Rotorua teenager Tuhoto-Ariki Pene is making a habit of standing on podiums overseas.

The 18-year-old secured his second straight podium finish in the penultimate round of downhill at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Switzerland.

Pene, who won in his season debut in Italy last weekend, finished third at Lenzerheide, just 1.25 seconds behind winner Seth Sherlock, of Canada.

Fellow Subway Performance Hub riders Blake Ross and Sam Gale finished sixth and seventh respectively, a first for the trio to all place in the top-10, and further evidence of the burgeoning success of Cycling New Zealand's pathway development programme based at Rotorua's Toi Ohomai Institute under coach Sam Thompson.


Gale was in the hot seat after his run of 3m 8.401s before he was edged by teammate Blake by 1.6 seconds. Local Swiss rider Janosch Klaus then grabbed top spot with a 3m 4.291s run and while Pene could not edge him, he finished strongly to secure third place. Sherlock produced the best of the late runs to claim the win.

The result pushes Pene to seventh overall on the world cup standings with Gale 11th and Ross 22nd.

New Zealand elite female champion Kate Weatherly continued her consistent strong form with fourth place behind winner Marine Dabirou, of France. Weatherly is now sixth in the overall standings led by Australian Tracey Hannah.

MS Mondraker pro team rider Brook MacDonald was again the best of the Kiwi males in 16th place in the event won by Frenchman Amaury Pierron, with Sam Blenkinsop 35th and George Brannigan 37th.

MacDonald retains his world ranking of eight, the best of the Kiwi gravity riders.

A massive crowd turned out for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup cross-country racing at Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Photo / Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
A massive crowd turned out for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup cross-country racing at Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Photo / Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Meanwhile, The New Zealand cross-country mountain bikers will reset for the upcoming UCI World Championships following the final European race at the World Cup in Switzerland.

Anton Cooper was the best of the Kiwi riders in 21st place after starting 24th on the grid, finishing with a strong final lap of the course which is nestled at 1500m in the Swiss Alps.

Cooper said he was focusing on building towards the world championships with his world ranking of 14 giving him a second row start in Canada. World Cup grids are determined by the result of the quick fire sprint races on the first day of competition.


Subway Performance Hub rider Ben Oliver finished 62nd while Sam Gaze withdrew on the second lap after feeling unwell.

"It happens to me at altitude sometimes. I've felt ordinary this week and woke up this morning not feeling any better," Gaze said.

"I decided to start but after the first lap I felt worse and decided it was smarter not to carry on."

He started 81st on the grid, pushing up to 55th after the first lap.

Gaze heads back to near sea level for a Swiss Cup race in Basel this weekend before flying to Canada to prepare for the world championships at Mont Sainte Anne, near Quebec City starting on August 31.

Superstar Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel, equally adept in cyclocross and on the road, cleared away on the final two laps to win ahead of Olympic champion Nino Schurter. It is his fourth win from just five starts to move within 21 points of Shurter with the final race at Snowshoe, West Virginia next month.

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