Words/Images: Enduro World Series
The Enduro World Series heads to Italy for the grand Finale
The Enduro World Series will crown its World Champions in Finale this weekend at the last race of the year, the Bluegrass Finale Enduro powered by SRAM.
Finale Outdoor Resort will once again host the closing race of the season, as 500 riders take to the iconic trails of this Italian resort against the backdrop of the Mediterranean sea.
Starting high in the Ligurian mountains, competitors will encounter the region’s famously diverse trails as they tackle seven stages over two days of racing. With 3250m of climbing and descent taking place over 100km, racers are in for long days in the saddle, but will be more than rewarded by the incredible riding on offer – as well as the obligatory gelato on the beach. And for five riders the stakes couldn’t be higher – as they push to be crowned the 2016 Enduro World Champions.
In the Men’s race Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Shox) is on course to pick up his second World Champion title – the first man to ever do so. The American has won four of this season’s seven races and sits 390 points ahead in the title race. However, anything can, and does happen in racing, and a bad result could still be enough for second placed Damien Oton (Devinci Global Racing) to pip him to the title. And with former champion Jerome Clementz (Cannondale) just 120 points back on Oton in third place, neither will be able to relax this weekend.
In the women’s race Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Team) will lift the World Champion trophy on Sunday, no matter what her result. Ravanel has dominated all season long – winning six races this year and building herself an insurmountable lead in the process. A good result from Isabeau Courdurier (SUNN) should secure her second place, but the battle for third is going to be intense. Anita Gehrig (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race) is just 70 points up on Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team) and both will be racing their heart out for that coveted podium spot.
The points literally couldn’t be closer in the U21 Men’s race with Adrien Dailly (Lapierre Gravity Republic) and Sebastien Claquin (Rocky Mountain Urge bp) tied in points. Dailly technically leads the series after his win at the last round in Valberg, but this race will come down to the wire – whoever wins this weekend will leave Finale the World Champion. Raphaela Richter (Radon Matura Factory Racing) still leads the U21 Women’s category, but Martha Gill (Marin Stan’s) and Abigail Lawton are both in contention and a win from either this weekend would be enough to claim the title.
The USA’s Michael Broderick has all but sewn up his Master’s title with a 300 point lead over Karim Amour, but don’t expect the Frenchman to go down without a fight. Milan Cizinsky (Ghost Factory Racing Riot) is only 70 points back on Amour in third and will be chasing hard.
Series leaders Rocky Mountain Urge bp are the favourites to walk away with the team title, but face stiff competition from Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team and Canyon Factory Enduro Team.
Finale always puts on an incredible show to celebrate the end of the season, and this year riders will be greeted with even more fanfare as they return to Finale, thanks to the FLOW festival. This annual mountain bike festival celebrates Finale’s love of the outdoors and will see fans able to not only see their heroes up close in the race paddock, but also demo bikes from the festival as well as take part in different skill sessions and outdoor activities including stand up paddle boarding and rock climbing.
Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said: “Finale was where it all began and four years later, the world famous piazza is where we mark the 30th event of the Enduro World Series. From the Nato base to the sea, the Finale mountains and coastline hold a very special place in the hearts and minds of the EWS and all mountain bikers – it feels like the perfect place to celebrate our champions and spend the last few days with friends and colleagues before the long winter months. We are proud to be hosted by Finale Outdoor Resort and the FLOW festival and extend that warm Ligurian welcome to all the riders, teams and fans that will join us over this very special weekend.”