It wasn't just the lack of oxygen in the lungs that became a deciding factor in Aspen this weekend, it would also be the lack of that same thin air in tires that would create the most drama. Richie Rude came into the second day of racing with a comfortable lead, and the confidence that he was certainly the fastest man in Aspen. Unfortunately, that would all come undone in less than a minute into the first stage of the day. A cut tire sidewall would literally deflate his chances of winning, and all of a sudden the race was blown wide open. Jared Graves looked to capitalize and at one point was within fractions of Sam Hill and the race lead, but Sam kept his cool and would steadily pull away from the pack as the day went on. A late charge from Martin Maes would see him overtake Graves by a spot for second, pushing last year's winner back to third when all was said and done. In the Women's race, Cecile Ravanel stayed out front all day while the drama played out behind her. Casey Brown, Isabeau Courdurier, Anita Gehrig and Katy Winton were all in contention for remaining podium spots and would battle it out right to the very end. Isabeau was able to pull out a comfortable gap for second, with Casey rounding out the podium by the slimmest of margins. In the overall, Cecile has it all but locked up while in the men's round we have a renewed battle on our hands and a new series leader. As Adrien Daily and Greg Callaghan struggled, Sam Hill chose the perfect time to turn things up a notch and put it to his closest rivals. And with two rounds to go the fight between Sam and Adrien is going to be too close to call until the season comes to a close in Finale Ligure.
What a thing to wake up to, clear skies on race day at the EWS this season!
Aspens aren't the only trees in Aspen. Every once in a while you'll come across a solitary pine to two.
Jesse Melamed pulled back 5 places today racing stages that more suited his style, and would finish the day in 5th.
Sam Hill leaving a trial of dust and loam down stage 5.
A lot of people counted Sam Hill out. Never count Sam Hill out.
Anita Gehrig took fourth this weekend, edged out of a podium by Casey Brown.
Damien Oton had another solid weekend finishing fourth.
Isabeau had a tight battle with Casey Brown today but came away with second place in the end.
Cecile Ravanel making it look all too easy once again.
Noga Korem would finish and uncharacteristic 7th this weekend.
13th for Cody Kelley who was loving it in the dry and dusty conditions for a change.
Curtis Keene did America proud with a top 10 finish on home turf this weekend.
It's not too often that we see Jerome Clementz finish outside the top 10, but the high speeds and high altitudes just weren't playing to his strengths this round.
Adrien Dailly had to do damage control this weekend as he was off the pace in 6th and watching his series lead disappear.
Killian Callaghan came from behind on day 2 to take the top spot in the U21 category.
Yeti's Duncan Nason took second for the U21 men.
After some bad luck at the last round in Millau, Martin Maes came roaring back to take 2nd here in Aspen.
A sharp rock at the top of the long and physical stage 4 ended what was looking to be a dominating performance by Richie Rude.
Hit one of these just the wrong way and your hopes of a win will deflate in a hurry. Just ask Richie Rude.
If the racing doesn't go to plan there is always a plan B.
Remi Gauvin bested his previous best result by one spot today to finish in 8th.
Remi is already getting excited about the next round on his home turf in Whistler.
Anne Galyean was the fastest American woman taking 12th on the weekend.
Jesse Melamed flying down stage six to take fifth for the weekend.
Cody Kelley had a hell of a weekend finishing 13th for Yeti.
Sam Hill has been itching for this. EWS win number 2 came today as well as the overall.
Katy Winton took fifth place this weekend, and second for the overall.
6th for Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau.
Martin Maes held it together today and even managed to pull back a few places to finish the weekend in 2nd overall. Amazingly, after 46 minutes of racing, he was within 4 seconds of Sam Hill and the win.
Casey Brown was on a tear this weekend. She took stage four and third for the weekend.
Third place is worth howling about.
Francois Bailly-Maitre loves long and fast enduro stages like the ones in Aspen and today recorded his best result this season with 7th.
Jared Graves was a favorite to win this weekend, but luck wasn't on his side. Grave finished third.
Cecile Ravanel plows through the fresh loam and loose rocks on stage 5 en route to another EWS win.
Iago Garay drops into the steep and freshly built stage 5.
Martin Maes took second place today. He's been edging closer and closer to the top step this season.
Sam Hill charges to the finish on stage four.
Mckay Venzia pushing through the loam to take 16th place.
Florian Nicolai rounded out the exclusive group of top ten men, a group that also contained two of his Rocky Mountain teammates.
Mark Scott pinned through the final technical section of the weekend. The only thing between him and the finish line is a blistering fast final straightaway where riders were hitting speeds in excess of 75kph.
Jared Graves lost time to Martin Maes through the day, but with Richie Rudes' puncture, he was still able to grab the final spot on the podium.
Adrien Dailly had a rough go of it this weekend finishing in sixth place.
High speeds were attained today. Katy Winton topped out at 68.49 km/h on stage 6. Winton also took the win on stage six.
Mitch Ropelato finished twenty-second, but it should be noted that he had a stage win on three.
The beer was flowing like wine.
Isabeau Courdurier and Noga Korem rehydrate with some cold beer after a very long and hot weekend of racing in Aspen.
That's another one for Cecile.
It turned out to be quite a nice weekend after all. In fact, it was a bit on the warm side today. Just made that post race beer all the nicer.
The fastest three men in Aspen
Cecile Ravanel, Isabeau Courdurier, and Casey Brown top the Women's podium in Aspen.
With three riders in the top 10 this weekend, Rocky Mountain took the top team honors, followed by Ibis and Trek.