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  1. The Pyrenees - I never get tired of looking at them. . . . . As the title suggests, I'm going to try and fill this thread with all manner of interesting, funny and/or informative cycling related things from this beautiful part of the world and the surrounding areas. :-)
  2. Want to see what Team SA got up to at the EWS Trophy of Nations? Hit the Youtube link above... Myself (Martin Zietsman), Matt Lombardi and Jason Boulle had the privilege of representing South Africa at the first ever Enduro World Series Trophy of Nations, held in Finale Ligure, Italy on the 29th of September. We put together a video showcasing all the behind-the-scenes action leading up to the race, from arriving there, to our play day exploring the local trails, the goosebumps moments during the Nations Teams Parade, the fun we had practicing the stages and the action on race day. The Trophy of Nations pitted teams comprising the top 3 ranked riders from each nation against each other in a 1-day race to crown the overall World Champions. All 3 riders on each team had to drop into each stage within a 1 minute window and the times of all 3 riders are then combined to provide the final result. The winning team is the team with the shortest total combined time over the 5 stages...simple as that. We hope you enjoy the show....
  3. How did I end up on this path this year? Last year, I finished high school and was set on racing my bike on the world stage of Enduro but I was faced with a few problems, I’m not a trust fund kid so I had minimal money. I also had no knowledge on the qualifying criteria which has to be completed the year before to qualify to race in next year's Enduro World Series (EWS) events. To make it worse, I had also missed the first round of wildcard entries. And I was unemployed. This left me with only two things to do: I entered the second wild-card entry phase and I got a job as a travelling sales rep.One morning, I received an email granting me access to enter the first two rounds of EWS in South America, impulsively I paid for the two entries and was suddenly all out of money (a recurring theme in my story). I scraped through the next month doing my repping work, riding my bike, and couch surfing. In the months leading up to South America, I continued working and trying to train and prepare myself for the brutal stages I was going to be riding in Chile and Colombia. And boy, it was not even close to enough for the beast that is the EWS but you’ll find out more about that in just a second. I was fortunate enough that my family, friends, and sponsors helped me to get to South America. It was going to be my first time out of South Africa, I knew nobody and I was in an emotional state of uncertainty, fear, and an indescribable kind of excitement. Before I knew it, I was in Durban Airport saying goodbye to my mum about to walk through the international departure gates that symbolised the start of a roller-coaster year. A month in South America and my first taste of the Enduro World Series ChileI arrived in Chile in the early hours of the morning. I caught a shady taxi and got to my backpackers. When I arrived it was closed for three hours, so I slept on the bench outside. Until I was woken by Matteo and his mechanic Andrea from Italy, who at this stage I didn’t know but they would be some of my biggest supporters through the season. Capturing the crazy terrain in Chile. The scale is unreal. With a shuttle from my new Italian friends, I began practice with a leg-up. I was blown away with the length and physicality of the trails we rode in practice. Stage 2 was the longest EWS stage ever, stretching 11km and descending 1800m. While having to adapt to the terrain made up of “anti-grip” which is loose gravel that forms no ruts, high-speed sections, loose rocks, and big rough natural rock gardens that at times stretched on for over a kilometre. My race over the two days was unbelievable. I was stoked just to finish and keep my bike in one piece. Time management became so important with eating, prepping bikes and getting enough sleep. Fortunately, my hostel included food and Andrea helped me a lot with my bike maintenance. With the days being eight hours and stage times adding to over an hour, I was pushed to my limits and I became very aware of my weak arms. I was stoked on 17th in the U21 category and 104th place overall. That same night I packed my bags and left at midnight for my 5 AM flight to Colombia. A rider pins through a high-speed section on stage 4. Colombia I arrived in Colombia without bags for two days. Coincidentally, the Italians were in a BnB opposite from my hostel and they took me on track walks throughout the week. The format was a bit different with practice on Friday, an urban stage practice and race on Saturday and seven stages on Sunday. Tyres became a nightmare, the forests were muddy and Saturdays urban definitely needed low profile dry tyres and Sunday was back to the forest, so I was swapping tyres with CushCore inserts that took a solid hour to replace every day. Muddy day out for my final race day in South America. Racing in Columbia was the craziest experience with 30 thousand spectators on the urban stage going off their heads and the gnarliest mud I have ever ridden with 87 mm of rain in the race week. The ruts got so deep my axles were dragging and my pedals were banking up in the ruts. In the end, I finished 15th in U21 and 94th overall. The urban stage spectators went mental. I spent a week in Colombia after the race. When I left I ended up on a 94-hour return trip featuring weather delays and bus rides to change airports and sleeping on airport floors because I couldn’t afford a hotel. It was a nightmare! Going home after this trip, I was more eager than ever to do some more racing. I got a job at my local bike store to try and get more structure through an 8-5 job. I was offered an entry a month before France for round 3 and I blindly committed and applied for a visa. It arrived two days before I left. The European test Germain and his buddy in the van after we met another one of his friends along the way.I arrived in France to find that a train strike had me stranded. Luckily, I had a reply to an Instagram story explaining my situation from Mika, a Frenchy who I had met in South America. He said to wait at a traffic light opposite the train station and his friend would fetch me. After a couple of hours, Germain rocked up and shouted from his van “Hey, you’re Africa right? Get in!”. So I did and he dropped me off at my accommodation after a three-hour drive going completely out of his way. Selfless acts like this make me love our riding community. Germain and his buddy in the van after we met another one of his friends and loaded up. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bigjq6ih6kL/The French round was definitely the most technical of the year with more riding on rock then off it. I was humbled in practice to see the big names of the sport struggling. Day one of racing started well and stage 2 came and the wheels fell off, I had a big high side onto my back falling 3 metres and severely bruising my kidneys. I lied to the medics that I was alright and carried on and finished the day. I had a rough night with a lot of pain and urinating blood but I started the next day and as if the trails weren’t hard enough it began to rain. I suffered through to finish 24th U21 and 120th overall. With my consistency to this point, I had managed to get a ranking of 11th in U21 in the overall series. Austria/ Slovenia After France, I secured another entry to Austria and Slovenia round 4. I organised a house with three other riders from Australia, Brazil, and Norway to split the costs. We met at the airport to find out one of the guys missed his flight and we would have to wait another seven hours for him. I slept on the floor of the airport until he arrived and we got to our accommodation in the early hours of the morning to find no one to let us in. We all slept in the van until we were let into our accommodation. Nights like these you envy the factory supported kids. The race was on the border of Austria and Slovenia and each day we raced a different side of the border. The first days racing was a nightmare for me, I couldn’t stay on my bike and started getting increasingly frustrated and riding worse for it. Day 2 started well with a really good stage, the final stage was 15 minutes long and rough with some pedalling and two climbs and I broke my chain out the gate. I somehow still ended up 21st in U21 and 115th overall. I dropped to 14th in the overall series rankings after this race. The Top of stages 4 and 7. Day 1 we rode out to Slovenia. I was four races in and out of money, so I got back to work. I had to deny the opportunity to enter rounds 5 (Italy) and 6 (Canada) when I got offered spots. It was hard to watch the next two races live timing and not be there with my ranking plummeting to 26th. I worked a solid three months and struck lucky with a corporate event, where I managed to raise enough money for the final two rounds. Spain Spain was round 7 and it was crazy with massive days out on the bike and 35-degree heat making it gnarly to keep focussed. The tracks were fast and I had a decent race but felt like there was no extra to give when I needed to. I finished 20th U21 and 86th overall. Stage 1 track walk with Mika Othax. Italy With Spain being only a week apart from the next round in Italy, I managed to hitch a ride with my Italians for the 10 hour drive. I arrived at 11pm at a house that five of us were splitting (an American, Colombian and two Brazilians). It was a proper Airbnb rip off as one of the beds was in the kitchen. I woke up at all hours of the morning letting people in as they arrived and we even had two extra Americans join us for a night sleeping on the floor. The old Italian Streets in Finale Borgo Finale was a single day race with four stages. I had a massive crash in stage one and hurt my hands pretty badly. I rolled through to a 37th U21 finish and 150th overall. It was a dog show for me but never the less an extraordinary day on the bike. Nativity sets in the caves at the top of stage 1 I finished 21st U/21 in the 2018 Enduro World Series and it was a real rollercoaster ride. I learned so much, met so many people and had a lot of rough nights with terrible food, but those I won’t remember a year from now. For 2019, I will try and give the U21 circuit another go with my off season being used up working. Stage one practice, Round 7 Spain If you have interest in racing EWS do the qualifier event in Lesotho and enter the wildcard early. If you’re going to race an EWS prepare your practice and race days, ride downhill casing tyres and tyre inserts, prepare yourself with upper body training and be ready for the ride that’ll change your view on racing bikes. Want you to know more about Sharjah's year of racing? Check out his Vlogs on Youtube here.
