That’s a wrap!

The Enduro World Series is done and dusted for another year. Let’s take a look back at a season of electrifying racing and epic firsts, with defending champions Sam Hill and Cecile Ravanel…

ROUND 1: LO BARNECHEA, CHILE  

It was hard to know what to expect after a long off-season of training that saw a raft of riders moving teams. Big changes bred fierce expectation going into the ‘anti-grip’ dust fest at Lo Barnechea. The blue touch paper was lit in the wild and rocky Andes. There was little time for pleasantries as the series got off to a bang, with over 80km of racing and the longest stage in EWS history ahead of the fresh faced field.

Last year’s series winner Sam Hill clinched the overall victory after a close fought battle with Martin Maes. While fellow defending champion Cecile Ravanel secured her first round of the year, and a record sixteenth EWS victory, despite mechanical issues…

What Cecile says…

“I think this was actually my most important win of the series. It was a real physical test. We reached more than 3000 meters of altitude in Chile, and it was a weekend packed full of long descents into the sand and rocks on very hard ground. This win gave me the confidence I needed to push on for the rest of the year.”

Results:

Men:

1st: Sam Hill (AUS)
2nd: Martin Maes (BEL)
3rd: Robin Wallner (SWE)

Women:

1st: Cecile Ravanel (FRA)
2nd: Isabeau Courdurier (FRA)
3rd: Katy Winton (GBR)

[WATCH] the full EWS Round 1 highlights below:

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ROUND 2: MANIZALES, COLOMBIA  

The Colombian leg of the series featured the first ever EWS urban stage, opening with a high-intensity street race. The 20,000 strong crowd were treated to some out of this world riding as the pros bounced off concrete walls, weaved down stone staircases, and exploited the novelty of the grippy tarmac.

Enter the jungle. Away from the streets, the humidity and heavy rainfall from the night before made for punishing track conditions. The remaining stages pushed riders to their limits, and with extreme physicality came some big crashes.

Hill and Ravanel grabbed top spots again after slow starts to a weekend that was both gruelling and gripping in equal measure. This was one that no-one would be forgetting in a hurry.  

What Cecile says…

“Urban stages give the series a new edge. The one in Colombia was, without doubt, the most spectacular. It felt like a football world cup final!”

Results:

Men:

1st: Sam Hill (AUS)
2nd: Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (COL)
3rd: Damien Oton (FRA)

Women:

1st: Cecile Ravanel (FRA)
2nd: Isabeau Courdurier (FRA)
3rd: Katy Winton (GBR)

[WATCH] the full EWS Round 2 highlights below:

ROUND 3: OLARGUES-MONTAGNES DU CAROUX, FRANCE

Homegrown talent crowded the leaderboard going into Round 3 in France. It was a story of roots, rocks and the second urban stage of the series. All eight stages held no prisoners, claiming Hill as its biggest casualty, with the men’s overall leader finishing in sixth place.

The resurgence of Richie Rude was perhaps the biggest highlight of the weekend. The 2016 champion showed his intentions for the season with a strong performance and a well-deserved victory on the flowy French terrain.

Results:

Men:

1st: Richie Rude (USA)
2nd: Adrien Dailly (FRA)
3rd: Martin Maes (BEL)

Women:

1st: Cecile Ravanel (FRA)
2nd: Isabeau Courdurier (FRA)
3rd: Ines Thoma (GER)

[WATCH] the full EWS Round 3 highlights below:

ROUND 4: PETZEN AND JAMNICA, AUSTRIA/SLOVENIA

It was the first time an EWS event had stretched across two countries. And the weekend featured another EWS first with a 25 minute ride through a mineshaft. Flow and loam, and unforgiving forest singletracks put the field through one of the biggest challenges of the series so far, with the steep top second stage proving particularly nasty.  

Hill and Ravanel sat on top of the leaderboards after Stage 2. While a big crash for Scotland’s Katy Winton saw her plummet down the rankings.

Maes wasn’t giving up. The Belgian pushed hard and his efforts saw him go into the final stage just 1.6 seconds off first place. Hill eventually clung on to take the win.

What Sam says…

“I think the level of the riding has progressed. I also think there are a few new faces coming on strong, which also which adds more competition into the mix. There’s never an easy weekend. There’s always going to be someone just over your shoulder, pushing you the distance.”

Results:

Men:

1st: Sam Hill (AUS)
2nd: Martin Maes (BEL)
3rd: Robin Wallner (SWE)

Women:

1st: Cecile Ravanel (FRA)
2nd: Isabeau Courdurier (FRA)
3rd: Casey Brown (CAN)

[WATCH] the full EWS Round 4 highlights below:

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ROUND 5: LA THUILE, ITALY

The EWS returned to Italy for the first time since last year’s finale. The country has been a constant fixture on the series since its inception, with Round 5 the first of two Italian instalments in 2018.

