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Bodhi Kuhn blasts through dust to win his first World Cup in Val di Sole

Rossland, B.C., rider earns international junior men's downhill victory

Photo by: Daniele Molineris

After two second-place finishes already this year, including one phenomenal run in the wet in Leogang, Rossland, B.C.’s Bodhi Kuhn has his first World Cup win. Trek Factory Racing rising star stormed to a solid victory in the junior men’s downhill on Friday in Val di Sole, Italy.

Junior Men: Kuhn floats to victory

The rider out of the start gate before Bodhi Kuhn was Ryan Pinkerton (GT Continental), the fastest junior qualifier one day earlier in Val di Sole. The U.S. rider crashed early in his run but quickly remounted, regained composure and stormed down the Black Snake to set the day’s fastest time. Pinkerton’s time in the hot seat wouldn’t last long, though.

Bodhi Kuhn launched out of the start gate and absolutely danced his way down the rough Val di Sole track. Leaping between corners and barely touching the ground on his way down, Kuhn looked in absolute control in the rare moments his tires were in the dusty dirt. The Canadian drifted foot-out-flat-out through the final corner before one tiny bobble where his tires dug into the dust and slowed him down. With a massive sprint to the finish line, the Canadian moved into first, 0.929 seconds faster than Pinkerton.

Only two riders remained in the start hut. Italy’s Christian Hauser (Union) had a big crash and was ok, but out of contention. Henri Kiefer (Canyon CLLCTV Pirelli) the last junior man on the mountain, unclipped through the techy woods section and struggled to get his foot back in. The German fought the whole way down to make his way onto the podium, but only in third place.

Bodhi Kuhn takes his first junior men’s downhill World Cup win in Val di Sole, Italy.

Bodhi Kuhn in the junor men's World Cup leader's jersey in Val di Sole, Italy
Bodhi Kuhn in the junor men’s World Cup leader’s jersey. Photo: Giacomo Podetti

Finding the edge

The win was as much a mental battle as a physical one, Kuhn shared after the finish line.

“To be honest, it was a bit of a struggle today. Conditions in practice were hard, with a lot of dry and a lot of wet – working through that was tough. I didn’t really feel like I had that edge that I needed,” the Canadian said. “But I felt confident in the start gate. I mean there was mistakes and close moments, but I feel like I found that edge that worked well for me.”

With the win, Kuhn now leads the junior men’s standings with 160 points to Kiefer’s 125 and Pinkerton’s 103 with five races remaining.

Dane Jewett finished 12th for Pivot Factory Racing while Tegan Cruz (RockShox Trek) rounded out the Canadian results in 14th.

Junior Women: Kiwi crushers

In the junior women’s race – New Zealand’s Sacha Earnest (KiwiDH) dominated in her first World Cup win of the year. The New Zealand racer won by a massive 12.441 seconds on the demanding Vl di Sole track.

Series leader Erice van Leuven (Commencal Les Orres) made it a New Zealand 1-2 on the podium, edging out Lisa Bouladou of France for the second fastest time of the day.

For Earnest, it’s her first World Cup win and comes after some time off the bike due to a concussion.

“This is such a good way to come back!” Earnest said after her win. “My good friend Jenna at the top said to just take a smooth run, get a result, but I wanted this win. It was a bit sketchy on the way down, I had three kind of sketchy almost offs, but we kept it together.”

Replay: Val di Sole – Junior Downhill World Cup