5 Things We Learned at EWS Rotorua 2019

Mar 24, 2019 at 12:11
by Ed Spratt  
Martin Maes was nothing short of brilliant today. 5 stage wins. That s a hell of a way to start the season off.

The first round of the 2019 Enduro World Series is over and it was a good one. The five stages played host to some intense racing with some interesting results appearing by the end of the day. Take a look at five things we noticed from the sidelines.

1. The women's field is closer than ever before

Isabeau Courdurier may have won all but one of the stages in the women's race but there was a horde of fast racers charging her down. In fact, less than one minute split the top 8 after half an hour of racing. One more stage could have changed the standings entirely, with newcomers to the podium, Morgane Charre in second +11.05 back and Bex Baraona in third less than half a second behind her. That's 11.21 seconds separating the entire women's podium.

Morgane Charre had a strong performance and even a stage win.

2. Kiwi men do well on home soil

Just like in previous years, the Rotorua forests bring out the best of the New Zealand riders with 30% of the top 15, Keegan Wright, Cole Lucas, Wyn and Ed Masters and Sam Blenkinsop, all from the home country. We'll see how much was home soil advantage at the next rounds.

Keegan Wright has been absolutely pinned in training and could definitely be a contender for the podium.

3. In 5 years, Bex Baraona has finished 4th through 12th, but never the podium until Rotorua

Bex Baraona did her first Enduro World Series race in 2014 in Glentress, Scotland. In 2016, she did the entire series for the first time and now she has raced over two dozen EWS races. With her third place in Rotorua, she's now finished 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12th throughout the years.

Bex Baraona took third for her first race of the season.

4. Don't count Sam Hill out for the overall just yet

In 2016, Sam Hill didn't finish outside the top 6, but last season, he finished in 11th and 9th and the last two stops. While 13th was definitely not the way the defending champion would have liked to start his season, if he can recover from illness in time for the race in Derby next weekend, he's still very much in touch. Keep in mind that Damien Oton, who finished second overall last year, is out for 2 rounds with an injury and Martin Maes hasn't proven consistent enough to contend for the overall, missing EWS Colombia with a shoulder injury last year and getting a hand injury in Finale.

5. Win the Queen Stage, win the event

It just so happened that both Maes and Courdurier won both stage 4 and the race. This was the first ever Queen Stage and it was the second longest of the day. They both earned themselves a bonus 40 points in the overall. That means both Maes and Courdurier now have a lead of 90 points over the rest of the field going into the rest of the season, with the winners of both the men and women's races now receiving 500 points.

It was an emotional win today for Isabeau Courdurier who finally put her previous bad experiences in Rotorua behind her.

Final Results: EWS Rotorua 2019
Course Preview: Blown Out - EWS Rotorua 2019
Practice Photo Epic: Racers Ready - EWS Rotorua 2019
Finals Photo Epic: A Fresh Start - EWS Rotorua 2019
Video: Sam Hill POV - EWS Rotorua 2019
Video: Course Preview - EWS Rotorua 2019

MENTIONS: @EnduroWorldSeries / @davetrumpore / @mdelorme / @andy9


  • + 126
 5 things learned in rotorua:

1. Don’t take into account pinkbike predictions
2. Martin Maes prove he is best in class... controled, not taking risk and being consistent.
3. The kiwis are one step up as a locals respect to another countries.
4. The women field still need more level ( another chausson where? Another ravanel? Courdier is great but depends on the other top woman to win basically.
5. Where is the new sram without cables? The pros don’t run it ?... uhmmm
7. We need more raw videos of technical sections.
8. My enduro fantasy team is shit ????
  • + 23
 Things that I really like about your post

2- I think being controlled, consistent, and not taking risk is very very VERY important for enduro racing

5- AXS is misteriously not popular on the Sram top enduro athletes... Mmmmmm....why?

