The Enduro World Series will once more crown its World Champions in Finale this weekend at the last race of the year, the Bluegrass FinalEnduro powered by SRAM.
For the fifth time, Finale Outdoor Resort will host the closing race of the season, as 500 riders take to the iconic trails of this Italian resort as they race all the way from the mountains to the sea.
This year riders will get to explore a completely new area, as the first day of racing takes them to trails in the Val Maremola, Lona and Pietra Ligure regions. For the first time, there will be a stage that leaves from the highest peak in the area, opening up a whole new network of trails that will challenge and push the riders. The race will feature seven stages over two days and and take in over 100km, enough to test even the hardiest of riders as they struggle to keep bike and body together as they head back to the famous Finale Piaza on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Enrico Guala, of the organising committee, said: “The 2017 EWS Finale Ligure Course, this year part of the FLOW Festival, will expand everyone’s perception of this incredible riding destination on the Mediterranean Riviera. During the first four years, we have been riding the classic spot in Finale Ligure and the surrounding villages, Nato Base, Madonna della Guardia, Ivoland, Le Manie, surfing from the flowy beech forest trails of the Melogno to the gnarly lines of DH men above Varigotti.
But there is way more to discover and ride around Finale. And it’s where we will guide you for the 10th anniversary of FinalEnduro, fifth EWS in a row that will wrap the 2017 season on the Riviera shores. Finale Outdoor Resort territory includes the the highest peak of the Province of Savona, Mount Carmo at 1398mt above sea level. The peak where EWS riders will start their race this year, pushing the borders of what you can ride in a single day.”
And for two riders the stakes couldn’t be higher next weekend – as a whole season of hard work comes down to this race and the chance to be crowned the World Champion. Legend of the sport Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) will be going head to head with the young Frenchman Adrien Daily (Lapierre) as they do battle for the Men’s title. Hill’s slim lead of 110 points in the series rankings over Dailly means he can’t afford to relax for a second this weekend – both riders will be pushing themselves to the limit in a bid to secure their first Enduro World Champion titles. Also in with an outside chance is Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team) who has 400 points to make up on Hill, but a bad day in the office for both Hill and Dailly could still see him clinch the title.
In the women’s race Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Team) has already sealed the title for the second year in a row, but the battle for second place couldn’t be tighter. Katy Winton (Trek Factory Racing Enduro Team) and Isabeau Courdurier (SUNN) are tied on 2070 points, and just 50 points back is Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team). Anita Gehrig (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team) lies fourth and a good race from her could still see her finish the season in the top three.
It’s a done deal in the U21 men as well, with Killian Callaghan’s incredible season allowing him to take it easy in Italy, safe in the knowledge that the World Champion title is his. It’s a similar story in the U21 Women, with Martha Gill’s consistent results all year cementing her place in the history books.
Karim Amour (BH-Miranda Racing Team) has won six of this season’s seven races and will roll up to the start line this weekend already the Master category champion. Mary Mcconneloug has done likewise in Master’s Women, but don’t expect either her or Karim to be taking it easy – they’ll both be looking for a race win as well the overall title.
Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team lead the team points by a slim margin over last year’s winner Rocky Mountain Urge bp, with Canyon Factory Enduro team lying third.
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, thanks to the FLOW festival. This annual outdoor sports 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 expo as well as take part in different skill sessions and outdoor activities including stand up paddle boarding and rock climbing all around the wider Finale area.
Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said: “There’s no better place to wrap up what has been an incredible season. It’s felt that the whole series, its riders and partners have truly stepped up another notch this year and we look forward to celebrating the culmination of it all once again on the shores of the Mediterranean.”
And don’t forget you can follow this weekend’s race through live timing, race feed and Quarq GPS on enduroworldseries.com/live