  4. The new partnership signifies the progression of the EWS, cementing its place as the world’s leading enduro series and recognising the rapid progression of the discipline over the last six years. The tight racing, exciting venues and great trails that are the hallmarks of the EWS will remain unchanged following this new agreement, and the Enduro World Series championship will continue as one of the hardest fought and most prestigious individual titles in mountain biking. Alongside the individual EWS titles, and to promote the ethos of team work, strategy and sportsmanship, from 2019 the UCI will award the iconic UCI Rainbow Jerseys to the winning national teams at the annual Trophy of Nations event, marking a new era for international team competition. The EWS will now begin working closely with the UCI to continue developing the discipline, advise the UCI Mountain Bike Commission, train Commissaires and integrate anti-doping policies into the sport of enduro worldwide. Chris Ball, Managing Director of the EWS said: “It’s been no secret we have remained in close communication with the UCI for the past six years whilst the EWS has spearheaded the growth of enduro. As the discipline continues its rapid expansion, the time is now right to add a layer of neutral governance - I’ve always been a firm believer that every sport needs checks, balances and transparency in place. “This agreement has been a long time in the making and following the election of new UCI President David Lappartient in 2017, our relationship has strengthened and negotiations have accelerated. I am now pleased to announce that the EWS and the UCI from today will begin a new way of working together for the best of the sport, that will maintain the EWS’ position at the top of the discipline. This will allow the EWS to represent and guide the direction of enduro within the UCI, bring anti-doping best practice from the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) and award the fabled UCI Rainbow Jerseys at the Trophy of Nations in 2019. I thank Mr Lappartient and UCI Deputy Sports Director and Head of Off-Road Peter Van den Abeele for following our vision and together starting another new chapter for the great sport of mountain biking.” UCI President David Lappartient declared: “I am looking forward to mountain bike Enduro joining the specialities recognised by the UCI thanks to the inclusion of the Enduro World Series on the UCI Mountain Bike International Calendar. Established in 2012, this very popular series includes no fewer than eight rounds which are of great sporting interest and impeccably organised. Thanks to this partnership, it will now benefit from a broader international reach and an unprecedented capacity to develop through our 190 National Federations. Moreover, I am convinced that the relaunch of the Trophy of Nations will attract a growing number of athletes, motivated by the idea of being awarded the iconic UCI Rainbow Jersey alongside their national team mates.”
  5. Colombia will go down in the history books as the most unique EWS race to date, with an opening stage that raced through the downtown streets of Manizales, followed by six stages in a single day amongst the dense rainforest high above the town. The tropical climate of Manizales lived up to its reputation with regular downpours throughout practice and racing, a stark contrast to round one's thick dust. And whilst the conditions couldn't have been more different, the outcome was the same; crashes, mechanicals and wild racing. In the men's race Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) was unstoppable - taking four of the seven stages and finishing the race with a 47 second lead. Local hero Marcelo Gutierrez scored an impressive second place at his ever EWS, whilst Frenchman Damien Oton (Unior Devinci Factory Racing) won a stage and earned himself in third place in the process. Privateer Youn Deniaud deserves a mention for his impressive fourth place finish. In the women's race, Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Racing Team) uncharacteristically dropped a couple of stages to Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Racing) and Anneke Beerten (Alchemy Bicycles Factory Racing), but still finished the race with a commanding lead of over one minute. Isabeau Courdurier (Intense-Mavic Collective) placed second with Trek Factory Racing's Katy Winton in third in an exact replica of last weekend's podium. Elliot Heap (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) replicated team mate Sam Hill's performance to win the U21 men's category, and Ella Conolly won her second race this season in the U21 Women's race. The Master's podium was a repeat of Chile, with Karim Amour (Miranda Racing Team) and Melissa Newell taking the wins. In the team competition, Canyon Factory Enduro Team were team of the day, but it's Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team who lead the rankings heading into round three in France next month. Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said; "When we announced we were heading to Colombia there were a few eyebrows raised, but I hope people now see what an incredible part of the world this is. The riding is insane and the people are some of the most welcoming, friendly and passionate cycling fans we've encountered anywhere." Full results can be found here.
