flat out, that when you get these kind of once in a career moments when they have to ride slower than
Pinkbike's EWS Predictionator
they can to protect a lead, it messes with their heads. Imagine riding with "don’t crash" looping in your head, I’m pretty sure I would end up in the first ditch. Hill only needs 10 points to secure the title, 89th, which for him is basically not crashing and I don’t think anyone doubts that will manage that, but it’s worth keeping this perspective in mind that no matter what his final spot on Sunday, there is a lot more that will go into his ride this weekend than we will see on the surface.
As for the rest of the podium this weekend, I think Oton and Maes are solid bets. They took second and third in Ainsa and have both won this race (Maes '16, Oton '17), so form is definitely on their side. I reckon when it comes down to it, the young Belgian will have the speed to hold off the Catalan Eagle.
My math was out last time and it turns out Cecile still needs 50 points from Finale to wrap up the title. I think we are at a point where the points awarded should be re-considered. Don’t get me wrong, Courdurier has had an impressive season, but she has consistently been second to Ravanel. The way things break down, if Cecile were to DNF, then Isabeau would take the title, if she won, and that somehow doesn’t seem like a great way to win a world title. If you win 7 out of 8 rounds, you should probably get the title. However, with the title still on the line, I would expect Ravanel and Courdurier to carry on with business as usual, taking the first and second spots. I actually think the more interesting betting is on Ravanel and what she plans to do next year. After all, she is the same age as Minnaar, but, much like him, she is showing little sign of slowing down and the question is not whether she is going to take up a comfy chair and relax, but if she wins three titles is she going to focus on a new challenge, like World Cup DH and Crankworx events.
For the third step of the women’s podium, I think we will see a battle between Katy Winton who is trying to hold onto third in the series, Noga Korem, Anita Gehrig and Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau, who will all be looking for a strong finish to the year. If I had to call it, I think Korem and Gehrig are not quite consistent with their pace, Winton seems to have peaked at the beginning of the season, but Lanthier-Nadeau seems to be on a rising tide, with ever-improving results since her return from injury and the confidence of a podium one week earlier.”
1 // Richie RUDE
2 // Martin MAES
3 // Damien OTON
1 // Cecile RAVANEL
2 // Isabeau COURDURIUR
3 // Andreane LANTHIER-NADEAU
What Happened Here Last Time Round?
Last year’s race was down to the wire and there was a huge turn out of riders - 500 in total - who raced over 100km in two days, ending their challenge at the lapping blue shore of Finale’s Mediterranean beachfront.
In the Pro Women’s race, Cecile Ravanel would lay down an impressive performance, taking the podium as well as the championship title. Meanwhile, Isabeau Courdurier and Katy Winton would battle it out throughout the weekend, with Courdurier eventually prevailing over Winton, taking the second podium spot, with Winton in third.
In the Pro Men’s, everyone was closely watching how the final day would pan out as it was neck and neck between Sam Hill and Adrien Dailly. It would be a mere few seconds between them in the final stage on the second day, and the Australian and DH legend would make his mark on the world of enduro by securing enough time that would slot him into third and take the overall EWS world championship win. Meanwhile, it was Damien Oton who flew to the top step, followed by Martin Maes in second spot.
Previous Winners In Finale Ligure
2017 // Damien OTON // FRA
2016 // Martin MAES // BEL
2015 // Jared GRAVES // AUS
2014 // Fabien BAREL // FRA
2013 // Jerome CLEMENTZ // FRA
2017 // Cecile RAVANEL // FRA
2016 // Cecile RAVANEL // FRA
2015 // Tracy MOSELEY // GBR
2014 // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA
2013 // Tracy MOSELEY // GBR
Must Know, Must See, Must Do
Finale Ligure is one of several coastal towns in the Gulf of Genoa in Liguria, north-western Italy. The town itself is nestled at the base of a steep limestone mountain on the famous Italian Riviera. Beaches, open-air dining, and picture-postcard views welcome tourists from around the world throughout the year thanks to its warm Mediterranean climate.
Finale Ligure is divided into a number of districts, each with its own notable features, from the palm tree-lined seaside promenade, to the narrow streets of the old walled Medieval town. Further up on the slopes overlooking the sea, you’ll find a plateau of cultivated and partly-cultivated land; a juxtaposition of where nature’s forests meets man’s mechanical hand, the latter of which traces a history back to Roman and Medieval times.
Archeological evidence points to us humans being around what is now Finale Ligure as far back as the Neolithic times, and then the Romans made their mark and it’s believed the area marked the border between two Ligurian tribes; the Intermelii and the Sabatii. The Romans built up ports and fortifications in the area to protect this soft underbelly of the coastline against invaders coming in from the sea.
The 10th century saw the first recording of Finale Ligure as a town and during the subsequent few hundred years it was ruled by different powerful families, and it would be under Spanish rule by the beginning of the 17th century. The Finale area was subsumed into the Kingdom of Sardinia in the early 19th century and in fact at the time was made up of several small communes, and through the passage of time, there would be just three left.
Among the various mountain bike trails and rock climbing routes, there’s plenty of history to hunt out, including several castles, forts (Castel San Giovanni, Castel Gavone), and churches (Church of Santa Maria di Pia, Basilica of St. John the Baptist), all with fragments of heritage on show, such as 13th century bell towers or 12th century crypts).
The ScheduleFriday 28 September
• 08:00-11:00 // Training - Stage 1
• 09:30-13:00 // Training - Stage 2
• 11:00-14:30 // Training - Stage 3
• 12:00-16:00 // Training - Stage 4Saturday 29 September
• No main EWS events scheduled Sunday 30 September
• 07:30-17:30 // Race - Stages 1-4
• TBC // Pasta Party
• TBC // Awards
• TBC // Closing Party
It’s one last grab to get that killer shot for our team of photographers and videographers covering the Enduro World Series for this year. For all the latest news, including results and stories from the mountainside, keep your eyes peeled on Pinkbike over the weekend.
You can also catch the all the riders’ times as they progress through the stages on both days via the EWS live timing feature