The Enduro World Series 2020 calendar has been overhauled and announced.
The ongoing Coronavirus global pandemic has created huge change. From our daily life, to governance, freedom of movement and sporting fictures. By late April we would have normally been well into the Enduro World Series (EWS) and Downhill World Cup - but all rounds have been postponed or cancelled so far. But now, the Enduro World Series (EWS) board alongside cycling's governing body, the UCI, have consulted with local organisers and cancelled four 2020 events and rescheduled another.
The rounds affected are as follows:
Val di Fassa/Canazei ITA - 4/5 July - Cancelled
Petzen/Jamnica AUS/SLO - 11/12 July (rescheduled to October)
Valberg FRA 18/19 July - Cancelled - EWS-E R1 will now be hosted in Olargues FRA in October
Burke, Vermont USA - 1/2 August - Cancelled
Whistler CAN - 8/9 August - Cancelled
This restructuring comes after detailed discussions between the Enduro World Series, local organisers and the governing body of cycling, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The EWS have said they are working collectively to ensure that there are events this season for racers to attend and enjoy.
Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball, said:
“In our best effort to balance the health and safety of our riders, fans and staff we have made the hard decision to cancel a number of events and to push our season start back to the end of August. By working pragmatically and putting riders first, and by working closely with our colleagues at the UCI we feel that these changes will still provide great racing towards the end of the year. We look forward to visiting the great communities we will miss this year when we return to them in 2021”
How the EWS looks for 2020
The new-look season sees Zermatt in Switzerland open proceedings on 30 August. Finale Ligure will play host on 26/27 September for the Trophy of Nations. Olargues in France will be round two in October as well as now being the opening round of EWS-E before the races then head to Petzen/Jamnica in Austria/Slovenia later in the month.
After that round four will be held in Manizales, Colombia (6/7 November) before the season finale in Farellones, Chile (14/15 November).
Racer's thoughts on the EWS in 2020
Sitting here in Australia, the prospect of global travel this year seems far-fetched. We contacted an Australian rider who has raced on the EWS circuit for the past few years to get their thoughts. While at first they believed the South American rounds might be possible, they also admit that at the moment planning for that is a gamble, with the restrictions on travel and how hard it would be to find travel to the right areas.
There is also the fairness of racing to consider. Many of the fast European racers in Italy, Spain or France are currently unable to ride outside. Those in other countries can. Sure they aren't racing - but they're riding their bikes on dirt and maintaining or improving skills and fitness.
And what about equality in racing? With much higher travel costs anticipated, will racing this year just be for locals and the privileged few? This may have greater impact in the women's field which already has smaller numbers.
Right now, it might be ebst to view the Enduro World Series events as a ray of hope for racers in Switzerland, Italy, France, Austria, Slovenia, Colombia and Chile. We aren't certain what travel restrictions might be in play in a few months, but if these events run then at least racers in all those countries will get the chance to prove themselves on demanding courses.
With Jared Graves, Connor Fearon and Sam Hill (amongst others) all big players in the EWS, the chances of them being able to attend look slim at the moment. But if we consider what has changed in 6 weeks - it could all be very different again in 4 months time.
Let's just hope those in the Oceania region and North America, and other areas, can play along too.