Three riders, six stages, sixteen stage wins between them. This weekend Richie Rude, Cecile Ravanel and Adrien Dailly were superlative, utterly dominating the racing. But it wasn't just the riders that were nearly perfect, the race itself was a masterpiece, a reminder of everything that made so many of us fall in love with enduro in the first place. Long, technical stages on fresh cut tracks in one of the most stunning backdrops on any racing calendar.



One last glorious morning in the Alps above the Aosta Valley.
One last glorious morning in the Alps above the Aosta Valley.

Sitting top ten going into the final day Curtis Keen prepares to push it to the limit and gain a few more places.
Sitting top ten going into the final day, Curtis Keene prepares to push it to the limit and gain a few more places.

Lorraine Truong is still sidelined after her brain injury at Samoens this year but she wanted to come and watch this weekend. It is sobering to see how much this invisible injury has changed a once energetic and outgoing girl. She s still fighting to get back to where she once was but the road looks to be a long one for her.
Lorraine Truong is still sidelined after her brain injury at Samoens last year, but she wanted to come and watch this weekend. It is sobering to see how much this invisible injury has changed a once energetic and outgoing girl. She's still fighting to get back to where she once was, but the road looks to be a long one for her.

Chris Ball putting together some stats on stage one.
The EWS has been testing out some new technology from Quarq Race Intelligence, essentially real time GPS tracking of every rider to provide stats through out each stage

If you look closely you can see just how much speed Rude picked up on stage one.
If you look closely, you can see just how much speed Rude picked up on stage one, and who may have gained or lost time on the punchy climbs or steep tech sections throughout the day.

Issabeau Courdurier s SUNN polished up and awaiting a day of thrashing over three incredibly long stages.
Issabeau Courdurier's SUNN polished up and awaiting a day of thrashing over three incredibly long stages.

SRAM may have had one of their busiest race weekends ever. Cheers boys in keeping the racing going.
SRAM may have had one of their busiest race weekends ever. Cheers boys for keeping the racing going.



// UNDER 21 RACE

Jumping into the meat of stage four this morning.
Jumping into the meat of stage four this morning.

Adrien Dailly stretched out his lead over Seb Claquin today to take the top spot in the U21 race.
Adrien Dailly stretched out his lead over Seb Claquin today to take the top spot in the U21 race.

Seb Claquin makes the most of his podium. Although this weekend didn t go his way he still retains the series lead.
Seb Claquin makes the most of his podium. Although this weekend didn't go his way, he still retains the series lead.

Adrien Dailly is getting in plenty of practice for the podium which looks like it will come in handy when he makes the jump to the senior competition.
Adrien Dailly is getting in plenty of practice for the podium, which looks like it will come in handy when he makes the jump to the senior competition.






// WOMEN'S RACE

The top women take to the stage as they wait for ther start times.
The top women take to the stage as they wait for their start times.

All systems go
All systems go!

Issabeau had another strong day on stages four through six but was still a long way off the dominant pace set by Cecile Ravanel.
Issabeau had another strong day on stages four through six, but was still a long way off the dominant pace set by Cecile Ravanel.

After her nightmare start to the season Andreanne Lanthier-Nadeau showed everyone why Rocky Mountain betted on her with a podium in her first race as a professional enduro racer.
After her nightmare start to the season Andreanne Lanthier-Nadeau showed everyone why Rocky Mountain betted on her with a podium in her first race as a professional enduro racer.

Cecile Ravanel was on fire this weekend putting 2.34 into the competition.
Cecile Ravanel was on fire this weekend, putting 2.34 into the competition.

Away from the limelight Melanie Pugin arguably put in the ride of the weekend. She has no sponsors she works full time so she has no time to train but still managed to put in an amazing sixth place finish this weekend.
Away from the limelight, Melanie Pugin arguably put in the ride of the weekend. She has no sponsors, she works full time so she has no time to train, but still managed to put in an amazing sixth place finish this weekend.