  6. Top of “Marabaraba”. Image by Tammy Du Preez. This brand new event will surely put Lesotho and Africa as a continent on the radar of the international enduro cycling community. It follows in the footsteps of the well renowned UCI 6 day XCM stage race: Lesotho Sky. As both events are organised with a strong commitment to developing cycling in Lesotho, the "Kingdom in the Sky". We hope that this will draw more people to come to Lesotho with their bikes. It is an amazing country for adventure riding! Darol Howes, race director of the Kingdom Enduro “Trail scouting”. Image by Boteng Molapo. What does being part of the EWS mean? Riders need to qualify to race in the EWS world series. There are a limited number of entries available for the 1000s of people who want to race at the highest level. Chris Ball the managing director of EWS says: “ Demand for EWS entries grows year on year and the qualifier events are a great way for riders, especially amateurs, to have a clear and fair pathway into the World Series.” The ethos of Enduro meet the vibe of Lesotho Sky This event has long been overdue. The ethos of Enduro and the organisers behind this event echoes the same vibe. Any person who as done the Lesotho Sky will know that race organisers Darol Howes and Christian Schmidt have a unique approach to 1st class mountain biking events. This new venture is a natural evolution and will see many previous Lesotho Sky riders swop their XCM bikes and lycra bib shorts for baggies and Enduro bikes. Enduro racing is more than just timing the downhills. The essence of Enduro has just as much to with high-quality racing, as it is about the great ethos or the sport. The Lesotho MTB events are known for the unique atmosphere, community, competition and adventure. This is also the case for Enduro events worldwide. The organisers promise that their love for racing bikes with good mates will shine through in this new EWS qualifier. “Rene Damseaux, Darol Howes and Christian Schmidt at the “Pink Elephant” Shebeen after a hard day in the trails.” Image by Boteng Molapo. The marriage between Enduro racing and Lesotho culture is sure to develop into a must-do-event for any baggy wearing mountain biker searching for a kickass adventure. But, make no mistake. It's not going to be all fun and beers - the route will be hard. So if you got the skills, make sure you get your name on the entry list. For the first event, there will only be 40 spots available. Entries and more information: https://kingdomenduro.com More about the enduro world series: http://www.enduroworldseries.com/
  7. Matt getting to grips with the European mountside in Val d'Allos, France. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie. How did you get into riding mountain bikes? I started when my parents introduced me to it. They were into the downhill and cross-country scene at the time. I picked up the cross-country pretty quickly and focused on that. My mom was always for the hardtails and did not really want me riding downhill or motocross.I got big into cross-country, came up through the school ranks and national series, and I got some really good results. I always loved the technical side of cross-country. My dad and I agreed one day that I'd get a dual suspension and keep it away from my mom so that she'd only know once it was too late. Then I started getting into the enduro racing. I started with a few Dirtopia races and noticed that I was doing really well. I thought maybe let's give this a bash. I grew up on Helderberg mountain, so the trails were easily accessible to me. Having come through the schools riding structures, what do you think of the current set up? The Spur Schools League is awesome. There are so many participants of all ages, at all levels. I always had competition in the Spurs League which was great.The format of the racing is not too technical allowing everyone to get a taste for lap racing. Then there are the provincial and national XCO events with more difficult tracks and longer laps. Starting in Grade 8 at Paul Roos, which at the time was the best MTB school in the country. For a good 3 to 4 years, we were winning all the time. I had a good group of older guys that really helped me out. I was always this young kid that came on the group rides. Coming from the cross-country background, how much endurance riding do you still do and how does it relate to enduro racing? I still really like it. I am enjoying the marathon and stage racing events at the moment. I've done Tankwa Trek and Wines2Whales and I am doing them again. It is good motivation to keep fit for enduro because it so demanding. Enduro is long days with 6 to 8 hours a day.The enduro training is not as structured. When I am on my cross-country bike, I just ride. I try to do any intervals that I do on my enduro bike to get a good feel for it. Enduro race stages can be 6 to 20 minutes with climbs that can be up to one minute long, so you have to be ready to sprint them hard as you are being timed. Can you compare Enduro World Series to marathon riding? It's different. You never consistently ride hard like in a marathon race. You are riding long liaisons. There is more gym work and preparation for a high intensity over a short time. It is similar to a downhill regime but probably with a bit more base miles. Does the local enduro scene prepare you for racing overseas? No. There is still a long way to go to match the overseas levels. I don't think people really have a great understanding of what is out there and what the guys going overseas have to face.We have awesome trails that are fun to ride but they don't have the gradient or technicality that the overseas trails do. You can see it immediately, the local riders feel completely comfortable riding stuff that I look at not even knowing how I am going to ride it, let alone race it. There are some really nice local trails but the race organisers do not seem to put them all together. There was an enduro in Jonkershoek that did not use the black line which is a must for an enduro race, otherwise it's just a cross-country race where you are not timed up the hills. Local races cater for everybody, and it is understandable, but hopefully, in the next few years, there will be more support for the race organisers to pull it off. All focus racing a stage at the Enduro World Series round in Millau, France. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie. How much riding did you do overseas before heading to the Enduro World Series? I did a few junior world cup cross-country races overseas. Once I decided that I wanted to do the Enduro World Series, I went to New Zealand to participate in two qualification races. It was an eye-opener. The Kiwis are so fast, they have such awesome trails there. Each time I rode there it was the best place I had ever ridden. Which EWS races did you take part in this year? I did all the EWS rounds. Rotorua, Tasmania, Madeira, Ireland, France, Aspen, Whistler. Unfortunately, I decided to give Finale Ligure in Italy a miss. It clashes with exams and it's a big cost for just one event.Rotorua and Tasmania were the first two and both were completely rained out and a mud-fest. Actually, the first five races this year were muddy really. This was a big challenge coming from South African summer, dusty, rocky, and loose to riding in rain forests. The international riders are at home racing in the muck. I was second-guessing my grip on every root. Speaking of mud. What kind of support did you have? None. I think the toughest part of the whole year is that privateering is not luxurious at all. You spend most of your time cleaning your bike and making sure that everything is working for the next day.I enjoyed it. The whole year was spent solving problems. Even just making it to race day was hard enough. Especially in some countries with language barriers, like France. They're not too interested in trying to help you out. In Tasmania, we were too young to rent a car, so we had to find a company that would rent us one. This meant three of us in one car with three bikes, three bags, a bunsen burner and a pan. That was us for the week. As a privateer, it is important to keep an open mind and not stress about the small things or else it will overwhelm you. Who did you travel with? Two friends, I met in New Zealand. We planned to race each event together and meet up in airports. We were all newbies and figuring things out at the same rate and learning from each other.We'd sneak around the pits and look at what the pros were doing and learned new things. How do the one day races compare to the longer two day events? I preferred the one-day races. Yes, they are very long days of riding but the preparation for the two-day races is tough. You prepare your bike for the first day and during racing you do not have time to be careful so it gets damaged and at the end of the day you have to get it all fresh and ready for another day of racing.The single day races are also better suited for me as they are longer. I am definitely on the upper levels of fitness where the other guys start to struggle after 5 hours. Most of the riders come from downhill. The downhill guys are fit now so it is not impossible for them to get fit for these races. There are only a handful of riders who come from cross-country but they are doing well. I don't think it matters too much. But while I am pushing my boundaries on the gnarly trails, they are totally comfortable coming from downhill. Are you satisfied with your results? I am happy. I got really good results for a first timer. I am currently sitting 10th overall. [interview was conducted pre-Finale Ligure. Matt ended up the season in 12th overall after not competing in the final race].I got a couple of top 3 and top 5 stage results but I struggled to consistently go fast. I'd have a few good stage results and then crash or lose a bit of time, which damages your overall. It's good to know that I can ride fast but I need to work on getting it consistent over the whole race which seems to be a challenge. What have you been racing this year? I was racing a Giant Trance. It was a decision between a Trance (150mm/140mm) or