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Canadians to watch when EWS returns to Madeira

There's a crowd of Canadians in, or pushing the top-10 this weekend in in Portugal

EWS Enduro World Series Ainsa Sobrarbe

Enduro World Series returns to the picturesque island of Madeira in Portugal this weekend, for the third round of racing this season.

Last time the EWS was there, Whistler’s Jesse Melamed led after the first day of racing. It wasn’t to be though, as the island’s rough tracks claimed Melamed’s rear wheel, and hopes of taking the win.

Canadian’s to watch in Madeira

This year, Melamed is back along with teammates Remi Gauvin and Andréane Lanthier Nadeau. All three sit inside the top-1o overall after two stages of racing.

Kona Gravity Racing will be looking to Rhys Verner and Miranda Miller for results. Miller is returning from an injury sustained in practice at Dry Hill in Port Angeles, while Verner is working back into form after spending much of his 2018 season sidelined with injury.

RELATED: Watch: Jesse Melamed previews EWS Round 3 in Madeira

Max Leyen (Norco Canadian Development Team) has been rapidly adapting to moving up from under-21 to elite. The B.C. rider went from 65th at round 1 up to 46th in Derby a week later.

McKay Vezina (Giant Factory Off Road Team) will not be racing in Portugal, but Rachel Pageau (Pivot Cycles-OTE) will be making her first EWS appearance of 2019.

Under-21 on fire

Kasper Woolley lands in Madeira after a stellar opening pair of races. Woolley was ninth in Rotorua, then landed on the podium in third in Derby.

Mixed wheel sizes, consistent winners

Both opening rounds were won by the same two riders. Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) has extended his impressive 2018 into the new year, taking both the Rotorua and Derby, Tasmania rounds. Those wins not only attracted more attention to the multi-talented rider, but to his multi-diameter wheels. The Belgian has been running the 29″ front / 27.5″ rear combo that also carried Loic Bruni to the first DH World Cup win of the season.

On the women’s side, Isabeau Courdurier (Intense Mavic Collective) has taken control of the women’s racing in the absence of Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord). She’s being chased by a tightly packed crowd of racers, including Nadeau in fifth. Noga Korem (GT Factory Racing), Bex Baraona (Ibis Cycles) and Morgane Charre (Juliana) sit in spots 2 – 4th, and are all within 50 points of each other.

Watch the preview for round three of the Enduro World Series in Madeira, Portugal:

If you’re just catching up on the 2019 Enduro World Series, check out what happened in Round 1 at Rotorua, New Zealand:

And then on the rider-favourite trails of Derby, Tasmania in Round 2:

If you’re really keen to get a full preview of racing in Madeira, watch the full highlight show from the last time the EWS visited the bucolic island in 2017