Enduro World Series (EWS) racing moves to Whistler, Canada, this weekend for the fifth stop of the inaugural race series, and it's looking to be the best event yet. The last round in Winter Park, Colorado(watch the event highlights here), saw Jerome Clementz and Tracy Moseley re-affirm their strength in the discipline but will this weekend be a different story?
Tens of thousands of mountain bikers will descend on Whistler for the annual Crankworx festival, but racers taking part in the EWS, it would appear, are set for a voyage into the unknown as they head into the wilds of the Whistler area on a five-stage epic race that will be contested over a total ride of 51km (19km of timed stages) and that is set to take up to eight hours of riding.
This is set to be another exciting EWS round from a series rankings point of view: With Frenchman Jerome Clementz having won the last two rounds his competitors will be hungry for vengeance and in the women's class Tracy Moseley's absolute domination of the series so far will surely have her rivals itching to claw back some of the 925 point lead that she has after four events. The junior category is also not to be forgotten, we'll be looking for another strong performance by Belgian Martin Maes, who currently leads the series by a huge margin.
The official story from Enduro World Series
Reflective of the epic style of mountain biking available in Whistler, the five stage race developed in consultation with pro rider Richie Schley and creative dervish Seb Kemp will be compressed into one long single day. Athletes will race over 19km of trails, tallying a total of 51km of riding in the 8 hour time window.
With the first four stages of racing set outside the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, and the final stage involving a top-to-bottom link-up from the Top of the World trail, the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro will combine lift access with approximately 863 metres of climbing. Riders will travel from Whistler Peak to the valley, twice, with the final stage a 10.63 km, 1450 m vertical top-to-bottom test-piece of endurance.
The added “Whistler" twist is that, unlike in previous rounds, riders will not be able to return to the pits in between the first four stages, demanding a much higher degree of self-sufficiency and equipment management than has been required before.
Crankworx GM Darren Kinnaird said, “The course will take riders through a range of trails, from the alpine to the sub-alpine to race-course type terrain. Each trail is unique to the different part of the valley that it’s situated in and showcases the variety of riding available here in Whistler. I think people will feel they’re more in wilderness than in a resort."
Having witnessed the drama and excitement of the first four rounds of the Enduro World Series first-hand, EWS Managing Director Chris Ball says this weekend’s race will continue to test the world’s best. “This Series has tested athletes from sea level to altitude, from the physical to the technical, from backcountry to machine-built trails, in bad weather and good. This round will combine everything pushing riders both physically and technically and test how self-sufficient they are on their own on the mountain. We’ve got an epic race ahead of us."
The current overall standings, with four out of seven races completed, sees France’s Jérôme Clementz (Cannondale Overmountain) and Great Britain’s Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) leading the Men’s Individual and Women’s Individual series, with Belgium’s Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) dominating the Junior division. Trek Factory Racing currently is in top place in the team rankings.