The Trophy of Nations marked a new chapter in the story of the Enduro World Series.
For the first time in EWS history UCI jerseys and medals were on offer – and their prestige was reflected in the intensity of the racing on display on Finale’s iconic trails. Riders worked together in teams of three, the usual race face vibes were dumped in pursuit of national pride.
Five stages high in the Ligurian hills stood between the racers and the podium, and by the sounds of it more pedalling than any EWS event before it. 24 different nationalities battled it out in front of thousands of fans who lined the track to cheer on their home nations. In the men’s competition, the much hyped French Team’s hopes were dashed when Florian Nicolai flatted on the very first stage. Team USA put the hammer down straight from the start gate, and the theme was continued throughout the race – they proved untouchable. That said, the Aus Flat Pedal team of Sam Hill, Connor Fearon and Josh Carlson (possibly on clips!) sent it hard winning stage 2 and pulling a 6th overall. The winning team of Richie Rude, Shawn Neer and Cody Kelley rode into the finish arena to a hero’s welcome securing their place in the history books. Team Sweden put up a valiant fight, with Robin Wallner, Zakarias Blom Johansen and Alexander Kangas rewarded with second place. The podium was completed by Team Canada in third place, featuring Jesse Melamed, Remi Gauvin and Rhys Verner.
In the women’s race the times were tighter – going into the fifth and final stage of the day Team Great Britain led Team France by just under six seconds. However the combination of Isabeau Courdurier (Intense Mavic Cycles), Morgane Charre and Melanie Pugin proved too strong for the Brits, and Katy Winton (Trek Factory Racing), Bex Baraona (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team) and Becky Cook (Orbea Enduro Team) had to settle for second place. Team Canada was comprised of Miranda Miller (Kona Factory Racing), Andreane Lanthier Nadeau (Rocky Mountain/Race Face Enduro Team) and Jennifer McHugh who rode consistently for some well deserved bronze medals.
Vital dropped some great raw footage to get you into the vibe!