The first round of the inaugural Enduro World Series (EWS) begins this weekend in Punta Ala, Italy. The format for this first-ever race will be a round of the Superenduro, and the new series has attracted many heavy hitters, including some from both gravity and cross country disciplines.
Current downhill world champion Greg Minnaar is among those crossing over from gravity racing. He'll face some tough competition in enduro specialist Jerome Clementz, two-time Italian champion Andrea Bruno, many-time downhill world champion Nicolas Vouilloz, US enduro specialist Curtis Keene, Fabian Barrel, Dan Atherton, Sam Blenkinsop, Steve Peat, Brian Lopes, Ross Schnell, Rene Wildhaber, Cedric Gracia and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski.
On the women's side, the best known competitor may be many-time downhill and BMX world champion Anne Caroline Chausson. She will race former downhill world champ Tracy Moseley, four cross world champ Anneke Beerten, Cecile Ravanel, Emmeline Ragot, Anka Martin, Heather Irmiger and Pauline Dieffenthaler.
Chris Ball, Thomas Daddi, Enrico Guala and Franco Monchiero are the men behind the new Enduro World Series. They're excited for the racing to begin after many months of planning.
"Finally, enduro has risen to the international level, and I am proud that the first race of the EWS will use the Superenduro PRO format," said race director Franco Monchiero. "At Punta Ala, we will have a field of riders unlike any that has been seen before. Not just for the quantity, but for the number of riders who compete at the highest level of our sport. For me, it will be an honour to run a race for international riders of this calibre."
The field of riders for the inaugural Enduro World Series race is almost twice the number hosted in Punta Ala for previous SuperEnduro races.
Racing will start on Saturday, May 18 with the prologue through the streets of Castiglione della Pescaia. On Sunday, it then moves to the Bandite Trail Area with five stages to challenge every aspect of mountain biking. As this is a Superenduro PRO race, the Red Bull Time Rush will also return. It will be stage three, the toughest of the race, where riders will compete for the honour of conquering it fastest.
"We will have the hardest race on the world circuit," says Thomas Daddi, local organiser. "The race will take place over six hours with 65 kilometers of trail and 1,800 meters of climbing, with five timed special stages plus the prologue on Saturday."
"This race will be particularly demanding, the transfers are long with little time available, this will favor those who are in better shape," said Chausson of the course.
Check out this interview with enduro pro racer Jerome Clementz.