It was a race that threw in plot twists and drama along the way, but Vittoria EWS Pietra Ligure will be remembered for two things above all else; the return of the epic single day race and the French reigniting their reputation as the dominant force in enduro.
Isabeau hadn’t lost an EWS race since Finale in 2018
In the women’s competition Isabeau Courduier (Lapierre Zipp Collective) rolled to the start line as the clear favourite, despite carrying an ankle injury she picked up a week earlier. After her perfect 2019 season and her win in Zermatt last month, it’s little wonder she was expected to clean up in Italy. Her campaign started off well, winning the first two stages of the day convincingly, but once fellow Frenchwoman Melanie Pugin took the all important Queen Stage, stage three, her fate was sealed.
Melanie already had an EWS-E trophy to her name, and now she can add an EWS one too
Pugin, fresh from her win in the EWS-E race in Zermatt last month, took control of the race from here on out and went on to win the next two stages decisively. Courdurier’s winning streak may have come to an end, but she still managed a podium finish in a very respectable second place. Morgane Charre (Pivot Factory Racing) would put on a consistent display to take third place, making it an all French podium in the women’s field.
Adrien Dailly on his way to his first EWS win since 2017
In the men’s race there was less of a clear trajectory; Adrien Dailly (Lapierre Zipp Collective) may have won the first stage, but it was Jesse Melamed (Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team) who won the second stage of the day. Rhys Verner (Kona Factory Racing) took the Queen Stage, but by this point Dailly was leading the race and it would stay that way, with the Frenchman ending the day with an impressive 20 second lead over his nearest rival, Florian Nicolai (Trek Factory Racing), who took second place. Jack Moir (Canyon Collective) rounded out the top three to mark his first time on an EWS podium.
Hattie Harnden (Trek Factory Racing) won U21 Women just as she did at the last round in Switzerland, with Sophie Riva of Italy in second. In the U21 Men Antoine Vidal (Commencal Enduro Team) added another win to his growing list of victories, with Brady Stone (Theory Global Enduro Team) in second and Jamie Edmondson of the UK in third.
Karim Amour brought home the win in Master Men, followed by Cedric Ravanel (Commencal Enduro Team) in second and Bruno Zanchi in third.
In the Team competition Pivot Factory Racing were team of the day, followed by Lapierre Zipp Collective in second and Rocky Mountain Race Enduro in third. With no overall individual series points on offer this year, it's the only the teams fighting it out for the series rankings, and its Pivot Factory Racing who once more lead the scoreboard. Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team is in second and Trek Factory Racing third.
The Series now moves just a few kilometres up the coast for the last race of the year, Bluegrass EWS Finale on Saturday, September 26.