Nestled in the rugged, glacier covered Italian-French Alps, La Thuile has long been a favorite among riders when the Enduro World Series (EWS) pays a visit. The raw and naturally steep trail system is a challenge for both equipment and rider. With Mont Blanc looming to the north, this area is about as rustic, rugged, and scenic as it gets in the Alps.
The local trail crew behind the EWS trails continue to push the level of technicality higher every year. Exposed, high-alpine sections featuring bone-jarring drops and jumps lead to super tight corners down through the heavily forested valley below. As with many mountain regions, weather is also a wild card. The night before the first day of racing, a massive thunderstorm forced the organizers to take action and flip the running order of the stages to provide slightly drier courses. If the demanding trails and unpredictability of the weather weren’t enough, riders also had to manage a tough transfer to stage 2, with a 1,000 meter climb right before the start. This made for a tight connection for many, and most arrived mere minutes before their start after 2 hours and 15 minutes were allowed for the transfer time-cut off.
Day 2 also saw an unpredicted change with a shortening of stage 5, forcing riders to race the sixth stage twice. Similarly, both stages 4 and 6 were exhaustive 10-minute plus runs, starting in the high alpine and dropping into the valley floor below. Thomas Lapeyrie and Becky Cook of the Orbea ENVE team took 6th and 8th place, respectively. Anneke Beerten unfortunately crashed out in the first brutal stage, and Codey Kelley soldiered on despite a lingering illness. Impressive all together, with all riders on the M730 wheels and the M Series Handlebars and Stems.
In the end, all left with vivid memories after an incredible weekend of racing on what is surely the most demanding round of the EWS. Continue to follow along with our EWS athletes @OrbeaEnduroTeam, @AnnekeBeerten and @KelleyMTB as they continue into the final EWS events.