Richie or Jack? That was the buzz behind the EWS after the first four rounds. Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Factory) had won two rounds, while Jack Moir (Canyon Collective) took the win at the other two. Upping the suspense was the fact that each rider took second place when they failed to capture the win. This season of EWS has already had the closest winning margins in both Elite Men and Elite Women in the history of the sport, so we couldn’t wait to see what else was in store for the year. Loudenvielle, France, played host to EWS Rounds 5 and 6, with racers anxious to get on the start line after a summer break.
Round 5’s racing kicked-off on Thursday (9/2) with only four stages, since the fifth stage was cut by EWS officials because of the danger from rain. Riders slipped, slid, and survived through the day with racing as tight as ever. After five rounds, it was still the same two Elite Men at the top with Jack Moir nabbing first place and Richie Rude taking second. Maxxis held six of the top ten positions in the Elite Men category, along with the Maxxis-sponsored Canyon Collective, which dominated the Team competition. Morgane Charre (Pivot Factory Racing) just missed out in Elite Women with a sixth place. In the Junior categories, Maxxis was represented well with Nans Arnaud (Viris Brand) and Jack Menzies (Forbidden Synthesis) going first and second in U21 Men and Sophie Riva (Ancillotti Factory Team) and Polly Henderson (Juliana Bikes) grabbing first and second place in U21 Women.
Riders had Friday off but then resumed racing on Saturday (9/4) with Round 6’s Pro Stage. Although they didn’t get much of a break, racers were glad that the tracks were starting to dry out and the rain had ceased. Once again, Jack Moir and Richie Rude took first and second place in Elite Men, only intensifying the battle for the overall title. Polly Henderson nabbed a first place in U21 Women, while Nans Arnaud held the number one spot in U21 Men. Ella Conolly (Cannondale) and Jesse Melamed (Rocky Mountain/Raceface) also had impressive finishes, both slotting into fifth place in their respective categories.
Round 6 concluded on Sunday (9/5) with five more stages for racers to tackle. Rude was looking sharp throughout the day, but lost his lead during the last stage with an apparent mechanical. In an unbelievable fashion, Jack Moir won the Elite Men AGAIN riding the Maxxis Assegai and DHR tires, with Richie sliding back into second place. Alex Storr (Forbidden Bikes) also claimed victory in U21 Men by just half a second over Aiden Chapin. Morgane Charre rounded out an impressive week of racing with a second in Elite Women, while Polly Henderson did the same in U21 Women.
We’re stoked to see such high levels of competition at the EWS and can’t wait for more! The next race at Crans-Montana kicks off on 9/11-9/12.