a Reign (160mm). I looked at the race calendar and did a bit of research and saw that five of the eight events would probably be fine on the more efficient Trance. I just dealt with the big technical features as well as I could. At the end of the day, I think I made a good call. How did the Trance handle the Whistler trails? Whistler is amazing. It is better than they say it is.My bike choice was not suited to Aspen and Whistler though. They were two completely different races. Aspen was fast and flat out at 80 kmph trying to tuck to go faster through seriously rough terrain while Whistler was slow, almost trials riding stuff, in deep roots. Most people know Whistler for all the bike park features but we didn't really race any of that stuff in the EWS. We raced the natural tracks outside of the park which are exceptional. Whistler had the craziest stage that I have ever ridden and probably will ever ride. It was 20-minutes long, including Top Of The World that goes into a track called Ride Don't Slide, which is known to be one of the most gnarly tracks that Whistler has to offer. I passed four people on that stage who had to pull over to rest their arms. Matt's Trance was stolen recently which means you'll spot him riding this Reign. Photo supplied. Is it tough competing with locals/ experienced that know the trails? On each round, there were definitely riders that benefited from knowing the trails, especially Whistler. France was very unfair. The stages were signposted. You can go ride the stages any time of the year. The French dominated that round. Tasmania the tracks were all brand new and Madeira no one really goes there.Madeira was the coolest stop. A tiny little island off the coast of Africa with so many trails. What was the biggest challenges as a privateer? Getting around the races is really tough. You've come from the airport in a Uber or shuttle and don't have any way of getting around other than riding. The pros pretty much get uplifts from their team managers in practice, allowing them to fit in multiple runs where privateers can do just one.The first two were the fairest because it was only riding, there were no shuttles allowed. So it was up to the riders. But in Madeira, it was a free for all. There were shuttles, but you had to queue and pay while the pros had their own private shuttles. Affording spares was also a big problem. Without support, you have to nurse your equipment all the time. Tyres are a big one. You can ruin them in one day. You quickly learn to change your equipment to handle your needs as you go along. I also did not take a minimalist approach. I rode Eagle for most of the year but as soon as I broke one thing, I changed it all back to 11-speed. It is much cheaper and in European and America, they haven't taken to it that broadly and it was hard to find parts in many shops. How do riders get into a good position racing enduro? Many of the names in the top 30 come from downhill and there are not so many young guys. It is still new, so if you've made a name for yourself already, it is going to stay that way, but there is not too much space for new guys coming in.It is difficult to break into the top 30 in the elites. Of the juniors that went to elites from last year, only one of them is getting good results. Even in downhill, it is getting harder and that is why Stefan Garlicki's race in Val di Sole was really amazing. Are you going to race the EWS again next year? I am not. I'm going to focus on longer enduro events, 5 to 6 days races in more remote areas. I'm looking at doing Trans Costa Rica and Trans New Zealand. I think it will suit me better as it will be blind racing with greater fitness demands.I think the EWS has almost become glorified downhill. I think going into elite is just going to be a step too far for me, especially being unsupported. One or two juniors will get a pro contract next year and I am not one of them. It will be very hard to go into elites unsupported and I do not think it is worth it for me. Unless you're a pro rider, I do not think it is possible. What are your local racing plans? I've got the Ezelenduro which is a highlight for me. That's the best South Africa can offer at the moment. I have to give Dan credit. He has created an awesome race that can compare to some of the international events.I'll also be doing SA Enduro Champs at Hakahana. I have never ridden there which could be a problem. And then some fun at Wines2Whales with Tim Wilkins. Matt was the winner of the inaugural EzelEnduro. Last year, he placed third. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie. What are you currently up to other than riding? I'm in my second year doing a BCom in Business Management. I am doing it over 5 years to accommodate my riding. Do you have ambitions to become a full supported pro rider? Realistically, I do not think so. I have had a taste of it this year. It is definitely not glamorous at all. I really enjoy racing bikes and always will. I am happy with how this year went but I want to try something new next year. But who knows, maybe something will come with that. Next year, I will do less overseas racing and maybe focus on building something locally for myself. But of course, if the opportunity arises I will certainly take it.Maybe two years ago when I was younger, it was certainly a major goal. Now I have realised that there are a lot of fast guys and it takes a lot to get there. Unfortunately, I am geographically limited. Just not having the infrastructure, like a ski lift to pump out as many runs as you can. If I were planning on going pro, I would definitely need to spend at least half the year overseas training. For marathon riders though, we have that dialled. There is no reason you can't be a marathon World Champion based in South Africa.
  8. Doesn't look like there has been any EWS hype on Hubland yet: http://www.enduroworldseries.com/ https://www.facebook.com/EnduroWorldSeries/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWS4nfoou79mwo9nHew49fA/videos?&ab_channel=EnduroWorldSeries Round 1 Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g4pzuZ9Iqo&ab_channel=Pinkbike http://www.vitalmtb.com/photos/features/Wynner-Wynner-EWS-Rotorua-Race-Day,10907/Slideshow,0/sspomer,2
  9. Round eight, the Bluegrass Finalenduro powered by SRAM, saw 500 riders undertake two huge days of riding that took them all the way from the highest peaks in Liguria all the way to the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. But with a course that took in over 100km, the riders didn't have time to stop and admire the views - especially as there were World Champion titles at stake. In the lead up to the race all eyes were focused on the battle for the Men's title. All of the individual titles had been decided in previous rounds - except one. The men's championship race was a straight fight between legendary rider Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) and young Frenchman Adrien Dailly (Lapierre). Sam led throughout day one, but Adrien pushed him to the limit - at one point just three seconds separated the pair. In the end the tough, physical course played to Hill's strengths and his third position in the race was enough to secure him his first Enduro World Champion title. Speaking after the race Sam said: "It was a tough couple of days of racing so I just tried to stay smooth and consistent and put down the best stage times I could. I'll be back for sure next season - I want to come back and defend that title." Sam Hill. Photo credit: Enduro World Series However neither Hill nor Dailly could match the pace of Damien Oton (Devinci Global Racing) this weekend, who put in an incredible performance to take the race. Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) made a triumphant return after a crash ended his race early at the last round in Whistler, putting in blistering times to finish in second place. Sam Hill rounded out the podium in third place. Damien Oton. Photo credit: Enduro World Series In the women's race it won't come as a surprise to anyone that reigning World Champion Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Team) will be holding the title for another year. She made sure she finished the season in style by winning the race as well as the Championship. Isabeau Courdurier (SUNN) and Katy Winton (Trek Factory Racing Enduro Team) came second and third respectively - reflecting their positions in the overall standings as well. Cecile said: "I'm so happy to win the title for the second year in a row. It was a tough race but getting the race win and the overall means a lot - the perfect way to end the season." Cecile Ravanel. Photo credit: Enduro World Series Killian Callaghan had the U21 Men Championship sewn up coming into this race, and took it easy this weekend to finish in seventh place. Whistler local Rhys Verner stormed to victory in this weekend's race - giving a time that would have put him in the top 20 of the senior men. It was a similar story in the U21 Women as Martha Gill's consistent season meant she was already World Champion as she left the start gate on Saturday. British newcomer Ella Conolly made quite the EWS debut, winning this weekend's race. Karim Amour (BH-Miranda Racing Team) won seven of this year's races, meaning his first Enduro World Champion title was already in the bag. However, Rene Wildhaber proved too much for him on the day, winning five stages to take the race. In the Master Women consistent results from Mary Mcconneloug saw her clinch the title, whilst in the race it was Canadian Christina De Vall who graced the top step of the podium. In the team competition Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team are the new World Champions, Rocky Mountain Urge bp are second and Canyon Factory Enduro Team third. Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said: "What a finish to the year. It's been a great season and rolling into Finale feels like coming home. The series has come a long way in the last five years and I couldn't be prouder of the athletes, the organisers and the whole team that makes the series happen." Results from the weekend can be found here.
