Emerging downhill star leads kiwi Eliana Hulsebosch – podium in mountain bike world cup

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Tauranga teenager Eliana Hulsebosch produced a stunning display to lead a kiwi shut-out of the junior women’s podium at the UCI MTB Downhill World Cup in Trentino, Italy today.

The 16-year-old claimed her first World Cup victory in spectacular fashion, recording a time that was faster than the elite riders later in the day.

Hulsebosch (Union-Steel City Media), the top qualifier, blasted down the 2.2km infamous Black Snake downhill course in 4:31.388 which would have been fast enough to win the elite women’s race later in the day – albeit with differing track conditions.

She led home compatriots Sacha Earnest (Trek Factory) and last year’s winner with world junior champion Elice van Leuven (Commencal les Orres) in third for a kiwi sweep of the podium.

In her debut season, Hulsebosch was third at Fort William and second in Leogang, but went one better to win by over 10 seconds in a remarkable display, to move to the top of the overall world cup rankings from van Leuven with Earnest fourth.

Christchurch rider Luke Wayman (Gravity Cartel) continued his outstanding season to finish fifth in the junior men’s final, one spot ahead of Kaikoura teenager Oli Clark (Unior-Sinter Factory) with the pair third and 13th respectively overall in the championship.

The dream of a second straight podium at the fearsome Val di Sole track for elite national champion Jess Blewitt was extinguished before it started. After topping the elite women’s competition in the semifinal, Blewitt fell during the morning practice and was unable to start.

Queenstown’s Toby Meek was the sole kiwi male to qualify for the elite men’s final, finished 30th in the event won by French star Amaury Pierron.

There was no luck for in-form Rotorua rider Lachlan Stevens-McNab (Union-Steel City Media) who suffered a mechanical affecting his brakes, and despite this was only 0.6s outside of qualifying in the semifinal.

The focus moves to cross-country finals tomorrow with the next round of downhill in France in two weeks.

28:45 Erice van Leuven run, followed by Sacha Earnest and Eliana Hulsebosch – with the three kiwis together at the finish.

Video – Junior Women’s Final


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