History was made beneath the Matterhorn on Friday, when the first-ever EWS-E winners were crowned in Switzerland.
The first round of this brand new series, the Specialized Zermatt EWS-E, saw some of mountain biking’s most decorated racers battle it out between the tapes in this all-new format.
Confronted with tough singletrack liaisons, steep descents and an extremely technical climb, it was clear from the start that Yannick Pontal (Lapierre Zipp Collective) and Melanie Pugin were in control of this race.
Pugin set her intentions out right from the first stage, putting down the power to win the stage and put an impressive six second lead into closest rival, three times EWS Champion Tracy Moseley. It was a scene that was to be repeated over the next three stages, Moseley only managing to best her on the technical climbing of stage five, the Power Stage. However, it wasn’t enough to trouble Pugin’s lead who went on to win stage six and take the race by over a minute. Flying the flag for Switzerland was former Olympian Nathalie Schneitter, who claimed third place.
In the men’s race it was Jose Borges (Miranda Factory Team) who won the first stage of the day, with Canyon Collective’s Loris Revelli winning stage two. But Yannick Pontal proved that consistency is key, taking the race lead after stage two despite being yet to take a stage win. Pontal’s lead then went unchallenged for the rest of the race, taking the overall win and cementing his place in the history books. Legend of the sport and Pontal’s Lapierre team mate Nico Vouilloz finished second, with Jose Borges rounding out the podium. A special mention should also go to Jerome Gilloux (E-Team Moustache Bikes) who stormed to victory on the Power Stage. South African Matt Lombardi placed 18th.
With overall series points on hold for 2020 so as not to adversely affect riders who are unable to travel, it’s only the Team Championship up for grabs this season. And getting off to a flying start are Miranda Factory Team who lead the standings, followed by Lapierre Zipp Collective in second with E-Team Moustache Bikes in third. The second round of the series is scheduled to take place in Pietra Ligure, Italy on September 23.
Full results from the Specialized Zermatt EWS-E are available here.