The Enduro World Series (EWS) heads to Madeira, Portugal this week for round three, EWS Powered by Freeride Madeira.
It’s the second time the series has visited this tiny island, which lies in the Atlantic Ocean between Portugal and the coast of Africa. After making its debut in 2017, it was never in doubt that the series would make a return to Madeira, which has become synonymous with some of the most scenic and diverse riding imaginable.
This weekend’s race will feature eight stages across two days of racing, with riders tackling the hugely varied trails on both Saturday and Sunday. Stage seven - Boca de Risco - has been designated the Queen Stage, where extra series points are up for grabs for whoever masters this iconic cliff top stage.
And chasing those points hard will be series leader Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing). Maes’ season got off to the perfect start with back to back wins at the first two rounds in Rotorua and Derby, including taking both Queens Stage wins and ensuring he scored the maximum number of points available in the process. Florian Nicolai (Canyon Factory Racing) trails him by 210 points in second place, with Keegan Wright (Unior Devinci Factory Racing) just 40 points behind in third. There are plenty of men able to challenge that top three though - including reigning champion Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) - although 2017 Madeira winner Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team) is out with an injured foot.
It’s a similar story in the women’s competition, with Isabeau Courdurier (Intense Mavic Collective) also out front with maximum point from the first two rounds. Noga Korem (GT Factory Racing) lies second in the ranking and will go into the race feeling confident - she scored her first EWS podium in Madeira in 2017 when she took third place. Just 30 points behind Korem lies Bex Baraona (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team) in third and just 20 points back is Morgane Charre.
Antoine Vidal (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Racing Team) leads the U21 Men’s category, whilst Fenella Harris does the same in the U21 Women. In the Master Men reigning Champion Karim Amour (Miranda Racing Team) is out front with a 100 point lead, whilst Michelle Gane of Australia leads the Master Women.
In the team competition GT Factory Racing lead the charge, with Rocky Mountain/Race Face Enduro Team in second and Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team in third.
Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said: “We’re all excited to be back in Madeira for round three. The trails here are so diverse and exotic, leading all the way from volcanic summits to jungle like coastlines. It’s a huge change in trail type from rounds one and two in New Zealand and Tasmania but it’s the wide variety of challenges in the EWS that will lead us to find the best mountain bike racer in the world.”
Race maps, schedules and rider lists for this weekend's race are available here, and you can follow all the action on Saturday and Sunday on the EWS site here.