  10. Both Cecile (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Team) and Adrien (Lapierre) dominated their respective fields - Ravanel winning all six stages and Dailly winning three. Katy Winton (Trek Factory Racing) posted a career best second place after impressive times all day, with Rocky Mountain Urge bp's Andreane Lanthier Nadeau equalling her best EWS result with third place. Fans in awe as Cecile Ravanel battles the top rocks on stage 3. Speaking after the race Cecile said: "I enjoyed the race today but it was not easy, the trails were slippy but I'm happy with my performance and I'm looking forward to France next." In the men's race series leader Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team) had the weight of his native Ireland on his shoulders as the crowds willed him to win on home soil for the third year in a row, but his eventual 10th place was enough to secure his series lead. Dailly proved the strongest rider on the day, putting five seconds into second placed Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) and 18 seconds into Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) in third. Adrien said: "I'm happy and surprised to win here, it was a good race and I loved having all the fans to cheer me on." The young Frenchman is showing such racing experience, Adrien Dailly picked up his second round win here in Ireland. In the U21 Men Elliot Heap (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) enjoyed his first EWS win, with Thibault Laly in second and Lucas Cole in third. Estelle Charles had a stormer of a race to win U21 Women, with Leah Maunsell in second and Martha Gill in third. Karim Amour (BH-Miranda Racing Team) continues his charge in the Master's category with another win, whilst Nigel Page (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) had to settle for second and Woody Hole (Hope) third. In the Master's Women Soph Bagnall clinched the win, with series leader Mary Mcconneloug in second and Orla McClean in third. Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team lead the team rankings, closely followed by Canyon Factory Enduro Team in second with Rocky Mountain Urge-bp in third place. The fans came out in all shapes and sizes. Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said: "Once again Ireland has delivered us an incredible race. I'm always blown away by the level of support and enthusiasm for the sport here in Ireland and this year's fans did not disappoint - to see thousands of them lining the trails was just amazing and created such an unbelievable atmosphere for the riders." Full results from the race can be found here. The Enduro World Series returns for round five on June 30 for the Natural Games EWS Millau driven by Urge bp.
  11. The third round of the Enduro World Series proved to be one of the most challenging to date - both race days stayed dry but rain on the first day of practice left its mark on the already difficult tracks. The variety of trails - from steep and rocky to long and physical - caught out plenty of riders, leading to heartbreak for Jesse Melamed (Rocky Mountain Urge-bp) who led for most of the race until a mechanical on stage seven ended his day. The men's race came down to the wire, with just two seconds separating Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team) and Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) going into the final stage of the day. However it was Callaghan who pulled ahead to win the race, taking five seconds out of Maes, with Damien Oton (Devinci Global Racing) coming third. Now sitting top in the series rankings, Greg said: "It was a hard weekend. I knew before the race it was going to be eventful with a lot of mechanicals and a lot of problems for people and so I tried to play it consistent. There was so many people that could have won this weekend so I'm over the moon - it was amazing, absolutely amazing." It was a different story in the women's race, with Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Team) dominating from the outset, winning all but one stage. Isabeau Courdurier (Sunn) won a stage but it wasn't enough to counter Ravanel's speed and she had to settle for second. Israeli privateer Noga Korem put in an incredible performance that was rewarded with third place. Cecile said: "It was hard because it was really slippery and stage three was scary. It was amazing though, to find all these different stages for enduro; long stages, short stages, some pedalling sections but not too long and some downhill steep stages - I really enjoyed everything in this race." In the U21 Men Thibault Laly of France won, followed by Vajtech Blaha in second and Gabriel Torralba in third. Estelle Charles took the win in U21 women, Martha Gill was second and local rider Caroline Costa took third. In the Master's Women Mary Mcconnelloug was the sole competitor, but still put in a blistering time. Karim Amour (BH-Miranda Racing Team) won convincingly in the Master's Men, with Nigel Page (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) in second and reigning World Champion Michael Broderick in third. In the team competition Cube Action Team took team of the day, but it's Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team who lead the category in the overall rankings. Full results available now here. The Enduro World Series returns for round four on May 27th for the Emerald Enduro in County Wicklow, Ireland.
  12. The dry and dusty conditions of practice were quickly forgotten as the riders set out in torrential rain to tackle seven stages which covered 57 kilometres and 1500 metres of climbing. Stages that had been hailed as the most fun ever during practice became a lot more intimidating in the wet and caught many a rider off guard come race day. However, as with round one in Rotorua, the tough conditions made for exciting racing, with an ever set of changing results in the men’s race. In the end it was Adrien Dailly (Lapierre Gravity Republic) who reigned supreme - taking his first win since moving up from the U21 category. Despite leading after stage six, a crash on the last stage of the day cost Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team) dearly and pushed him back into second place. A late resurgence from Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) saw him win stages five and seven and clinch third place in the process. Adrien Dailly in full attack mode on stage 5. Photo credit: Enduro World Series. Speaking after the race Adrien said: “I was very happy but also really surprised to take the win. I’ve won as an U21 before but this is my first win in the men’s category and it means a lot. I loved the trails here in Derby and the crowds were amazing, it was such a great event. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season now." In the women’s race Isabeau Courdurier (SUNN) made her intentions clear from the start, winning the first three stages. Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Team) rallied to take stages four and five, but it wasn’t enough to match Isabeau’s pace and the young French rider took her first Enduro World Series win. Cecile had to settle for second place and a hard fought battle by Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team) saw her take a very deserved third place. It didn't take long for the goggles to be rendered useless, Isabeau charging on stage 1 and setting the tone for the day. Photo: Enduro World Series. Isabeau said: “I was not expecting this after Rotorua. I’ve been sick and today I was feeling quite good but I was thinking just ride calm, just ride safe, you need to finish this race. The conditions were really tough because I’m not used to riding in the wet but I just kept calm and chose some nice lines and it worked. I have no words for today - It cannot be better than this.” In the Master’s Men it was Karim Amour (BH Miranda Racing Team) who won, with Nigel Page (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) in second and reigning World Champion Michael Broderick in third. Mary Mcconneloug won Master’s Women, with Australians Jodi Newton and Sharon Heap in second and third respectively. Brian Regnier squeezing those 800m bars through the rock slab. Photo credit: Enduro World Series. In the U21 men it was Australian Ben McIlroy who stormed to the win, with fellow Aussie Blake Pearce coming in second and New Zealand’s Ben Friel in third. Martha Gill was the lone U21 Women but posted a very competitive time nonetheless. Rocky Mountain Urge bp picked up Team of the Day, with Canyon Factory Enduro Team in second and Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team in third. GT Factory Racing still lead the overall team competition though, followed by Canyon Factory Enduro Team in second and Rocky Mountain Urge bp in third. Stage 6 in all its glory from the main road. Photo credit: Enduro World Series. Full results from the race are available here. The Enduro World Series returns on April 13 for round three from the beautiful Atlantic island of Madeira for the Enduro World Series Powered by Freeride Madeira.
