Feature Racing

Enduro ladies and their bikes at the final round of the 2017 EWS

The end of the Enduro World Series in Finale Ligure has become legendary for its after-party. Before that kicked off, however, we managed to persuade some of the enduro ladies to accompany us on a short date at the beach. Read on to see the magic our charm worked.

As has become tradition, the Enduro World Series ended in Finale Ligure and once again the final leg of the series attracted more than 500 riders from around the globe. The competition was particularly fierce in the women’s pro class: while Cécile Ravanel had secured the overall victory long before the race started, the remaining six riders behind her had to fight it out for 2nd place.

Cécile Ravanel – COMMENCAL META AM V4.2

This is what winners look like: Cécile of the COMMENCAL Vallnord Enduro Team dominated the 2017 Enduro World Series on her COMMENCAL META AM V4.2. We were lucky enough to borrow her bike, the COMMENCAL META AM V4.2, and subject it to a bike check.
Although Cécile had the overall EWS victory in the bag, she didn’t for a second let up in Finale and clocked the best time in 5 of the seven stages.
Behind every great success is a great team! Cécile’s parents, her husband, Cedric, the mechanics of the COMMENCAL Vallnord Enduro team and Max Commencal celebrate their repeated overall win of the Enduro World Series.

Isabeau Courdurier – SUNN Kern

Congratulations! 23-Year-Old Frenchwoman Isabeau also managed to repeat her 2nd spot in the overall ranking of the Enduro World Series behind Cécile, leading up to which was a victory in Australia and 2nd spot in five other races this series.
The SUNN Kern LT fits Isabeau like a tailored suit: Normally, SUNN only makes this bike in sizes S to L. But for Isabeau’s delicate stature of 154 cm, her team of mechanics dug deep to adjust the 27.5″ bike accordingly.
In order to make the frame fit Isabeau, the seat tube had to be changed. The lockout lever for RockShox Monarch Plus also had to be shortened to fit in the frame and still be usable.
Isabeau with a helmet cam on the first training day shortly after the start of stage 1.

Anita und Carolin Gehring – Ibis Cycle HD4

Since the EWS race in Madeira, Anita and Caro have been charging the trails on the new Ibis Mojo HD4. By the end of the 2017 season Anita (right) placed in the somewhat unrewarding 4th spot for the third time in a row, while Caro secured 5th overall.
The twins went through a rollercoaster of emotions at the end of the race, as Katy Winton and Anita were on the same point standings 59 minutes into the race. Only after a second read-out of the chips did it become clear that Anita lost 3rd to Katy by a mere 0.05 seconds. Half an hour later on the beach of Finale, the sister’s spirits were back up. The consistently good results of the twins contributed decisively to the win of the team title of the 2017 EWS for the Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team.
Anita in front of her twin sister Caro on Stage 1, one of the longest days of the EWS with more than 20 minutes riding time.
Anita closed a 40-second gap to Katy Winton on the second day of the race in Finale, only missing the podium by 0.05 seconds!
Caro Gehrig showed what she is capable of and set the second fastest time on the last stage in Finale Ligure, finishing 5th overall in the 2017 EWS.

Ines Thoma – Canyon Strive CF

Ines Thoma will be officially staying on the Canyon Factory Enduro Team for 2018, and for the EWS stage in Whistler this year she was rewarded with a hot pink paint scheme on her Canyon Strive CF. Glittery custom paint! The Canyon Strive has been on the market for three years, and it’s still among the most potent bikes in its class.
What is Ines trying to tell us with this picture? Look how strong I am? How light my bike is? Maybe she just wanted to point out a seldom-noticed detail on her bike, the large protector on the downtube of her fancy carbon frame. She’s probably just happy and looking forward to the after-party!
Ahead of the race in Finale, Ines’ overall standing looked promising in 4th place. But stage 1 shattered all her hopes; she had a crash with far-reaching consequences: a battered rim, flat tire and bent chainring, putting Ines back by 23 minutes. Even though she had no realistic chance of regaining her position, she rode a great race with the third quickest time on stage 3 and 6. Hats off to her fighting spirit!

Rae Morrison – Liv Hail Advanced

28-year-old New Zealander Rae raced the Enduro World Series for the Giant Factory Off-Road Team on the specially developed for ladies Liv Hail Advanced.
Liv cycling rider Rae Morrison ended her third season in the Enduro World Series in 10th place overall.
Rae preferred the direct line through the rock labyrinth of stage 4 in Finale Ligure.

