March 29th, 2018 12:00am
The Enduro World Series stays in South America for round two, but this time the dust of the Chilean Andes is replaced by the tropical rainforest of the Colombian mountains.
Round two, EWS – Alcaldia de Manizales – Mas oportunidades, promises a completely different challenge to the season opener in Lo Barnechea last weekend.
Starting with an urban prologue in downtown Manizales on Saturday, the main race will see riders take on seven stages in a single day on short stages through some of the world’s most iconic coffee plantations. Sitting on the equator, the tropical climate will see the loose, open trails of round one replaced with damp, dense rainforest on fun, flowing trails.
And whilst the trails may be fun, don’t expect the competition to be anything less than fierce. Mechanicals forced many of the big names out of contention last weekend, including Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Shox Racing), Adrien Dailly (Lapierre) and Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team), and they’ll all be gunning for the podium as they look to pick up valuable series points.
Reigning champs Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Racing Team) and Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) will enter the race series leaders, but will face stiff competition in their respective categories. Adrien Dailly and Richie Rude will be out for revenge, and Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing), Robin Wallner (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team) and Gusti Wildhaber (Cube Action Team) will all be feeling confident after their second, third and fourth place finishes last weekend.
In the women’s race Cecile remains the athlete to beat, but strong performances from both Isabeau Courdurier (Intense-Mavic Collective) and Katy Winton (Trek Factory Racing) mean she won’t have room to relax. Bex Baraona (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team) put in her best performance to date with a fourth place finish in Chile, proving she has the speed to keep up with the sharp end of the pack.
In the U21 competition Duncan Nason (Yeti/Fox Shox Factory Race Team) and Ella Conolly will be looking to claim the top spot of the podium again, whilst Karim Amour and Melissa Newell will be after the same in the Master’s category.
Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said: “I could not be more excited for the series’ first visit to Colombia. The local organisation and wider Manizales community have been so supportive and welcoming.
“We’re in for an incredible race, and it’ll be interesting to see how the athletes handle something so utterly different to the conditions in Chile last week. That’s the beauty of this discipline, every round offers a completely new and unique experience for the riders, which is why the racing is so consistently exciting.”