Louise Paulin is another privateer in the women s competition who did herself proud this weekend. Tenth for the mother of two and mountain bike guide against a world class field.
Louise Paulin is another privateer in the women's competition who did herself proud this weekend. Tenth for the mother of two and mountain bike guide against a world class field.

Anita Gehrig could almost taste the podium this weekend holding third last night but seeing it slip out of her grasp as today went on. By the time she crossed the finished line she was clearly gutted that she was not making her first trip onto the box this weekend.
Anita Gehrig could almost taste the podium this weekend, holding third last night, but seeing it slip out of her grasp as today went on. By the time she crossed the finish line she was clearly gutted that she was not making her first trip onto the box this weekend.

Sixth for Miranda Miller in her first European EWS she seems to be a natural at this kind of racing.
Sixth for Miranda Miller in her first European EWS; she seems to be a natural at this kind of racing.

Innes
Innes would finish an uncharacteristic 8th today, struggling with injury on some of the longest stages of the entire season.

First on every sate and in a league of her own here in La Thuile Cecile Ravanel put on a clinic in the women s race.
First on every stage and in a league of her own here in La Thuile, Cecile Ravanel put on a clinic in the women's race.

EWS 4 2016 La Thuile Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
EWS 4 2016 La Thuile Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
It was anything but easy out there this weekend.


Second today for Issabeau and her best EWS finish to date.
Second today for Issabeau, and her best EWS finish to date.

The grin on Cecile Ravanel s face at the finish line says everything you need to know about her weekend.
The grin on Cecile Ravanel's face at the finish line says everything you need to know about her weekend.

Your women s podium Cecile Ravanel Isabeau Courdurier and Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau.
Your women's podium: Cecile Ravanel, Isabeau Courdurier and Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau.



// MEN'S RACE

Flo Nicolai wasn t too pleased with himself this evening he felt he could have done much better this weekend. That he feels like this when he s finishing in fifth says a lot about where his sights are set these days.
Flo Nicolai wasn't too pleased with himself this evening, he felt he could have done much better this weekend. That he feels like this when he's finishing in fifth says a lot about where his sights are set these days

EWS 4 2016 La Thuile Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Stage five wound down the side of the mountain towards the forests below.

Smashing his way to another win. Rude could afford to take it easy today but he still put he time into everyone but Hill on stage five.
Smashing his way to another win. Richie Rude could afford to take it easy today, but he still put he time into everyone but Hill on stage five.

Nico Vouilloz retired after the first stage this morning. He said he just wasn t able to recover. Next stop for the champ is the doctor for blood tests here s hoping it s good news.
Nico Vouilloz retired after the first stage this morning. He said he just wasn't able to recover. Next stop for the champ is the doctor for blood tests, here's hoping it's good news.

Jack Moir was maybe the surprise of the men s field today taking time out from the World Cup to put in a stunning eighth and only missing out on the final stage win by a hair.
Jack Moir was maybe the surprise of the men's field today, taking time out from the World Cup to put in a stunning eighth and only missing out on the final stage win by a hair.

In racing you win some you lose some. Jesse Melamed definitely got the rough end of that deal today.
In racing you win some, you lose some. Jesse Melamed definitely got the rough end of that deal today.

Jesse Melamed has come a long way as a racer in the last couple of years. A crash early on today has dropped him back from sixth the twelfth and he slipped one spot further back on the final stage. What speaks volumes is that he was angry with himself when not so long ago a top fifteen would have been a weekend he was very happy with.
Jesse Melamed has come a long way as a racer in the last couple of years. A crash early on today has dropped him back from sixth the twelfth and he slipped one spot further back on the final stage. What speaks volumes is that he was angry with himself, when not so long ago a top fifteen would have been a weekend he was very happy with.

After a rough season to date Joe Barnes finally turned things around to grab a place within the top ten.
After a rough season to date, Joe Barnes finally turned things around to grab a place within the top ten.

