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Whistler’s Finnley Iles secures junior downhill World Cup title in Switzerland

The British Columbia downhill specialist is 2017's de facto World Cup champion.

Finn Iles
Finn Iles
Photo: FB Specialized Bicycles

On Saturday, July 8, Finnley Iles of Whistler, B.C. took top honours at Round 5 of the downhill World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Taking the title, the Specialized rider earned his third straight victory and the fourth of the season in his category.

With 280 points, Iles’s overall standings effectively make the British Columbia downhill specialist this year’s World Cup champion.

Recalling his performance, Iles is nothing if not satisfied. “I’m pretty happy,” he said. “It has been in the back of my mind all week that I have a chance of winning the overall at this race. I was thinking about it during my run and I almost blew straight off the first corner. I started thinking ‘what am I doing’ and began focusing.

“I felt like I rode pretty good, even though it was still slippery from the rain last night; all the roots had a good coating on them and it was hard to hold your line,” he noted, describing conditions that created challenges for other riders in other events.

“You had to be slower going into some sections and it was more challenging.”

Vaea Verbeeck was the top Canadian qualifier, competing in the elite women’s race and rocketing into the top 10 with a ninth place finish. Four spots behind her was Miranda Miller of Specialized, a finish that earned her 12th in the final, and notably, a finish made all the more impressive given the effects of a leg injured during the second round. In overall standings, Verbeeck’s seventh-place finish in the Final—the strongest World Cup ride of her career—moves her up two spots in overall standings to 12th, while Miller remains at 13th.

Canadian Mark Wallace at the 2017 Lourdes downhill mountain bike World Cup. (Photo: IG @MarkWallaceBike)
Canadian Mark Wallace (pictured) took 17th after the day’s events. (Photo: IG @MarkWallaceBike)

Elite men’s competition saw Mark Wallace of Canyon Factory in 17th place, Forrest Riesco in 43rd, Canadian champion Kirk McDowall in 72nd place and Henry Fitzgerald, riding for Norco, in 75th.

Wallace was unsatisfied with the day’s events, but remains in good spirits, considering the various tests that the Lenzerheide downhill competition presented. “I wasn’t really happy with my run,” he said. “But, all things considered, I can’t be too upset. It’s tough to come off a run that felt perfect like last week, and then have one that’s not quite there. It’s such a tough track to race here.”

With 481 points, Wallace moves up to sixth place in overall standings. Forrest Riesco sits at 46th.