The stage is set for a big weekend of racing at the second round of the 2020 Enduro World Series, the Vittoria EWS and EWS-E Pietra Ligure in Italy. The small town of Pietra Ligure on the Italian coast may not sound quite as familiar as it’s more famous neighbour Finale, but all that is about to change.
There's a huge trail network to explore in this new EWS venue
The Vittoria EWS & EWS-E Pietra Ligure is about to reveal one of the Finale Outdoor Region’s best kept secrets; Pietra’s diverse and expansive trail network that sits high above the Ligurian Sea.
Racing kicks off with EWS-E tomorrow (Saturday) on a tough course that will take in nine stages over three loops. And for the first time riders will face not one but two Power Stages - incredibly steep and technical climbs where extra points are on offer for their winners.
Tracy is the highest ranked woman in Saturday's race
In the women’s competition it’s Tracy Moseley who is the firm favourite to take the win. The three times Enduro World Series Champion was awarded all of her wins just a few kilometres up the coast in Finale, and is at home on the region’s dusty, rocky trails. Moseley was second behind Melanie Pugin at round one in Switzerland last month, but crucially won the Power Stage, and with Pugin opting to take part in the EWS race on Sunday, Mosely is very much the racer to beat.
Can Yannick Pontal make it two for two this Saturday?
In the men’s race all eyes will be on Zermatt winner Yannick Pontal and legend of the sport Nico Vouilloz (Lapierre Zipp Collective). Pontal may have scooped the win in Switzerland, but at the French National Championships last weekend it was Vouilloz who pushed Pontal on to the second step of the podium - expect an intense battle between these two as they fight it out at the last EWS-E of the year.
On Sunday it’s the turn of the EWS racers to get between the tapes as they tackle five stages. This pro only race will see riders head out on a huge course, taking in over 1900m of climbing and 50km in total.
Isabeau is suffering from two torn ankle ligaments but will be taking the start on Sunday
Reigning Champion Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zipp Collective) will be racing with an ankle injury, so will be facing an uphill battle to retain her winning streak - having not lost an EWS race since 2018. Chasing her down will be some fellow French women in the form of Morgane Charre (Pivot Factory Racing) and Melanie Pugin, as well as Andreane Lanthier Nadeau (Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team) and Noga Korem (GT Factory Racing) who’ll be looking to make up for last time after they were ruled out of contention in Zermatt due to a mechanical and an injury respectively.
Zermatt winner Jesse Melamed bringing it home last month - it'll be some very different conditions on Sunday
In the men’s competition Jesse Melamed (Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team) will start the race favourite, after his hugely impressive win in Zermatt last month. But with the likes of Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing), Theo Galy (Sunn Enduro Team) and Jack Moir (Canyon Collective) on the start list, the race is wide open. Florian Nicolai (Trek Factory Racing) and Damien Oton (Orbea Fox Enduro Team) struggled to find their usual pace in the wet in Switzerland, but Pietra’s dry terrain will play to their strengths and they could well find themselves back on the podium by Sunday evening.
Keep up to date with all the action from this weekend's racing right here on our website, on our social media channels and with our friends over at GMBN.