Curtis Keene brought the heat this weekend to finish sixth in the overall.
Curtis Keene brought the heat today.

Curtis dug deep today finishing 4th on the final stage and pushing all the way up to 6th in the over all.
Curtis dug deep today, finishing 4th on the final stage and pushing all the way up to 6th in the over all.

For just training Brosnan had a hell of a weekend. Troy took 16th in the overall.
For "just training," Brosnan had a hell of a weekend. Troy took 16th in the overall.

Cody Kelley points it through the rock garden as the crowd starts to build at the bottom of stage six.
Cody Kelley points it through the rock garden as the crowd starts to build at the bottom of stage six.

Flying Flo had some loose moments this weekend but held it together to take fifth place.
Flying Flo had some loose moments this weekend but held it together to take fifth place.

Robin Wallner has been flying a bit under the radar on the EWS circuit so far but after his 7th place finish in La Thuile we imagine people are gong to begin to take notice.
Robin Wallner has been flying a bit under the radar on the EWS circuit so far, but after his 7th place finish in La Thuile we imagine people are gong to begin to take notice.

It was another rough EWS for Jared Graves who retired after a flat tire on stage four.
It was another rough EWS for Jared Graves who retired after a flat tire on stage four.

Marco Osborne may be off the track this weekend but he s got his spectating game locked down - ice cold Leffes trackside and some good old-fashioned heckling.
Marco Osborne may be off the track this weekend, but he's got his spectating game locked down - ice cold Leffes trackside and some good, old-fashioned heckling.

Thomas Lapeyrie didn t have the best weekend but he certainly gave it all on track this weekend.
Thomas Lapeyrie didn't have the best weekend, but he certainly gave it all on track this weekend.

Francois Bailly-Maitre was right there all weekend he was rewarded with a fourth place this evening.
Francois Bailly-Maitre was right there all weekend, he was rewarded with a fourth place this evening.

Jerome Clementz is still the master of reading the terrain - few other riders spotted this high line that kept him out of the chattery rocks below. Ninth this weekend for the 2012 champion.
Jerome Clementz is still the master of reading the terrain - few other riders spotted this high line that kept him out of the chattery rocks below. Ninth this weekend for the 2012 champion.

EWS La Thuile
EWS La Thuile

Sam Hill had a few moments today including a massive crash on stage 4 losing almost 17 seconds to Damien Oton. He clawed back much of it by winning stage 5 and then laid it all on the line on the final stage of the day Eventually besting Oton by almost 7 seconds to secure the second step on the podium.
Sam Hill had a few moments today, including a massive crash on stage 4, losing almost 17 seconds to Damien Oton. He clawed back much of it by winning stage 5, and then laid it all on the line on the final stage of the day Eventually besting Oton by almost 7 seconds to secure the second step on the podium.

Sam Hill s classic look of confidence where without saying a word you know he s about to do something special. It s been great having Sam in the mix and on the podium the past two rounds and can t wait to see what the future hold for him in the EWS.
Sam Hill's classic look of confidence, where without saying a word you know he's about to do something special. It's been great having Sam in the mix and on the podium the past two rounds and can't wait to see what the future holds for him in the EWS.

Damien Oton was on the gas this weekend taking third place.
After missing most of 2015 with an injury, Damien Oton has come roaring back. Taking third here in La Thuile and also sitting solidly in 2nd for the season overall with four rounds to go.

Where most get hung up Richie just charges on. It is mind boggling to witness the sheer speed he carries down the track visibly faster than anyone in every single section of track. On another level almost seems like an understatement.
Where most get hung up, Richie just charges on. It is mind boggling to witness the sheer speed he carries down the track, visibly faster than anyone in every single section of track. On another level almost seems like an understatement.

Even with a massive lead after day one Richie had no intentions of letting up. His goal has been to the first male to make a clean sweep of all stages on an EWS weekend but a charging Sam Hill on stage five foiled his plan by less than one second.
Even with a massive lead after day one, Richie had no intentions of letting up. His goal has been to the first male to make a clean sweep of all stages on an EWS weekend, but a charging Sam Hill on stage five foiled his plan by less than one second.

