The Enduro World Series (EWS) will kick off its 2020 season this weekend with the Specialized EWS and EWS-E Zermatt in Switzerland.
The stage is set for a historic weekend of racing beneath the Matterhorn, as the all new EWS-E makes its debut with a stacked field of riders. Some of the biggest names in the sport will be going head to head in this brand new series, as they push the limits of what is thought possible on a bike.
Any notions that EWS-E is going to be easy are dispelled by the course stats
This new format will see riders tackle six stages over a total of 51 kilometres, combining a lung busting 2656 metres of ascent (more than half the height of the Matterhorn) and 3550m of descent in a single day. And if that isn’t challenging enough, Stage Five is the designated Power Stage - an incredibly technical climbing stage which offers up an extra 40 EWS-E ranking points to its winners.
Gusti Wildhaber posted an impressive 9th place in the EWS at Zermatt last year - will the Swiss rider do even better in the EWS-E this weekend?
In the men’s competition former Downhill World Champions Fabien Barel (Canyon Collective) and Nico Vouilloz (Lapierre Zipp Collective) will be leading the charge, but with the likes of pervious EWS winner Nico Lau (Team Peugeot Cycles) and his former team teammate Gusti Wildhaber (Cube Action Team) on the start list, they’ll have their work cut out for them.
Tracy Moseley is no stranger to the EWS podium, but she's up against some tough competition in Zermatt at the EWS-E
In the Women’s race, it’s none other than three times EWS Champion Tracy Moseley who is the favourite - as one of the sport’s most decorated riders she’ll be hoping to add another discipline to her sizable collection of achievements. Out to stop her will be France’s Melanie Pugin and Morgane Jonnier (Team Peugeot Cycles), alongside former Olympian Nathalie Schneitter who’ll be out to make her mark on home soil.
On Sunday it’s the turn of the EWS racers as they take to the start line for the first time this year. They’ll be facing four stages in this single day race, which take in an incredible 2132 metres of descent. And there will be no margin for error for any of the riders, as the final stage of the race is also the Queen Stage, where an extra 40 Global Ranking points are up for grabs.
Martin Maes took the Zermatt win in 2019 - can he do the same this Sunday?
In the men’s race Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) will be looking to replicate his win here from 2019, but he’s up against some serious talent in the form of Florian Nicolai (Trek Factory Racing), Jesse Melamed (Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team), Kevin Miquel (Sunn Enduro Factory Team) and Youn Deniaud (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) who all placed in the top ten in Zermatt last season. Eddie Masters is another rider to watch - injury forced him out of the 2019 race but he’ll be back and racing alongside Pivot Factory Racing Team Manager Bernard Kerr, who will step in for an injured Matt Walker.
Isabeau Courdurier on her way to winning in Zermatt last year
As ever, it’s Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zipp Collective) who’s the favourite in the Women’s race after her perfect season in 2019. Courdurier finished the race with a commanding 30 second lead last time the series was in Zermatt and she’ll be after more of the same on Sunday. But with a full pro women’s field in attendance, Courdurier has her work cut out. Noga Korem (GT Factory Racing) suffered a mechanical last time the series visited Zermatt and will be looking to vanquish those demons, whilst Andreane Lanthier Nadaeu (Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team) had a strong result here last time around so should be feeling confident this time around. Rising star Raphaela Richter of Germany rounded out the podium here in 2019 and is another rider to look out for on the start sheet.
Canyon came out on top at the team podium last year
Although there are no individual Champions this season, the Team Championship remains, and looking to defend their title to make it three in a row will be Canyon Collective. Their line up of Dimitri Tordo, Ines Thoma and Jack Moir is strong to say the least, but the likes of Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro, and GT Factory Racing could put an end to their reign.
Follow all the action from the EWS-E race on Friday, August 28 on enduroworldseries.com and again on Sunday, August 30 for the EWS