Italy’s Finale Outdoor Resort will once again host the closing race of the Enduro World Series season, as 500 riders take to the area’s iconic trails 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. 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. And for five riders the stakes are even higher, as they push to be crowned the 2016 Enduro World Series champions.
In the men’s pro race Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Shox) is on course to pick up his second series title. The American has won four of this season’s seven races and sits 390 points ahead in the title race. However, anything can (and often does) happen in racing, and a bad result could still be enough for second placed Damien Oton (Devinci Global Racing) to grab the title. And with former series 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 champion’s trophy on Sunday no matter her result. Ravanel has dominated all season, winning six races 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).
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 as the champion.
Meanwhile, Raphaela Richter (Radon Matura Factory Racing) still leads the U21 women’s category, but Martha Gill (Marin Stan’s) and Abigail Lawton are both still in contention, and a win from either this weekend would be enough to claim the title.
American 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 favorites 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 thanks to the FLOW festival. This annual mountain bike festival celebrates Finale’s love of the outdoors and will allow fans to see their heroes up close in the race paddock, and 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.
“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,” said Chris Ball, managing director 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.”