In the hills above the dreamy Mediterranean Sea city of Finale Ligure, a dust storm stirred between the trees. Locals and tourists alike had little idea why the hordes of mountain bikers had doubled, and why all the pizzerias were running short on dough. All photos Brian Gerow.
Canadian rider Shane Kroeger, pinning it in practice across the largely flat first stage. Helmet cams are a valuable tool when you only get one pre-ride per track. This is particularly true with the one-day format, where times are tight and small mistakes are the difference between 1st and 21st place.
Some riders tested every possible line across this off-camber slab atop Rocche Gianche trail, while others hopped on their bikes and hit the fastest option with the highest consequences.
Practice runs allow time to dial in the lines and throw in a little style while the clock is not running.
An aerial view of the sea.
Noga Korem, of GT Factory Pro Racing, blasting the high line on this off-camber rock. Noga finished Sunday’s race in 8th position, capping off a hard-fought season with 4th place for the EWS series overall.
Yoann Barelli at full tilt in the final few turns of stage two.
French pro racer Isabeau Courdurier, had no trouble with the bread flour soil conditions, clipping out here to give the camera a little shower. She raced in a consistent second place for all 8 rounds of the EWS this season, resulting in second place for the overall.
The buzzing question for hundreds of fans hanging on the hillside was, “nose pivot or not?” The fastest folks provided answers by sticking to the rut with both tires.
Winner of the Men’s EWS overall, Sam Hill, made the cheese-grater DH Uomini track look like a road ride.
The number on her back tells the whole tale. Cecil Ravanel took the top step at all 8 rounds of the 2018 EWS, and earned solid results in a handful of World Cup downhill races during her leisure time.
After a rough start to the season, American rider Richie Rude took first place on all four stages for the weekend. With his win last weekend in Spain, Richey pushed himself up to finish in 7th place in the overall. Richie and Canadian racer, Jesse Melamed, were the only two competitors in the men’s overall top ten who had the dreaded DNF in their results.
Scottish shredder Katy Winton, rounded out the overall podium with a solid third place ranking for the season.
The cat-litter-lined tracks did give up their grip occasionally, and several riders had to scramble to their bikes before the next person under marginal control came sliding through. Pushing the limits as hard as these racers do sometimes means breaking right through them.
That’s a wrap for the 2018 Enduro World Series. All that’s left is the party, or the pizza, or both.
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