In third place
this year is Finale Ligure. Our 2013 winner of this award has had a mixed few years, with some definite missteps in terms of the direction of the race. 2015 was probably the low point, with several of the stages attracting the ire of the riders, with many feeling they had too much climbing to feature in an enduro race. Yet for 2016 the organisers took the feedback, regrouped and came out swinging, only narrowly missing out on the second place spot. This year the climbs were long, but not overly rushed, the trails found a nice balance between fun and challenge and, as always, who doesn't love finishing their season on the beach with a beer and a gelato?
goes to a race that has been running since long before the EWS. The Enduro de Portes du Mercantour has been going since 2005, and for its 11th year things were really turned up to 11 as it hosted the EWS. The appeal of Valberg is simple: big mountains and big descents. Stage three had a monster 1,100m climb up to it, the longest of the season, possibly the longest single climb ever seen in the EWS. Yet this race showed once more that big climbs are no worry, providing they aren't rushed and there is a good descent after. And boy was that descent good. In fact, all the descents were good - enduro was born from this kind of riding and Valberg was a perfect example of why the sport became so popular in the first place.