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Triple Kiwi success at World Cup in Austria

Updated: Jun 12

Lachie Stevens-McNab in action and on his way to a medal at the UCI MTB Downhill World Cup in Austria
Lachie Stevens-McNab was one of three kiwi success stories at the MTB Downhill World Cup in Austria. PHOTO: CYCLING NZ

New Zealand riders Lachie Stevens-McNab, Erice van Leuven and Eliana Hulsebosch have all claimed podium placings in the latest round of the UCI MTB Downhill World Cup in Austria.


Stevens-McNab, 20, took third place in the elite men’s downhill final at Leogang, after world champion Erice van Leuven, 17,  and Eliana Hulsebosch, 16, were first and second in the junior women’s final.


The famed Leogang course, a run of 2.1km with 450m of decent, was made more difficult after overnight rain, especially through the enclosed wood section which became extremely slippery.


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The junior women were first in action, with the remarkable Tauranga rider Hulsebosch (Union-Steel City Media) setting tongues wagging to edge the series leader and last round winner, Heather Wilson from Scotland.


Hutt Valley’s Van Leuven (Commencal les Orres) finished five seconds quicker to sit on top of the table, until fellow kiwi teenager, Sacha Earnest (Trek Factory) was fastest at the midway point before sliding out in the treacherous wood section.


“It feels so good. I had a bit of a rough start to the season,” said van Leuven. “It rained overnight so it was pretty slick. My main goal was to get down the track safe. I had a few minor errors but basically it was a pretty good run and I am pretty happy about it.”


While Wilson remains in the overall world cup lead, van Leuven has moved into second, with Hulsebosch third and Earnest fourth.


Stevens-McNab, also riding for the Union-Steel City Media team, was on his way to a podium in his previous World Cup until a mistake wrecked his hopes.


The Rotorua rider made up for that today with a stunning run in the challenging conditions. He started conservatively but was incredibly fast in the second half of the run to finish in superb fashion to claim third overall.


Series leader Loic Bruni repeated his win with Canada’s Finn Iles second and Stevens-McNab turning heads with his third placing.


Queenstown’s multi-national champion, Jess Blewitt was in line to join the other kiwis on the podium with some brilliant form in the elite women’s competition this week.


The Cube Factory rider was in strong form in her run until a mistake on the slippery bottom section proved costly, finally finishing 10th. She maintains seventh place in the overall standings.


Christchurch rider Luke Wayman continued his strong form, finishing fourth in the junior men’s competition, just 0.3s outside of the podium to maintain his third place in the overall standings.


There's no break for the gravity riders, who head for the next round of the world cup, joining cross-country riders at Vai di Sole in Italy this weekend.


Results:

Junior women: Erice van Leuven (NZL, Commencal les Orres) 3:54.132, 1; Eliana Hulsebosch (NZL), Union-Steel City) at 4.718, 2; Heather Wilson (GBR) at 4.743, 3. Also: Sasha Earnest (NZL, Trek Factory) at 46.752, 10.

Junior men: Max Alran (FRA) 3:17.292, 1; Dane Jewett (CAN) at 0.419s, 2; Mike Huter (SUI) at 2.877, 3. Also: Luke Wayman (NZL, Gravity Cartel) at 3.162, 4; Rory Meek (NZL, Meekboyz) at 9.213s, 10; Ryan Hastings (NZL) at  11.932, 13.

Elite men: Loic Bruni (FRA) 3:05.523, 1; Finn Iles (CAN) at 2.394s, 2; Lachlan Stevens-McNab (NZL, Union-Steel City Media) at 3.11.5, 3.

Elite women: Valentina Holl (AUT) 3:40.141, 1; Anna Newkirk (USA) at 7.102, 2; Lisa Baumann (SUI) 7.839, 3. Also: Jess Blewitt (NZL, Cube Factory) 10.

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