The countdown to the historic first Enduro World Series e-bike race is on, as some of the biggest names in the sport gather in Switzerland for the Specialized EWS-E Zermatt this weekend.
This brand new series will make its debut amongst some of Europe’s highest mountains, taking place beneath the shadow of the iconic Matterhorn this Saturday, August 30.
Zermatt hosted the final EWS race of 2019, and this year will set the scene for the first ever EWS-E race
And although the EWS-E racs will embody the spirit of the traditional Enduro World Series, they will be held on seperate trails and there are some core differences to the format. This bold new direction 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.
There's a BIG day of racing coming up for the EWS-E riders
For the pro racers, this will consist of a three loop course, which in Zermatt will feature a total of six stages. 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 up to 3000m of climbing.
Any notion that e-bike racing my prove easier than a traditional EWS race thanks to battery assistance will be dispelled with just one look at the Zermatt course stats - riders will be tackling a lung busting 2,656 metres of climbing in total - or to put that into perspective - more than half the height of the Matterhorn in just a few hours. And there will be no rest on the 3550m of descent either - expect, steep, tight and challenging stages.
But perhaps the biggest challenge of them all? The Power Stage. Each race will feature one Power Stage - a fiendishly technical climb to push racer’s bike handling skills and equipment to the very limit. The winners of this stage will be rewarded for their effort with an extra 40 EWS-E ranking points.
Fabien Barel taking part in the EWS-E test event in Finale back in 2018
The EWS-E has attracted some big hitters from the world of mountain biking, with former Downhill World Champions Fabien Barel (Canyon Collective) and Nico Vouilloz (Lapierre Zipp Collective) stacking up against the likes of EWS winner Nico Lau (Team Peugeot Cycles) and Jose Borges (Miranda Factory Team). Reigning Enduro World Series Master Champion Cedric Ravanel (Commencal Enduro Team) will line up against the man he took the title from Karim Amour, whilst home grown talent will be represented by Max Chapuis.
Tracy Moseley is no stranger to the EWS podium and is the favourite to win the first EWS-E event as well
In the women’s field all eyes will be on three times Enduro World Series Champion Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing). Moseley has dominated both downhill and enduro for the past two decades, and everyone will be keen to see if she can add a third discipline to her list of wins. Trying to stop her will be France’s Melanie Pugin and Morgane Jonnier (Team Peugeot Cycles).
The EWS-E100 is open to everyone and follows the same course as EWS-E, just with slightly less pressured liasion times
Alongside the pro race this Saturday will be the EWS-E100, the amateur race open to anyone who relishes a challenge and wants to take on the exact same course as the pros. They’ll ride the same circuit, using the same stages, with the only difference being more relaxed liaison times, so they don’t have to push as hard on the transitions. Therefore only two batteries will be needed for the EWS-E100 racers.
The EWS-E50 is a shorter course race that is open to everyone
And for those not ready to commit to quite such a mammoth undertaking there is the EWS-E50. Featuring just one loop and no Power Stage, this weekend’s race will see racers tackle two stages and a total of 1056m of ascent and 1788m of descent over 22km.
EWS Sports Director Ruaridh Cunninghamis on the other side of the tape this weekend as he oversees the first EWS-E race in Zermatt
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 this weekend. Technical special stages and extremely 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 this weekend's racing provides the perfect platform to help progress not only the sport, but also the technical capabilities of the e-bikes themselves."