The team podium is always a slightly crazy end to the weekend - it is the chance for the mechanics and team managers who work so hard to get the riders out there and racing to join them on the stage and take their moment in the sun.
The team podium is always a slightly crazy end to the weekend - it is the chance for the mechanics and team managers who work so hard to get the riders out there and racing to join them on the stage and take their moment in the sun.

There is no I in Team and Richie has some of the best in the business in his corner week in and week out.
There is no "I" in Team, and Richie has some of the best in the business in his corner week in and week out.

Richie Rude Sam Hill and Damien tackled the monsterous La Thuile EWS and came out on top.
Richie Rude, Sam Hill, and Damien tackled the monstrous La Thuile EWS and came out on top.

Richie Rude La Thuile

This view never gets old... Ciao Monte Bianco
This view never gets old... Ciao Monte Bianco

EWS La Thuile



74 Comments

  • + 61
 Keene made some serious gains out there! From 20th something to 6th overall? That's pretty impressive. I'm a fan no matter what his results.
  • + 40
 Am I the only one who wants to hear more about the privateer racers? How they manage to make it out to the races without the support of a team and still kick ass seems like a pretty cool story.
  • + 10
 Yeah you are the only one bro. We as a society live of the thrills and spills of celebrities. If you ain't famous we just don't give a sh*t! Especially the spills, if there aren't any tears, public apologises, scandals, public drunkness, or other drug problems, bad parenting we aren't happy because we can't escape of sad meaningless lives for 5 minutes.

WARNING: The above comment may contain sarcasm. So chill out.
  • + 7
 Perhaps a pit walk section of just the converted vans people live out of?
  • + 42
 What did graves do to deserve this punishment
  • + 124
 He joined Specialized. Nough said.
  • + 6
 Specialized
  • + 9
 His rims are asking the same thing
  • + 15
 i hope he can claw back into the mix for the next rounds.... a massive string of bad luck
  • + 14
 @shhhteve: Me too he's had such bad luck with specialized so far and most people do not like his decision to go there in the first place I just feel terrible for him. Poor fella. He's got the skills, his bad luck will run out eventually
  • + 10
 I bet he does well in Colorado he is very comfortable there.
  • + 2
 @brandaneisma: I sure hope! Maybe he can bring down the hammer at whistler too.
  • + 8
 @bikingbayarea: yeah feel bad for jared. he'll come out of this slump without a doubt. he's been with yeti for over a decade, it appraently kinda hard for him adjusting to the new bikes he's hammering.

jared got skills. look at his former teammate/protege... keep on shining richie!

congrats to all the finishers, especially the top ten! kudos to their mecahanics!