The series holders both held convincing overall leads going into a highly-anticipated weekend set against the dramatic backdrop of the La Thuile Alps. The two day event was a test of both mental and physical endurance with many of the big name challengers falling victim to mechanical issues.

Hill and Ravanel dominated on all fronts, eating up some of the toughest stages of the entire series.

Results:

Men:

1st: Sam Hill (AUS)
2nd: Martin Maes (BEL)
3rd: Eddie Masters (NZL)

Women:

1st: Cecile Ravanel (FRA)
2nd: Isabeau Courdurier (FRA)
3rd: Ines Thoma (GER)

[WATCH] the full EWS Round 5 highlights below:

ROUND 6: WHISTLER, CANADA

British Columbia’s Whistler Valley is a firm favourite among riders and fans, pulling in over 3 million visits every year. Home to Crankworx, the world’s biggest annual mountain bike festival, it’s a destination etched into MTB folklore and one of the most anticipated legs of the whole series.

Maes and Rude were riding high in Canada, taking first and second spots going into the Stage 5, the mammoth 11.5km route Top of the World. But it was to be the undoing of Rude, who picked up a flat and dropped to a disappointing 10th. Maes held strong to keep Hill at bay and take the top podium. While Ravanel kept up her 100% series record in a familiar one-two French finish in the women’s discipline.

What Sam says…

“Every series is awesome. We had some great new venues this year that I hadn’t been too before, so that was cool. I think what made 2018 so special for me was getting that fourth victory in Whistler. The season was an absolute dream for me really, I couldn’t have asked for much more.”

Results:

Men:

1st: Sam Hill (AUS)
2nd: Martin Maes (BEL)
3rd: Robin Wallner (SWE)

Women:

1st: Cecile Ravanel (FRA)
2nd: Isabeau Courdurier (FRA)
3rd: Casey Brown (CAN)

[WATCH] the full EWS Round 4 highlights below:

ROUND 7: AINSA-SOBRARBE, SPAIN

It was Spain’s turn to get in on the action as the tour hit series classic Sobrarbe for the first time since 2015’s notorious washout. Riders were blessed with blue skies and optimum conditions this time round, going into an event known for its big climbs.

Rude grabbed an early lead after stage one, and an impressive performance in Stage 2 put him in full control after day one. Ravanel took the initiative once more, showing us just why she’s the best in the world, going into day two with a 51 second lead over Isabeau Courdurier.

The story of the day was Hill’s comeback after a nightmare first day. The Aussie climbed the leaderboard from 128th, all the way to a respectable 11th place finish.

What Sam says…

“This was the toughest race for me. I think just the pressure I had on myself was a lot, it was hot and the stages were very physical. I also had a couple small mechanicals which made my race days even tougher.”

Results:

Men:

1st: Richie Rude (USA)
2nd: Martin Maes (BEL)
3rd: Damien Oton (FRA)

Women:

1st: Cecile Ravanel (FRA)
2nd: Isabeau Courdurier (FRA)
3rd: Andreane Lanthier Nadeau (CAN)

[WATCH] the full EWS Round 7 highlights below:

ROUND 8: FINALE LIGURE, ITALY

Finale Ligure is the birthplace of the EWS and only one of two destinations to feature on every single series schedule. Riders made the journey from Iberia to the Mediterranean with just four more stages ahead of them.

The end was in sight.

Rude continued his fine run of form taking all four stages, becoming the only man in EWS history to take a clean sweep. While Hill clinched the overall victory, finishing in 9th position after a day of ups and downs on the trails.

Ravanel edged out a fierce charge from Courdurier to make it three titles in her last three series, and eight wins out of eight in 2018.

There’s just no stopping her.

What Cecile says…

“I had to battle hard all year for this. It doesn’t matter where you’re riding, you always need to be on top of everything. It was important not to lose focus going into the final weekend because there wasn’t a big enough points difference. You’re always going to make mistakes, but as long as I was able to maintain that concentration I knew I had a good chance.”

Results:

Men:

1st: Richie Rude (USA)
2nd: Damien Oton (FRA)
3rd: Kevin Miquel (FRA)

Women:

1st: Cecile Ravanel (FRA)
2nd: Isabeau Courdurier (FRA)
3rd: Andreane Lanthier Nadeau (CAN)

[WATCH] the full EWS Round 8 highlights below:

UNTIL NEXT TIME

What a year, what a series.

Sam Hill and Cecile Ravanel showed yet again why they’re the ones to beat.

Both riders remained dominant throughout. But make no mistake, there’s still a whole crowd of riders snapping at their heels. Next year will likely prove an even tougher test as new pretenders to the throne emerge, and the EWS throw more curve balls into the mix.

Martin Maes and Richie Rude both made a statement this year with some exceptional rides, while Isabeau Courdurier will be hoping she can close the gap at the top.

Until next time.

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