  13. Who hasn’t dreamt of chasing a wild childhood dream? On Thursday, 05 January 2017, Stellenbosch local Martin Zietsman will be taking a life changing step in the pursuit of such a dream (well actually 2 dreams). As you read this, he has packed up and sold up his life in South Africa and is headed to the UK where he will be taking up the role as a design engineer for Bilstein, one of the world’s largest vehicle suspension manufacturers. At the same time, he will be pursuing his goal and dream of competing on the international mountain biking circuit, where he hopes to break into the Enduro World Series. Click here to view the article
  14. Riding as a Knolly Bikes grassroots team rider, and supported by Trailtech Cycles, Maxxis Tyres, South Industries, Leatt Protectives, and MRP in 2017, he hopes to gain the experience and skills required to be competitive on the EWS circuit in 2018. This first part in the planned video series covers his background and why he’s taking on such an ambitious move, as well as providing you with a colourful, berm smashing, trail ripping, pedal stomping edit to push your visual senses to overload (editing courtesy of Hayden Brown Visual Media). Over the course of the coming year, the video series will be detailing what it takes to try and break into the international racing circuit, including what sacrifices you have to make and the hard work you have to put in, how to adapt to new climates and being abroad, and the highs and lows of racing in Europe. Additionally, which is seldom covered in video series, he wants to show what it takes to market yourself, how to attract sponsors and how to create value for sponsors, especially when abroad. Apart from the obvious goal of wanting to chase his cycling dreams and ambitions, there’s another important motive behind the video series: I hope to show other South Africans that it is possible for us to compete overseas and hopefully inspire the younger generations to not only become more active in this sport, but also to realise that anything is possible if you want it badly enough and are willing to work for it. I want them to dream bigger and to believe that it is possible. The Bike Hub will showcase some race reports and pictures from Martin's key races abroad. His planned race schedule includes: Enduro World Series (4 races: dependant on the entry lottery system) 6 EWS qualifying races British Enduro series – the full series Tweedlove Scottish Enduro series UK Enduro Championships Scottish Enduro Championships Italian SuperEnduro A number of local and regional Enduro races To see more of what Martin is up to and to get regular updates of his adventures, follow him on his social media platforms: Instagram: @fietsman_SA Facebook: www.faceboook.com/zietsmanracing Twittter: @fietsman_SA
  15. You have travelled extensively: Where is your favourite destination for riding? I think New Zealand. With the two islands you have a lot of variety. On the North Island you can ride in the forest, jungle, and technical slow trails. On the South Island there are good bike parks like Queenstown, and also a lot of natural trails, both open and Alpine stuff; a good mix. And you can go riding in the morning and go to the beach in the afternoon, which you can do in South Africa too. This is your second time to South Africa. What trails have you ridden during your trip and have you enjoyed them? I liked Tokai, when I was here on my first trip. It was my backyard when I was staying here for three weeks, but this time it’s not open yet. It’s a good reason to come back.This trip I have ridden at Jonkershoek, Grabouw, Helderberg, and just below Table Mountain at Rhodes Memorial and the cable station. So is Tokai comparable with the world class trails you have been exposed to? Yes, I really liked the flow we had at Tokai, it has a good gradient, a nice climb, and I could do good training. The downhills are nice and technical but still with good flow. It’s not flat like some bike parks, the trails had rocks and roots, and baboons to avoid. Photo credit: Jeremie Reuiller. How did you get into enduro? I started riding bikes because I was doing cross country skiing and my trainer was doing mountain biking in the summer, so instead of running only he suggested a bit of mountain biking. I ended up doing a bit of everything. I liked both cross-country and downhill.When I turned 15, the only race that existed that combined the two was Megavalanche, and it became my main focus of the season. In 2006, we had the first Enduro National Series, and when that appeared I left downhill and cross-country and went to that full time. You have won Megavalanche three times- what is the secret to winning this event? Firstly, you have to be a little bit crazy at the start. I often say that you don’t win the race on the glacier, but for sure you lose it. The key point is to be in the top five at the end of the glacier. Then afterwards its forty minutes of downhill with some very physical sections so you have to minimise your mistakes and be able to ride fast for 40 minutes downhill. So it is important to be able to ride fast downhill when you are very tired. How much fitness and training goes into preparation for a race? Training is getting more and more important every year. I do gym, cross country skiing, dirt jumping, and I spend a lot of time on the road. This year I am also going to start with some motorbike- I haven’t done that before. Mentally, is there anything you do to focus before a big stage? How do you deal with the pressure? The hardest part for me is probably the practice. For two days of practice and one day of racing you have to be focussed all the time. I try to be really precise with what I do in practice ad to remember the key points. I then focus on what I learned in practice, so that when I start a stage there is only one thing in my mind, and that is what I should remember for that stage. When you start your race run you can’t think of anything else.Sometimes when something is really sketchy, instead of going full gas, I sit back a little bit. I might lose 1 or 2 seconds but at least I can ride confidently and I will not be focussed on this part of the trail the entire way down. Then I can ride fast and not be worried about a specific section. Everyday riders and privateers can come and ride an EWS event. Is that something you like? For me, that is the root of the sport and its success because when you go to an event any weekend warrior can race with the top guys. They spend the day outside together, the same rules apply, there is no advantage. That for me is a key point to keep.World Series races are getting harder and more people may need to do some races beforehand. Some people were racing their first race ever at the World Series and that may be too much. Some kind of selection may be necessary for safety and to ensure that the speed differences are not too big. EWS are working on a ranking system and qualification events. Photo credit: Jeremie Reuiller. Has enduro influenced the way bikes are designed? Maybe the other way round? I think both. When people start riding mountain bikes often what they want to do is climb up the hill - no matter how they climb - and then have fun on the downhill. That basically is enduro, you climb up, and find a fun way to go down. So the bikes were already designed. With technology progressing, we have more and more parts that are enduro specific, but you can also fit them on any kind of bike. For example: dropper posts were originally made for enduro, but I have one on my cross country bike, and Julian Absalon and some of the XCO guys, they use them for cross country now. Bikes are changing a lot, more and more things are getting lighter and stronger, with more travel to give riders a better experience. Photo credit: Jeremie Reuiller. You are riding a Cannondale Jekyll prototype. Is that something you work with Cannondale to develop or do they design it and give it to you to test? The riders have been involved in the development of the bike for almost two years.First we sit down with the product manager and talk about the good points of the bike, and what we would like to improve, what we have seen on other bikes and would like to try. It’s all about geometries and suspension design, so that’s all paper and numbers. Then the engineer works on our feedback and they come with a prototype that we can test and give them feedback to make some changes. So the company and the engineers have some ideas about where they want to go, what they want, and what the market wants, but they also listen to the rider, and our feedback. I think it is quite essential for them. Cannondale is a racing brand, and they use their racers in their programs to develop the bike and make a better bike, whether in cross country or enduro. So yes, we are very involved, and it is interesting to work with companies like that to try and develop a better bike every year.