and sam hill... nuff said.
  • + 2
 @Aikow: yeah my thoughts exactly. Shoulda never left Yeti.
  • + 15
 Keene had an Enduro. Graves was on the wrong bike for this place :-)
  • + 3
 People were bringing out their 180mm Lyrics,and Graves shows up on a trail bike. Unprepared to say the least.
  • + 9
 @nozes: Guess Brosnan was on the wrong bike too.
  • + 2
 @mfoga: Of course - he could have won on the right one :-)
  • + 39
 so stoked to see Sam Hill here.
  • + 1
 Awesome to see Sam step right into EWS and podium back to back!
  • + 22
 Richies' blue line on the graph pretty much says it all.
  • + 4
 what a monster!
  • + 2
 What, e-bike? I am joking (mostly...)
  • + 15
 Curtis keeeeenne on shred mode! Whoooo!
  • + 11
 Congrats to Jesse, on the up. And to Curtis Keen on getting back in the mix, great to see from a genuine guy.
  • + 11
 Rude man child FTW, merica!
  • + 9
 Why is Sam so damn good at Enduro! very unsuspecting
  • + 2
 Pretty sure Sam is just good at bikes...
  • + 5
 Yeahhh!! the Monster with the Monster in his hands! so cool to see Sam Hill showing that face of confidence again. And prove all those guys wrong who say his time is over yet.
  • + 7
 What's sexier than a Nukeproof Mega ?
Sam Hill Shredding on a Nukeproof mega ! Wink
  • + 6
 yay ALN! Amazing how quick the progression from XC. She is nuts on a bike, no fear! I can see her becoming a podium mainstay
  • + 4
 anyone notice rudes bikes wheel tire combo? xm511 40mm inner front wheel with minion 2.5 wide trail..... also brosnan on the 1501 i think the 30mm inner version just on the front. but both run ex471 in rear which has 25mm profile. hmmm....
  • + 1
 @mtbynot Rude's front rim is the new EX 511...30mm inner width.
  • + 5
 Gonna be game on between Hill and Rude in snowmass and the rest of the season. .........not to mention 2017. Exciting!
  • + 2
 Well you don't need to work in data analytics to see what that graph is saying!! Haha Richie is fast as fck! Echo matt-birdy's comments about the privateers, I'd love to hear more. Work full time, two kids and smashing 10th at a World level event, respect.
  • + 3
 Are the three bikes pictures at the Men's podium their actual race bikes? Just curious because it seemed like most racers were opting for coil rear shocks yet the top three finishers all have air.
  • + 5
 Yes, those are the race bikes.
  • + 5
 Great Sam!!! Congratulation
  • + 4
 Even though he was running a ghetto tubeless setup, Grid sidewalls are not enough for a guy like Graves.
  • + 1
 And yet Keene manages fine on them. Maybe Graves needs full DH casings...
  • + 3
 @headshot: Keene runs the DH casings I believe.
  • + 3
 Speed output graph speaking volumes. Richie is just on a different level there.
  • + 1
 there were way too many riding pictures I hope for next time we get more pics of a guy on a computer, people standing around, stand still bikes and at least more than 17 podium pictures.
  • + 4
 Jared, get off Specialized!
  • + 1
 At least get off those specialized tries... He got a fat DNF this round so curious to see what happened. Probably flatted out too many times. Must be frustrating. Especially seeing Richie Rude just dominate this year.
  • + 2
 I feel kinda stupid because I can't understand that graph at all. But the graph makes it look like Richie destroyed, which he did, so I'd say it's accurate.
  • + 3
 That scenery. Those riders. These photos!! Thanks Pinkbike. Just an amazing pictorial-pictures of mountain bike valhalla.
  • + 3
 Interesting seeing the pics and (brief) stories of the privateers! What does it cost a privateer for an event like this?
  • + 2
 A lot! The entry costs are fine but when you factor in how much you break it hurts.
  • + 2
 Yoann must be really hurt because I've seen nor heard any mention of him since his crash a few weeks back.
  • + 1
 Yeah he posted the video up of the crash same day then that seems to be it. Hope he's recovering well!
  • + 1
 Gutted for Graves, seem that even his trusted ghetto tubeless method failed him this weekend. I hope he can get things turned around.
  • + 3
 Great to see Sam up there!
  • + 1
 Must HAVE had a long weekend. Auxiliary verb + past participle mate. I hope for your sake your grammatical slip was intentional otherwise you look like a complete dick
  • + 1
 The ex471 is strongerest than xm411 rims, I think, because the rear wheel have more stress...
  • + 2
 Sam Hill has found his new home... flat pedal enduro!
  • + 2
 maxxis, get Jared Graves back on the sponsor deal already!!!!
  • + 3
 JACK MOIR YOU LEGEND!
  • + 1
 Flat pedals and ............,just go Sam make almost everybody stupid in there assumptions of what really matters. Peace
  • + 1
 Someone else saw Martin Maes? (on the left side of the rock garden)
  • + 2
 What a Race! Thanks PB
  • - 2
 More grammatical errors in this article than a Facebook post! The editior must of had a long weekend!
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