7- Oh yeah!
  • + 5
 @JAVIGUTZ: 5) it's not fail-safe, once you hit it hard, it's over. Wired RD is bombproof. Wireless AXS is definitely the future though.
  • + 5
 This race's Pinkbike Predictinator James was pretty close really, getting it right for both men's and women's winners, and guessing Keegan on the podium as well.

Agreed on #7. Smile
  • + 7
 No mention of the winning bike wheel size?
Pinkbike has been pushing the 29er agenda , and now that a different wheel size combo wins.
What to do?
  • + 11
 @endurocat: big 29er is just too powerful. /s

But nah, we're stoked to see if the frankenwheelers are going to be a thing this year!
  • + 2
 7. you will get tons of those from the Irish Gravity series Wink
  • + 2
 @brianpark: One just podium at the top. I think its officially a thing. But yeah really odd no one PB is even discussing this in this article.
  • - 14
flag mkotowski1 (Mar 26, 2019 at 17:17) (Below Threshold)
 Martin maes is much less proven than many other racers...
  • + 35
 There are 3 types of people: those who can count and those who can't
  • + 10
  • + 6
 @endurocat: Yes. Seemed like one of the most important features of this race. Different wheel sizes on the same bike. And on the winning bike no less.
  • + 4
 @mkotowski1: If you look back at his racing history, you can see that he actually would win most of the stages but be set back by a mechanical. He hasn't changed anything other than getting more reliable parts.
  • + 0
 @theteaser: which one are you then
  • + 1
 @nick1957: Read it again and you'll find the answer to your question :-)
  • + 1
 @Thustlewhumber: don’t think it’s parts more likely riding style causing mechanicals
  • + 73
 Can I just say that all the interviews of Courdurier are a bit rude, consistently saying "yeah you won, but only cos Ravanel is out".
She's fast in her own right and you can only race the people in the race
  • + 22
 Makes You think how fast both chausson & Tmo raced with Cecile stuck in 3rd.
  • + 1
 @enduroFactory: yup! I always wonder where TMo would place if she decided to come out of retirement & what the difference is between that generation of riders & the current
  • + 2
 I think Courdurier is smart enough to know that Cecile is stronge than her. She said it more or less during the interview.

