The Enduro World Series stays in South America for round two, but this time the dust of the Chilean Andes is replaced by the tropical rainforest of the Colombian mountains. As if the two venues could not be any more different, racers will also tackle an urban DH stage for the first time to kick things off on Saturday afternoon. For round two, EWS – Alcaldia de Manizales – Mas oportunidades, promises to be a completely different challenge.
Starting with an urban prologue in downtown Manizales on Saturday, the main race taking place on Sunday will then see riders take on seven more stages in a single day. Many of the stages are short and punchy as they flow through terrain dominated by some of the world’s most iconic coffee plantations. Sitting on the equator it is a tropical climate this week and racers can and should expect at least some rain almost every day.
And whilst the trails may be fun, don’t expect the competition to be anything less than fierce. Mechanicals forced many of the big names out of contention last weekend, including Richie Rude, Adrien Dailly, and Greg Callaghan, and they’ll all be gunning for the podium as they look to pick up valuable series points. Unfortunately there has also been one casualty this weekend as round 1 runner-up Martin Maes dislocated his shoulder in training and will not take the start for round 2.
Reigning champs Cecile Ravanel and Sam Hill will enter the race as series leaders, but will face stiff competition in their respective categories. Adrien Dailly and Richie Rude will be out for revenge, and Robin Wallner should also be feeling confident after his podium finish last weekend. In the women’s race, Cecile remains the athlete to beat, but strong performances from both Isabeau Courdurier and Katy Winton mean she won’t have room to relax. Bex Baraona put in her best performance to date with a fourth place finish in Chile, proving she has the speed to keep up with the sharp end of the pack.
Practice kicked off in true Enduro Wet Series fashion with a day of hard rain, and things turned into a slip and slide real quick. Some riders struggled while others felt right at home in the muck, and with weather changing in the rain forest by the hour it is anyone's guess what Sunday will bring.
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