  16. Jérôme Clementz is an enduro racer and all-around talented mountain biker riding for the Cannondale Pro team. A previous champion of the Enduro World Series (EWS), Jérôme placed third overall in 2016. We caught up with him in Cape Town during a recent holiday to South Africa. Click here to view the article
  17. Martin chuffed with his win on the last leg of the 2016 Enduro World Series in Finale Ligure, Italy. Photo: EWS I had the privilege of joining Martin (along with his team mate, and downhiller, Sam Dale) for a trip up the Garden Route on the first leg of the GT Good Times Tour. After sharing many trails, stories and smiles and some good South African hospitality we sat down with Martin to fire off a few questions. Your family has a strong background in bikes (your Dad racing DH, BMX and others). Where did it all start for you competitively? I’d always been watching my Dad’s racing all through Europe when I was young so I kind of wanted to do the same and this is how everything started. At 6 years old I did my first race as soon as I could and, yeah, I kept going Your background in both cross country and downhill seems like the perfect mix for Enduro. Which discipline would you say helps you the most? I did some dual slalom races and four cross as well. I’ve always loved jumping and riding my little bike and I think that’s most of it. When you start racing, if you can jump you can pretty much do everything so I would say that’s the main thing really. What made you focus on Enduro rather than World Cup Downhill (or any other discipline)? Just because I live in Belgium and you know we don’t have much elevation. So basically if I want to ride my downhill bike I need to do maybe two hours driving, or at least one hour. It’s not perfect and you can’t really train short tracks. Enduro is kind of easy for me, I’ve got the forest next to my door so I just take my bike and I can go train so it’s really easy. We know Belgium for flat lands, beer and road bikes. Where do you get your mountain bike training in? I actually live in quite a good place to ride a bike, it’s quite hilly, well, as I said before the elevation drop is not much, but you can do something. For example if I go for a 50 kilometer ride I can get over 1000m of elevation so it’s not bad. What bike (or bikes) would you take along to a typical EWS round? I always take my [GT] Sanction. Do you want my setup too? It might be secret [chuckles].No, I have a 170mm fork which is quite big. Pretty much all the riders are using 160mm still, but I think it fits well with the Sanction which is a really big bike. I usually run the Schwalbe’s with cut spikes upfront which is not very usual and quite low pressure. Martin put in an aggressive performance to win the final round of the 2016 Enduro World Series in Finale Ligure, Italy. Photo: EWS Looking back at your EWS win at Finale did you have any idea while on course that you were on the way your your first win? No, not really. I felt obviously strong, but not stronger than usual. But my fitness was really good and the setup on my bike as well. I just felt really good all week. Even at practice I just felt, I dunno, like maybe something was coming, something special at least. It’s strange that that was obviously good to put it all together and finally get that win. Aside from Italy, which was your favorite EWS Round in 2016? I think Argentina was my favourite, it was pretty special because of the dust. Like I’ve never seen anything like this. So that’s the one I probably remember the most. Is this your first visit to SA? What do you think of the trails so far? Yeah, first time in South Africa and it’s a good country. I really like it, I’ve had so much fun with the GT Good Times Tour in South Africa so far. We rode the Garden Route Trail park and that’s, well, some of the best trails I’ve ever ridden, probably in my life. It was a good surprise. So they don’t have much elevation, but you know the work they put into it and everything was just really awesome. It’s a beautiful place as well. Just hanging out at the Garden Route Trail Park Find out more about the GT Good Times Tour here.
  18. We chat to nineteen year old Enduro star Martin Maes of GT Factory Racing who was recently in South Africa for the GT Good Times Tour. Having closed out the Enduro World Series season in fine fashion with his first win in Italy, Maes will be an exciting contender heading into 2017. Click here to view the article
  19. The 2016 Enduro World Series drew to a close in its traditional home of Finale Ligure - and the Bluegrass Finale Enduro powered by SRAM will go down in the history books for a myriad of reasons. Click here to view the article
  20. Cecile had no overall pressure having already sealed the series win but still raced 100% for the win. Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro) won her first Enduro World Champion title, Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Shox) became the first man to be crowned World Champion back to back and two legends of the sport Nico Vouilloz (Lapierre Gravity Republic) and Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team) announced their retirement from the sport. And if that wasn’t enough, Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) took his first ever race win. Martin Maes keeping things low on stage 3. Starting high in the Ligurian mountains, the 400 riders competing spent two days and seven stages riding their way through sun drenched trails down to the inviting waters of the Mediterranean far below. In the men’s race Martin Maes stated his intention clearly on day one - winning all three of Saturday’s stages. He eased off the gas on Sunday to secure his position and the tactic paid off - taking his first win by a margin of 17 seconds over second placed Richie Rude. Consistency all weekend topped by a stage win saw Nico Lau (Cube Action Team) take third place. Speaking about his race win, Martin said: “I’m so stoked to win. I’ve been waiting for so long for this and I’m just so happy for my team GT, for my sponsors and for all the people who have been supporting me over the years.” And Richie added: “To lead the series from the first race and then to come second today and get the overall again feels amazing. I was playing it safe today but I was having a lot of fun too. This was my chance to get the double and I got it - now I’m just looking forward to a couple of weeks off.” Miranda Miller out of the gate on stage 5, she held down third place most of this weekend but it slipped after a bad last two stages. In the women’s category the race results perfectly reflected the overall series rankings, with Cecile coming first, Isabeau Courdurier (SUNN) in second and Anita Gehrig (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team) in third. The overall series podium was the same, and Cecile will start the 2017 season with the number one plate on her bike. Cecile said: “I had a little crash on stage one and that woke me up - I knew I had the title already so I was just riding for pleasure today. I’ve been working towards this moment all year and so have my team, so it’s great to be able to do this for them.” Damian Oton finds his way through the undulating grey earth. In the Master’s category it was Karim Amour who won the race, but it was Michael Broderick of the USA who finished the day as the Master World Champion. His dominance all year meant that even racing with broken ribs sustained in Valberg couldn't stop him from claiming the series. Raphaela Richter (Radon Magura Factory Racing) stormed to victory in both the race and the series in the U21 women’s category. Her U21 male counterpart Adrien Dailly (Lapierre Gravity Republic) followed suit winning the race and becoming the World Champion in the process. In the team competition Rocky Mountain Urge bp continued their strong season to leave Finale the Team World Champions. Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series said: “Our 30th event, our fourth round of champions and all in the place where it all began, the stunning Finale Ligure. The local team did an outstanding job of trail building and preparing for this year, as did the riders for holding it together on seven insane stages after a long season of racing around the globe. A massive congratulations to our 2016 world champions and a huge thanks to all of our riders, teams, fans, organisers and supporters who are the reason the series can happen.” The series winners. Results from this weekend can be found here and the full highlights show will be out very soon!
