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Finn Iles injures thumb in Leogang; still wins World Cup silver

Dane Jewett second in men's junior division
Finn Iles descends during the UCI Downhill World Cup at Lousa, Portugal. Photo by Bartek Wolinski.

An untimely ailment did not hold Finn Iles back from another successful World Cup outing.

The local downhill ace banged up his thumb in training and elected to sit out both the qualifying and semifinal rounds in Leogang, Austria. That left him with one chance to make his mark, and he delivered: three minutes and 7.917 seconds for a silver medal. 

Only Loic Bruni, Iles' Specialized Gravity teammate, navigated the storm-soaked track any faster to claim gold for France (3:05.523). Kiwi Lachlan Stevens-McNab clocked in for bronze (3:08.638). 

“I really thought I didn’t have it today,” Bruni told reporters after the fact. “The conditions changed so much today compared to yesterday which was more my style. I tried everything I had - I was betting on the track drying up a bit. I was glad to start last. I pushed so much and made little mistakes at the top…I finally got going after the motorway.”

Bruni and Iles sit first and third in UCI season standings respectively, with Luca Shaw between them. 

Meanwhile, less than half a second separated Dane Jewett from Max Alran in the men's junior race, but it was the young Frenchman who ultimately emerged for his inaugural victory of the campaign (3:17.292). Even so, Jewett can be proud of his runner-up performance (3:17.711) which vaulted him clear of Switzerland's Mike Huter in third (3:20.169). 

"So stoked!" wrote Jewett on his Instagram account. "Very happy to get second at the third stop of the UCI Mountain Bike World Series and grab the overall lead in the standings. Onto Val Di Sole next!"

Full results can be viewed here.