Sam Hill reigned supreme at this year’s Enduro World Series. Clinching his third series title in a row and breaking the men’s record for most championship wins.
By round eight, in the shadow of the Matterhorn, the riders prepared to battle one last time for the series crown at the final race ‘Traillove EWS Zermatt’.
High-altitude trails housed the final round, technical and challenging the race put extra strain on bikes and equipment while demanding mental and physical strength.
“Altitude plays a huge role in making the stages a struggle, I didn’t actually realise that Zermatt was going to be so high, luckily I had a good few weeks training behind me which helped,” says Sam.
Leading rider Florian Nicolai kicked off the race with a slim 60 point margin. Sam was hot on his heels as reigning champion, but after a number of series set-backs, it was looking like he wouldn’t be able to hold on to the title for another year.
The result wouldn’t be decided until the final stage of the day. Ultimately, it would come down to who could perform under pressure in the last stage.
Watch Sam ride the Swiss trail and claim his third EWS win.
Taking second place, Hill lost out to Martin Maes whose fierce display sealed the race win, leaving former champ Richie Rude in third place.
Sam reflects, “I was surprisingly relaxed all week, I had less to lose as I was in second place. I was just determined to get as many points as I could and see how it all worked out. Luckily it all worked out great.” He had already closed the gap by the time the riders took to the Queen Stage and final race. Spurred on by the additional incentive of an extra 40 series points, Hill and Nicolai weren’t going to give up without a fight.
As Nicolai finished, leaving a good time gap after Sam, things were looking up for the Aussie rider. But they still needed to get back to the village and check their overall times.
“The suspense was killing me, they didn’t give us times or overall positions until we were physically on the stage. I knew I had an awesome run in the final stage, so was feeling pretty confident. I just wanted to hear it from an official before I got too excited,” he says.
Sam came in second place overall for the race, a mere 12 seconds behind race winner Martin Maes. Nicolai needed to finish fourth or better to keep his points lead. But the French rider placed in fifth, and as Sam had won the Queen’s stage for the extra points, he claimed his third Enduro World Series title.
Sam had clinched the win with just seconds to spare.
Another victory for the world-beating rider, and his Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic team.
Let’s see what EWS 2020 holds for the undefeatable team.
Three-time EWS champion Sam Hill rode to victory on Michelin Wild Enduro tires providing him the grip and traction needed to secure the win and break the world record. Find out their set-up secrets from team manager Nigel Page.
Discover the full range of Michelin MTB products.