This year will see the introduction of EWS-E onto the world stage - a brand new, three round international e-bike enduro series.
The EWS-E races will embody the core values of the existing EWS races - they’ll still feature challenging terrain in spectacular locations, but will be held on separate trails from the traditional EWS races. This bold new format will see riders pushed to the limit on both downhill and specially designed technical climbing special stages. And that’s not the only difference - for the first time in enduro, the Liaison Stages will take on a pivotal role in the race, as times are kept deliberately tight and will feature more singletrack than ever before. Failure to make it through the liaisons on time will result in penalties.
Fabien Barel negotiating Finale's famous trails at the 2018 EWS-E test event, where the format was trialled by some of the sport's top riders
Each course will consist of three loops, with approximately two to three special stages and a lung busting 1000m of climbing per loop. The loop will be designed to take approximately one to one and a half hours to complete, with a 40 minute rest between each loop in the paddock to allow for a battery change and to deal with any mechanical issues. This rest will no doubt prove to be much needed, with these single day races seeing riders take on approximately four and half hours of racing time and encompass around 3000m of climbing.
Technical uphill climbing stages will put riders bike handling skills to the test
This new format is designed to push both the rider’s physical and bike handling limits to the max, as well as driving forwards the development of e-bike technology and e-bike trail management and design.
As with so many races in 2020, Covid-19 has impacted the EWS-E schedule, with the debut round in Valberg, France unfortunately cancelled. However, three rounds will still go ahead later this summer in Zermatt, Switzerland, Olargues, France and Finale Ligure, Italy.
EWS-E will make its debut at the Traillove Festival in Zermatt this August
And there’s going to be stiff competition to be crowned the first EWS-Champion in Olargues, with names like three times EWS Champion Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing), ten times Downhill World Champion Nico Vouilloz (Lapierre Zipp Collective) and three times World Downhill Champion Fabien Barel (Canyon Collective) in the mix. Josh Carlson (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) will also be on the start line, as he transitions into his new career as a full time e-bike athlete.
Ruaridh Cunningham, EWS Sports Director, thinks the new series will switch people on to just how physically demanding and technically challenging e-bike racing is.
“We’re really excited for the launch of EWS-E. Technical special stages and tight liaisons will push both rider and bike to their limits whilst providing some amazing racing. We’re looking forward to showcasing just how capable the E-bike discipline is becoming and racing provides the perfect platform to further develop this increasingly popular area of the sport.”