Who to watch at EWS Whistler this weekend!

07 August 2019

It’s round six of the Enduro World Series (EWS) and it’s back to the inimitable Whistler in Canada for the CamelBak Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized, part of the Crankworx Festival. 

Whistler has featured on the calendar every year since the series began - but the 2019 edition will be distinctly different as it moves to a two day format for the first time in its history. Nearly 700 riders will start their race this Saturday on one of the most iconic stages in Whistler, Top of the World. 

Sam Hill on Top of the World in 2018

Featuring over 2000 metres of descent down 11 kilometres of unrelenting singletrack, stage one will test the riders straight out of the start gate, on a track where races have traditionally been won and lost. And this could well be the case again this year, as Top of the World also serves as the Queen Stage, where extra points are up for grabs to whoever can triumph on one of the longest stages of the season. 

Sunday’s race will see another five stages on the menu, featuring a mixture of trails both in and outside of the Whistler Bike Park. And whilst racers will benefit from a few chairlift rides to rest their legs, the race still features 1400 metres of climbing over a course that encompasses 45km of  riding. 

Isabeau Courdurier has won every race so far this year and remains the favourite to do it again in Whistler

In the women’s competition Isabeau Courdurier (Intense Mavic Collective) will start the weekend as the favourite, after claiming the win at every race so far this season. Chasing her down will be second ranked Noga Korem (GT Factory Racing) who lies second in the rankings, and was on the podium in Whistler last year when she placed third. Morgane Charre is ranked third, but there’s a whole host of women who could shake up the standings at this round. Jill Kintner placed second at her first ever EWS in Tasmania this year, and this is her first race back and expectations are high for this former Queen of Crankworx. And look out for Canadian riders Miranda Miller (Kona Factory Racing) and Andreane Lanthier Nadeau (Rocky Mountain/Race Face Enduro Team) who have both stood on EWS podium this year and will be hungry for more in front of their home crowd. 

Richie Rude on his way to winning Val Di Fassa last month

In the men’s race Florian Nicolai (Canyon Factory Racing) leads the series points, and will be looking to put past Whistler demons to bed, having narrowly missed out on the podium here in 2018. Eddie Masters (Pivot Factory Racing) won the last round in France, and you wouldn’t bet against him doing the same again this weekend. Reigning Champion Sam Hill (Team Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) has twice placed second at this race, but he’s yet to win here and you can expect a strong showing from him this weekend. Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Shox Factory Team) has won in Whistler before - and with one win already to his name this season, you can be sure he’s after another.

Antoine Vidal has been dominating the U21 Men's competition all season

In the U21 competition, series leader Leah Maunsell won’t be racing, but round one and two winner Fenella Harris has made the trip from Australia, and could well be a podium contender here too. Trying to stop her will be Canadian Lucy Schick. Shick won the last two rounds in Italy and France, so will be feeling confident as she heads into a race on home soil. Series leader Atoine Vidal (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Racing Team) remains the favourite after a strong season, but he faces tough competition from both Brady Stone and Nathan Secondi.

Louise Paulin leads the Master Women's category

Karim Amour (Miranda Racing Team) leads the Master’s rankings, but he’ll have to push hard to stave off his main rival for the series title, Cedric Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Racing Team). In the Master Women Louise Paulin leads the points and has a good shot at the win this weekend, but with both Mary Mcconneloug and Alba Wunderlin tied in the points, expect a fierce battle between these two. 

There’s extra pressure on the athletes at this round, as this weekend’s race represents their last chance to bolster their chances of representing their country at the Trophy of Nations in Finale, Italy this September. Teams of three will be chosen to represent their country based on the EWS Global Rankings as they battle it out for the rainbow jersey for the first time in enduro. Alongside the Nations, individual and team entries that are open to all will compete for the Rider Trophy, whilst brands will go head to head for the Industry Trophy. 

To follow this weekend’s race in Whistler, head to enduroworldseries.com on Saturday and Sunday for live timing and the race feed. 

To discover more about the Trophy of Nations, including how to enter, click here.