  21. The Enduro World Series will crown its World Champions in Finale this weekend at the last race of the year, the Bluegrass Finale Enduro powered by SRAM. Click here to view the article
  22. Finale Outdoor Resort will once again host the closing race of the season, as 500 riders take to the iconic trails of this Italian resort against the backdrop of the Mediterranean sea. Starting high in the Ligurian mountains, competitors will encounter the region’s famously diverse trails as they tackle seven stages over two days of racing. With 3250m of climbing and descent taking place over 100km, racers are in for long days in the saddle, but will be more than rewarded by the incredible riding on offer - as well as the obligatory gelato on the beach. And for five riders the stakes couldn’t be higher - as they push to be crowned the 2016 Enduro World Champions. In the Men’s race Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Shox) is on course to pick up his second World Champion title - the first man to ever do so. The American has won four of this season’s seven races and sits 390 points ahead in the title race. However, anything can, and does happen in racing, and a bad result could still be enough for second placed Damien Oton (Devinci Global Racing) to pip him to the title. And with former champion Jerome Clementz (Cannondale) just 120 points back on Oton in third place, neither will be able to relax this weekend. In the women’s race Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Team) will lift the World Champion trophy on Sunday, no matter what her result. Ravanel has dominated all season long - winning six races this year and building herself an insurmountable lead in the process. A good result from Isabeau Courdurier (SUNN) should secure her second place, but the battle for third is going to be intense. Anita Gehrig (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race) is just 70 points up on Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team) and both will be racing their heart out for that coveted podium spot. The points literally couldn’t be closer in the U21 Men’s race with Adrien Dailly (Lapierre Gravity Republic) and Sebastien Claquin (Rocky Mountain Urge bp) tied in points. Dailly technically leads the series after his win at the last round in Valberg, but this race will come down to the wire - whoever wins this weekend will leave Finale the World Champion. Raphaela Richter (Radon Matura Factory Racing) still leads the U21 Women’s category, but Martha Gill (Marin Stan’s) and Abigail Lawton are both in contention and a win from either this weekend would be enough to claim the title. The USA’s Michael Broderick has all but sewn up his Master’s title with a 300 point lead over Karim Amour, but don’t expect the Frenchman to go down without a fight. Milan Cizinsky (Ghost Factory Racing Riot) is only 70 points back on Amour in third and will be chasing hard. Series leaders Rocky Mountain Urge bp are the favourites to walk away with the team title, but face stiff competition from Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team and Canyon Factory Enduro Team. Finale always puts on an incredible show to celebrate the end of the season, and this year riders will be greeted with even more fanfare as they return to Finale, thanks to the FLOW festival. This annual mountain bike festival celebrates Finale’s love of the outdoors and will see fans able to not only see their heroes up close in the race paddock, but also demo bikes from the festival as well as take part in different skill sessions and outdoor activities including stand up paddle boarding and rock climbing. Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said: “Finale was where it all began and four years later, the world famous piazza is where we mark the 30th event of the Enduro World Series. From the Nato base to the sea, the Finale mountains and coastline hold a very special place in the hearts and minds of the EWS and all mountain bikers - it feels like the perfect place to celebrate our champions and spend the last few days with friends and colleagues before the long winter months. We are proud to be hosted by Finale Outdoor Resort and the FLOW festival and extend that warm Ligurian welcome to all the riders, teams and fans that will join us over this very special weekend."
  23. Richie Rude looks up to full health as he attacks the first corner of the final stage. Credit: Enduro World Series. Both Rude (Yeti Fox Shox) and Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Team) each staged incredible comebacks after their days got off to a bad start. Cecile suffered mechanicals on both stages one and two, whilst Richie had to contend with a flat tyre on stage two. This put both of them at a disadvantage going into the next stages - with Cecile only just making her stage three start time. Cecile had a mechanical with her drivetrain and a flat on the second stage yet battled on to take the win. Credit: Enduro World Series. Everything hinged on the epic stage five, the famous Top of the World trail. Isabeau Courdurier (Sunn) led the women's race all the way to the stage five, but a blistering time from Cecile was enough for the series leader to clinch the win. It was a similar story in the men's race - Whistler local Jesse Melamed (Rocky Mountain Urge bp) was on course for his first EWS win and on home soil too, but Rude's run on stage five put paid to that and he went on to win both the stage and the race. Josh Carlson (Giant Factory Off Road Team) and Casey Brown (Trek Factory Racing) both occupied the third step of the podium. Miranda Miller makes easy work of the blown out chute on stage 4. Her consistent day took her to 4th place. Credit: Enduro World Series. In the Under 21 Men's race Adrien Dailly (Lapierre Gravity Republic) smashed the field once again to win, with Sebastien Claquin (Rocky Mountain Urge bp) in second and Rhys Verner in third. In the U21 Women Canadian Jennifer McTavish led out Martha Gill (Marin Stan's). Chris Johnston has had some impressive stage results so far this year. Credit: Enduro World Series. In the Master's race it was Brian Lopes who romped to victory, with Michael Broderick in second and Master's World Champion Woody Hole (Hope) in third. Brian Lopes rallied his way to the masters category win. Credit: Enduro World Series. In the team competition Rocky Mountain Urge bp were team of the day, with Giant Off Road Factory Team in second and Ibis Cycles Enduro Race in third. There were a couple of rock rolls on stage 2, Whistler classic tech. Credit: Enduro World Series. The competition heads back to Europe for the last two rounds of the year, first to Valberg-Guillaumes in France before the 2016 World Champions are crowned in Finale, Italy.
  24. Richie Rude and Cecile Ravanel have done it again - they win the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro Presented by Specialized. Click here to view the article
  25. The melting pot of Whistler was once again turned up to 11. There is one thing this venue never fails to provide and that is intensity. With a 70km loop packed into one boiling hot day over five stages, it was always going to serve up some surprises and challenges, the riders probably didn’t think there would be quite as many as there were. Click here to view the article
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