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Enduro goes electric with EWS-E racing

Three event electric bike calendar added to Enduro World Series

emtb EWS-E

The Enduro World Series (EWS) is expanding in a new, fully charged direction for the 2020 season. The race series announced Tuesday that it would be launching a parallel EWS-E series of eMTB enduro racing.

At the end of 2018, the EWS merged with Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The first change included more rigorous drug testing of athletes. Then the awarding of enduro’s first ever UCI medals and rainbow jerseys at the Trophy of Nations.

The next major change seems to be the inclusion of eMTB racing in the enduro format. David Lappartient, the UCI’s president, was positive about the move.

“Based on the experience and know-how of the Enduro World Series (EWS), this innovative format of competition will offer spectacular racing while ensuring the highest standard of sporting integrity,”  Lappartient said in the announcement, adding “The UCI is looking forward to the introduction of an electric-powered version of Enduro with the launch of the EWS-E from 2020. Based on the experience and know-how of the Enduro World Series (EWS), this innovative format of competition will offer spectacular racing while ensuring the highest standard of sporting integrity. This new series confirms the current status of E-MTB as a fast-moving cycling discipline.”

The move follows shortly behind the UCI’s first ever eMTB race at Mont-Sainte-Anne world championships.

The Enduro World Series will develop the format and growth of e-bike enduro internationally alongside the UCI and will launch a new flagship international series in 2020, Enduro World Series-E (EWS-E),” the EWS organization press release stated. “The series will feature three rounds across Europe in France, Switzerland and Italy – with the overall winners crowned the Enduro World Series-E Champions.”

2020 won’t be the only time EWS has experimented with electric bikes. Final Ligure, Italy, hosted an e-bike test event in 2018. According to organizers, following that event they “delayed launching a full series until both the format of racing could be fine tuned, and a solution to the monitoring of motor assistance could be answered.”

Full rules have yet to be released The format should be interesting though. Currently, enduro racers must start and finish each round on the same frame, fork and wheels. How the EWS will adapt that rule to battery charge could make the new format an interesting strategic consideration for athletes. Enduro World Series events often run in the range of 50 km, with thousands of metres of elevation gain, well beyond the reach of most current eMTBs.

In a statement explaining the direction EWS-E events will go in, and the technical challenge of monitoring fairness in a motorized event, the EWS said:

“This new format will retain the core values of existing Enduro World Series races but held on separate courses that will challenge riders on a vast variety of terrain and feature racing on a mix of uphill and downhill highly technical Special Stages. The addition of technical climbing will not be the only difference to traditional EWS enduro racing though, as EWS-E will also bring the Liaison Stages into the challenge with tighter times and more singletrack than ever before. This combination will push both the rider’s physical and bike handling limits to the max in a multi-loop and intense course, driving forwards the development of e-bike technology and e-bike trail management and design.

“For the past two years the EWS has also been working behind the scenes to develop the technology that can monitor e-bike power output, to ensure EWS-E can offer truly fair competition. More information about this new system will be available in early 2020.”

While EWS-E will be a similar format to standard enduro events, don’t expect to see many of the top human powered racers lining up. Two of the three EWS-E rounds overlap with analog EWS dates.

The first EWS-E race will be a separate event, held in Valberg, France on July 17 – 18, 2020. The next round will take place alongside EWS finals in Zermatt, Switzerland on August 29 – 30. The final EWS-E event will be held in Finale Ligure, Italy, at the same time as the Trophy of Nations event on Sept. 25 – 26.

A statement from the Enduro World Series Board of Directors said: “We have always aimed to innovate within the EWS and so we are delighted to begin an exciting journey in the development of an e-bike enduro format that will push riders and technology and create a whole new form of exciting enduro-format racing”.

“We are motivated to help drive technological development, including the launch of electronic monitoring of E-bike motors for fair sport and work to make sure trail access and important developments for the future of this discipline are carefully managed. Starting in central Europe in 2020, we will work to expand the EWS-E to new countries when the time is right”