Katherine Sharp – Hope HB 160

The 23-year-old Englishwoman Katherine raced the entire EWS season on her eye-catching Hope HB 160; the only race she couldn’t finish was Finale. Last year, several factory riders participated in the EWS with a prototype of the Hope bike. Katherine had the honour of riding serial number 0007 of the recently launched HB 160.
The heart of the Hope HB 160, the 900 g carbon front triangle, doesn’t come from the Far East but is produced at the company headquarters in Barnoldswick / Lancashire. We learned all about the elaborate process that goes into making the carbon frames on a recent Hope factory tour.
Katherine mounted Hope F20 flat pedals on her blue cranks. While the light blue colour is still in a test phase, the Hope cranks with their 30 mm axle have been on the market for two years.
The Hope AM 35 mm stem is milled from one solid piece of aluminium.
The front wheel is controlled by a Hope Tech3 E4 with 180 mm rotors.
The 11-speed 10-44 Hope cassette is combined with a SRAM XX1 derailleur.
The radial brake mounts of the Hope Tech3 E4 look very neat.

Casey Brown – Trek Slash 29

27-year-old Casey Brown managed to finish only 3 EWS races on her Trek Slash this year, with her 3rd place finish in Aspen / USA being the best result.
But it wasn’t the standard tool! Casey added a Dynaplug kit to the bottom of it. Very nice!
Asked about special features on her bike, the Canadian pulled the OneUp EDC Multitool from the inside of its steerer tube.
What ladies carry in their handbags is one of the greatest mysteries in the world. Fortunately, Casey was happy to show us what she put in her Bontrager Bib Shorts: smartphone and power snacks.
At the end of the season in Finale Ligure, Casey rode to 6th place overall.

Tanja Naber – Juliana Strega

Tanja from the German bike-mecca Freiburg took part in three EWS races aboard her Juliana Strega this year. She got her best result so far with 19th place in Finale. While she showed that there is more to come from her by securing the 9th spot on stage 3. An absolute eye-catcher on her bike is the upside-down fork.
The upside-down suspension fork Intend Edge in Racing-Blue is the most striking part of Tanja’s bike. Since meeting Cornelius Kapfinger, the inventor and founder of the Intend Edge fork, in a bike park in Freiburg Tanja has been signed on as a team rider.
Tanja also uses a Freiburg product for her brakes: allegedly the PICCOLA from Trickstuff is the lightest hydraulic disc brake in the world, little sister of the brutal Trickstuff DIRETTISSIMA.

Tina Kutschki – GHOST prototyp SL AMR 27,5

Tina is an engineer in the development department of GHOST and raced in Finale on a prototype she helped develop. Unfortunately, she couldn’t tell us whether her theoretical calculations proved themselves to be true in the real world!
The prototype of the new SL AMR with a 130 mm travel and 27.5″ wheels is close to production and seems to have gotten through the rough trails in Finale Ligure unscathed.
Racing in Finale was the first time Tina took part in the EWS, displaying her starting number with pride.
The swing arm linkage is the most obvious change compared to the previous GHOST SL AMR.
Sherlock would have noticed that before she came to Finale, Tina must have ridden this same prototype in the TrailTrophy at Kronplatz in South Tyrol. The partially covered tt sticker is a dead giveaway.

Sandra Rübesam – Nukeproof Mega 275

Sandra, the 2015 and 2016 German Downhill Champion as well as runner-up in 2017, started racing for Nukeproof this year. In contrast to her teammate Sam Hill, who was aboard the new Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon in Finale, Sandra had to make do with the aluminium Nukeproof Mega 275 version.
Sandra is particularly proud of her very own signature-series rear wheel hub from Onyx.
Sandra, aka Thundercat, has put everything necessary for an enduro race in her Amplifi Trail 7 protector backpack.
Sandra’s excursion into the world of enduro has left its marks.

Stefanie Thalmann – SCOTT Genius LT 700 Tuned

Swiss lady, Stefanie, placed a lot of emphasis on the fact that she is a privateer. With the style of a pro, she was very happy placing 26th in Finale on her SCOTT Genius LT 700 Tuned.
Stefanie stored all her utensils in her EVOC Hip Pack Race.

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Words & Photos: Manne Schmitt

About the author

Manne Schmitt

As the proud father of Robin and Max-Philip, Manne has been there from the start and is the wise elder of the editorial team. He won his first cycling race in elementary school at a school sports day. After less successful attempts at football, he found his passion for cycling via endurance racing in 1989! The world of racing still consumes him and no one in the team knows the EWS pros better than Manne. As a former head analyst of a state agency, he knows how to do proper research and finds exclusive news that no one else has. He supports his sons in day-to-day business dealings as the authorised signatory for 41 Publishing – viva la familia!