I am pretty sur Courdurier would be happier to win with Cecile Wink
  • + 2
 @enduroFactory: I think Cecile techniche dramatichally evolve during the years, and it wasn´t the same when she raced against ACC and Tmo... Cecile did not came from a gravity background so I guess it took more time for her to evolve to it´s full potential.. I would have been fun to see now if these 2 where active how close it would be the batle... I´ve seen some style on Cecile really really impressive not seen in other women...
  • + 2
 Cecile has won 22 of the last 24 EWS rounds, beating Courdurier in 23 of those. Yes she's fast in her own right, but it would be remiss to ignore the fact Cecile is missing.
  • + 1
 I think Ravanel has done enough to prove that Courdurier only won because she wasn’t racing. Show some respect.
  • + 36
 What about the winner being on a mixed wheel bike? I think we learned that all these enduro bikes are going to be re-released with a smaller rear wheel in the next 2 weeks.
  • + 8
 ...but...but.. the seat tube angles!!!
  • + 20
 @gnarnaimo: Just bend ya seat post and be done with it!!
  • + 8
 @gnarnaimo: I am sure if we just create another standard seat post size the problem can be solved.
  • + 6
 @gnarnaimo: which is why the "smart" manufacturers have been starting to spec 78* STA's, so that when you mix wheel you still end up with a 76 and GTG... Smile
  • + 6
NS Bikes already has 3 bikes with the 27.5/29 Combo available for almost half a year.
But as always it doesn't follow the agenda.
  • + 3
 Quite a few of these bikes are not long, low and with more normal reaches etc. Especially with jacked up forks.
  • + 1
 @endurocat: Foes has had one for several years and I'm pretty sure Liteville or some other Euro boutique brand had one a while ago as well. Guerrilla Gravity was willing to ship their 27.5 frames with 29 forks when I asked them over a year ago. I'm a little guy so I've been interested in mismatched wheel sizes for a while. Big Grin
  • + 0
 @Svinyard: Wrong. Check out the Nerd HD
And starts at $2,700 US.
  • + 2
 @endurocat: Huh? Mispost? Some of the top bikes (well riders on them) aren't these new super long bikes like the new Yeti's etc.
  • + 1
 @Rigidjunkie: Maybe it´s time for Angleset Seatpost to appear ??..Smile
  • + 26
 Mad props for a Bex Barona. Sha has been putting in some serious training for this and it's paying off
  • + 7
 She's easily the most entertaining amongst the top women riders to boot. Gowaan girl!
  • + 27
 We also learned that Morganne Charre placed 2nd on FLAT pedals!!!
  • + 6
 Looking forward to seeing her race the whole series. She's a dark horse and not to be overlooked.
  • + 5
 @n1ck: Already in my team....
  • - 6
flag b1k35c13nt15t (Mar 26, 2019 at 14:34) (Below Threshold)
 That would be extraordinary if they timed the climbs.
  • + 17
 Rumour has it they win medals
  • + 8
 @b1k35c13nt15t: Then why do 99% of downhillers ride clipped?
  • + 0
 @xTwoSnakesx: and all xc riders.
  • + 1
 @b1k35c13nt15t: enduro involves a shit ton of pedalling.
  • + 13
 @xTwoSnakesx: 99% of downhillers agree: Sam Hill rides better than them.
  • + 1
 @Thustlewhumber: Absolutely. Not a mere mortal, he even races XC on flats haha
  • + 2
 Do we know if she is racing the whole series? Her bio is so impressive. DH World Champion in 2012 to boot
  • + 21
 1. Martin Maes is one of the best all around bike riders on Earth today.
  • + 12
 Nothing about the mixed wheels??
  • + 1
 Yeah WTH right?? This is PB after all...
  • + 7
 Please, do include our First Filipino Rider who joined EWS in your articles. Though he finished 98th place, he really tried his best.
  • + 6
 Can someone explain the "Queen" stage to me? So this is new? At all events?

Maes didn't even know what it was according to his Wyn interview either. Or at least didn't know it was called that.
  • + 13

Queen Stage
Introduced this year, one Special Stage per EWS event will be nominated as the Queen Stage. The winner (per category) of the Queen Stage will be awarded bonus EWS series points.

The aim of the Queen stage is to provide a target for riders who need extra series points, and to provide an exciting focus on the longest, hardest or crux stage of every race. Expect some hard fought Queen Stage victories this season.
  • + 5
 @sarahmoore: Well that was quick.
  • - 1
 It's the mtb equivalent of a road race "prime". Kinda like the green jersey mid-stage sprints
  • + 8
 The terminology comes from road racing’s grand tours. The hardest/longest stage has always been called the queen stage.
  • + 1
 @sarahmoore: you are citing a 50 points bonus but the article 5th is talking about a 40pts bonus ?!
  • + 3
 @fautquecaswing: Looks like the EWS must have updated the points for the Queen Stage after that press release, good eye!
  • + 6
 Power stage like in WRC
  • + 1
 @sarahmoore: ...and Thank You
  • + 1
 @sarahmoore: why’s it called the queen stage though?
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: a stage is necessarily feminine (btw une spéciale in french)
  • + 4
 I learned that the WC DH boys are worried as Martin could win both diciplines.
More DH boys are now doing both DH and Enduro (which makes complete sense).

It still sucks that what is now the premiere sport is not well enough covered with live feed or live data.

The world of gravity assisted bike racing is gonna get a whole lot more interesting.

