Hill and Ravanel win first EWS of 2018
Strong starts for the reigning champs
Sam Hill and Cecile Ravanel have kicked off their title defences in the perfect way by clinching wins in the first round of the 2018 Enduro World Series in Lo Barnechea, Chile.
Cecile Ravanel was in her usual swashbuckling fashion as she won all but one of the stages across two days of dust-saturated racing. She slipped to ninth in Stage 4, which allowed Isabeau Courdurier, on her new Intense Mavic Collective team, to claim her own stage win.
Courdurier finished 47 seconds back in second before the two Brits, Katy Winton and Bex Baraona, in third and fourth respectively and Caro Gehrig picking up fifth.
In the men's race, Sam Hill picked up three stage wins of a possible six on his way to a 36 second victory over Martin Maes. Richie Rude pickd up two stage wins but a nightmare on stage two left him scrapping way down the rankings in 53rd place.
The only other stage win went to Martin Maes who ended up in second place, just ahead of Robin Wallner. Gusti Wilddhaber and Jesse Melamed settled for fourth and fifth.
There was more good news for Hill as his great rival from last year, Adrien Dailly, was forced to retire at the end of day one.
There's no rest for the victors and plenty of opportunity for vindication for the defeated though as next weekend sees round two at the northern tip of South America in Manizales, Colombia.