Round 5 of the Enduro World Series saw Hill and Ravanel deliver yet another masterclass. Both entered the weekend looking to compound their respective leads in the overall and did so with aplomb.
Set in the shadow of Mont Blanc, the Italian weather delivered its worst; playing havoc with the weekend and resulting in a flurry of changes to proceedings. With the forecast for Sunday looking ominous, race organizers opted to abandon Stage 5 and instead Stage 6 was to be raced twice.
EWS Round 5 - La Thuile
1. Sam Hill - 59:53.27
2. Martin Maes +0:00:13.15
3. Eddie Masters +0:00:40.58
1. Cecile Ravanel - 58:39.84
2. Isabeau Courdurier +0:01:39.35
3. Ines Thoma +0:03:38.97
Under 21 Men
1. Theotim Trabac - 1:03:13.72
2. Elliott Heap +0:00:10.59
3. Cole Lucas +0:01:44.37
In the men's, the damage was done on day 1; flawless riding from Hill saw him take the win in each of the first three stages. Martin Maes pushed hard on day two, securing victory in two of the remaining three stages, but it wasn't enough to dethrone Hill and Maes had to settle for second. Rounding out the top 3 was Ed Masters who continued his momentum following his ninth-place finish in Vallnord.
In the women's, Cecile Ravanel was impeccable, dropping just one stage all weekend and continuing her demolition of the field. With Cecile firmly in control, it became a race between the chasing pack for the remaining podium spots. Isabeau Courdureir delivered yet another second place and posed the greatest threat to Ravanel all weekend. Behind her, Melanie Pugin and Ines Thoma battled all weekend, but a crash on stage 4 put Pugin out of contention and opened the door for Thoma to secure the final spot on the podium.
In the U21 field, Elliot Heap looked in control and a safe bet for the victory. It wasn't to be though, with a rear puncture on stage 4 forcing him back and allowing Theotim Trabac to claim the victory. Cole Lucas rode well all weekend and secured third, rounding out the podium.
Hill and Ravanel now have a near-unassailable lead and, with just three rounds to go, would appear to have at least one hand on the world title. It will surely take a miracle, or disaster, for anyone to catch them now. Round 6 takes place in Whistler on the 12th August.
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