The Enduro World Series welcomes the return of the champions from its inaugural 2013 series, including Jerome Clementz and Tracy Moseley. In addition, a corps d'elite of World Cup downhill and four cross riders with 48 world championship titles between them - Richie Rude, Fabien Barel, Anneke Beerten, Loic Bruni, Anne Caroline Chausson, Ruaridh Cunningham, Jared Graves, Brian Lopes, Greg Minnaar, Tracy Moseley, Steve Peat, Michal Prokop, Emmeline Ragot and Joost Wichman - will race in the 2014 Enduro World Series.
The series is proving so popular this year that registration has already been filled for the Finale Ligure, Crankworx Whistler and Valloire rounds - all in record time. Even Scotland's TweedLove Festival and Chile's Nevados de Chillan, both new events in the series for 2014, have filled up.
So far, of the 39 nations represented across the seven round series, almost 30% of participants hail from the United Kingdom, twice as many as the next most involved nations (US - 15%, France - 12%, Italy - 12% and Canada - 10%.)
And while 2014 saw an increase in the number of official teams committing to the Series, an impressive number of privateers have also signed up for all the rounds.
EWS Managing Director Chris Ball is gratified to see the huge demand for places. "Thanks to the pioneering efforts of our partners at Super Enduro and Tribe Events, enduro mountain biking has deep roots in Italy and France and a long tradition of events filling up within hours of registration. But it's been amazing to see that happen in Canada, North and South America and the UK, as well. With as many amateur racers as elite riders signed up, the Series is striking a good balance, and we’re pleased to see such healthy growth and enthusiasm in the enduro mountain bike community from all around the world."
With the first round less than two months away, on April 19-20, Montenbaik Enduro's Director, Matias Del Solar Goldsmith is busy preparing for their debut year on the Series. "We are so impressed with how quickly the event was sold out and are very happy to welcome so many riders from overseas to Chile. The level of our Enduro Series has risen a lot since the first event in 2009 and there are some upcoming talents who will bring good competition to all the visitors. Our goal is to bring the best riding experience to all."
Vouilloz sidelined by injury
Unfortunately, one man who will not be able to contest the entire series as originally planned is Nico Vouilloz. After avoiding injury for most of his gravity racing career, Vouilloz recently crashed while training and injured himself. The crash came after he'd just taken a break from riding for several months to let a scaphoid fracture heal and following an operation on his ACL in his left knee.
"I hurt myself ... during one of my first mountain bike rides in five months. I was on a cross country bike, and I lost balance in a slow technical section, catching my shorts on my saddle," said Vouilloz. "I fell on the downslope on the opposite side to that which had been operated, my leg tense, and craaaack!"
The lateral ligament in his knee is partially torn and his meniscus is damaged. "As I already have no ACL, all medical experts advised me to have this added as I wouldn't get very far with both ligaments missing. I therefore decided to go for an operation with a synthetic ligament, which should give a fast recovery, but we'll see."
Vouilloz will miss the opening Enduro World Series round in Chili, but hopes to be back in time to race round 2 in Scotland.