September 25th, 2019 12:00am
It's been said before, but the final round of the 2019 Enduro World Series was one for the history books.
Round eight, Traillove EWS Zermatt, lined up the perfect showdown high on Zermatt's mountainsides beneath the shadow of the Matterhorn. Florian Nicolai (Canyon Factory Racing) took to the start line the series leader by the slimmest of margins, a mere 60 points. Chasing him down would be the most intimidating of opponents, reigning champion Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) - and the result would not be decided until the final stage of the day.
Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) put on a blistering display to seal the race win, with Sam Hill in second and former champion Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Shox Factory Racing) in third - but the story of the race was the intense battle between Hill and Nicolai. As they took to the Queen Stage - the final of the race and with the additional incentive of 40 extra series points - it was Hill who triumphed, taking the stage win and becoming the first man in the history of the sport to take three series titles.
In the women's race Isabeau Courdurier (Intense Mavic Collective) finished her season in style by not only winning the race, but completing a perfect season that saw her win her first Series Championship. Andreane Lanthier Nadeau (Rocky Mountain/Race Face Enduro Team) came second in the race, with young German rider Raphaela Richter rounding out the podium.
Noga Korem (GT Factory Racing) had a disappointing day in Zermatt, with a mechanical seeing her relegated to 25th in the race - but coming second in the overall series rankings will surely make up for it. Andreane Lanthier saw out her season with not only a race podium, but her best series finish to date with a third place.
In the Masters competition, Cedric Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Racing Team) not only won the race, but wrapped up his first Series Championship in the process. Former Champion Karim Amour's (Miranda Racing Team) second place in Zermatt was reflected in his new ranking, and although Florian Golay was third on the day, it was Argentina's Javier Santiago who came third in the series overall. Louise Paulin's second place in Zermatt was enough to secure her as the 2019 Series Champion, whilst Alba Wunderlin's win was rewarded with second in the rankings. And rounding out the Zermatt podium was Daniela Michel, with Mary Mcconneloug finishing third in the overall.
Antoine Vidal (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Racing Team) won both the race and the U21 Series Championship, cementing an incredible year for him. On the day it was Kasper Woolley and Brady Stone who rounded out the podium in second and third respectively, but it in the overall series Stone secured second and Tiago Ladeira (Miranda Racing Team) placed third. Lucy Schick's impressive debut season saw her pick up the U21 Series Champion title, with Leah Maunsell in second and Fenella Harris in third. But none of them could touch Harriet Harnden in Zermatt, who won convincingly, with Polly Henderson in second and Schick in third.
Rocky Mountain/Race Face Enduro were named Team of the Day, but it was Canyon Factory Racing who were named 2019 Team Champions for the second year in a row.
And whilst the 2019 series may have drawn to a close, there is still one big race of the year left - the all new Trophy of Nations race taking place in Finale Ligure, Italy next weekend (September 28-29). The biggest team competition in mountain biking will see the top riders race in teams of three for their home country in pursuit of the rainbow jersey, privateers will compete for the Rider Trophy and bike brands will line up to prove they are the fastest in the business in the Industry Trophy.
FULL VIDEO RECAP Of The Race
Race Results - MENS EWS