Photo Epic: Chasing Rainbows – EWS Trophy of Nations 2019
For the first time in the history of the sport, UCI jerseys and medals were on offer. Their prestige was reflected in the intensity of the racing on display on Finale Ligure’s iconic trails. As riders worked together in teams of three with their fellow countrymen and women, the sport was turned on its head as personal ambitions were shed in pursuit of national pride. Five stages, high in the Ligurian hills, stood between the racers and the podium while 24 different nationalities battled it out in front of thousands of fans lining the track to cheer on their home countries.
In the men’s competition, the much-hyped French team’s hopes were dashed when Florian Nicolai flatted on the very first stage. Team USA put the hammer down right out of the start gate, with the theme continuing throughout the race as they proved untouchable. The winning team of Americans Richie Rude, Shawn Neer, and Cody Kelley rode into the finish arena to a hero’s welcome, securing their place in the history books. Team Sweden put up a valiant fight and Robin Wallner, Zakarias Blom Johansen, and Alexander Kangas were rewarded with second place. The podium was completed by Team Canada in third place, featuring regular-season teammates Jesse Melamed, Remi Gauvin, and Rhys Verner.
In the women’s race, the times were tighter. Going into the fifth and final stage of the day, Team Great Britain led Team France by just under six seconds. However, the combination of Isabeau Courdurier, Morgane Charre, and Melanie Pugin proved too strong for the Brits. Katy Winton, Bex Baraona, and Becky Cook had to settle for second place. Team Canada’s Miranda Miller, Andreane Lanthier Nadeau, and Jennifer McHugh rode consistently for well-deserved bronze medals.
In the U21 competition, team New Zealand blew away their rivals. The trio of Brady Stone, John Richardson, and Nils Heiniger rose to the top step of the podium. Italians Hannes Alber, Simone Pelissero, and Matteo Saccon delighted their home crowd with a silver medal finish, with the Canadian team of Kasper Woolley, Jacob Tooke, and Evan Wall claiming third. Team Great Britain was triumphant in the U21 Women with Harriet Harnden, Ellen Flewitt and Polly Henderson leading from stage one and holding the top spot throughout the race. Team USA’s Anna Newkirk, Lauren Bingham, and Isabella Naughton finished in silver medal position.