2019 is gonna be interesting.
  • - 9
flag thenotoriousmic (Mar 27, 2019 at 6:30) (Below Threshold)
 Totally agree. They need to stop flogging the riders by sending them on a 45km bike ride before racing the stages so they can actually ride them at full pace, have all the tracks in the same location so you have a possibility of covering the race and make the stages shorter so it’s actually about who can ride the track the fastest not who’s the best at not getting arm pump.
  • + 2
 @thenotoriousmic: How about instead of racing multiple stages they choose one premier stage and race that. They should also eliminate the climbs so riders can focus purely on being the fastest downhill.
  • + 1
 @bruvar: then that would be downhill racing.
  • + 3
 @thenotoriousmic: Now you get the point. Big Grin
  • - 2
 @mtbikeaddict: I get the point but it’s a way bigger sport now and they haven’t updated the format to fit. At this point it’s all about making it accessible and interesting for the fans and that’s not going to happen if we get absolutely no coverage and those who actually go to the events can’t even follow the race because it happens over such a big area and the riding we do get to see isn’t as fast or as impressive as it can be because the riders are quite rightly tired from being sent on a massive pedal for no reason. I’ll get downvoted for this bit who is actually happy watching a race via a live results feed? The reason why world cups are so popular is because it’s edge the seat stuff and if the EWS can’t replicate that it won’t have any future. I’m not saying make it a dh race on trail bikes just give us more of what we want ie action and less of the stuff we don’t care about.
  • + 7
 You forgot to mention 97 or what it's called now.
  • + 15
 29" front + 26" rear = 69er
26" front + 24" rear = Specialized Big Hit
27.5" front + 26" rear = 67.5er

29" front + 27.5" rear = 79.5er
  • + 1
 @n1ck 29" front + 27.5" rear = 79.5er
As the original name for 27.5 is 650B may l suggest 29 B'er (29 beer)
  • + 1
 @ColquhounerHooner: mmm, No. These are just the rules. But I do like beer. haha
  • + 4
 @n1ck: whats 27.5 front, 29 rear? Just asking for a friend
  • + 1
 @ctd07: 97.5er
  • + 8
 @ctd07: it’s called an over the barser
  • + 1
 @Joeyfallon21: its the pro-tip insider setup, allows you to overfork your bike by 50mm so you can run 180 front, 130rear, perfect setup for any front heavy riders with beer guts
  • + 2
 Hmm, not to bite, but I will..., and I may need to be corrected as I really haven't done any research (apologies and please correct me) I think Eddie the Eagle has proven himself on other courses, as has Mr Blenkinsop, as has Mr SeaEagle Masters, and Mr Cam Cole u21 and...... This year Mr Wright will prove himself on the world stage.

But... Besides the above, what other nation has done so well on their home turf?

Anyway, none of it matters till the end of the season, so ride ya bloody bikes and enjoy it!
  • + 1
 I'm not sure on how the points are awarded. I get you get points for your overall finish, and this finish is based on overall time. Now say the 10th place overall person wins the Queen stage, could they now receive points that would place them ahead of the 9th place finisher, or is it your place is your place and your points are your points.....
  • + 1
 here's the PDF of the current rankings so you'll be able to see how points are awrded and yes if 10th place wins the Queens stage, that will put them ahead of 9th:
  • + 0
 I Bough a GT Sensor, upped the travel to 140 front and rear with an X2 and 36, I'm getting better times on this bike than I did on my 2018 Enduro on most sections. The enduro Climbed better but this, despite less travel is head and shoulder above as it regards descending capabilities. So one thing I learned and others could learn is GT IS BACK!
  • + 1
 Why do they call it the queen stage? I understand it's most difficult of the day and awards more points, but why not a name like 'downduro stage' or 'send-it stage'
  • + 3
 Because Chess
  • + 1
 Huge fan of Bex! stoked to see her get the support she deserved & making it count
  • + 2
 No turner presence and therefore no interest.
  • + 1
 @pinbike..... Please add Jill Kitner to Fantasy.
  • + 0
  • + 1
 Seventy Niner
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