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Finn Iles starts 2024 season on the podium in Fort William

Finn Iles starts 2024 season on the podium in Fort William

Finn Iles proved his confidence coming into the 2024 season was well founded, earning his first elite men’s World Cup podium of the year. The Fort William track served up thrilling racing all Sunday, with new winners, return champions and some exceptionally fast juniors all putting in race runs.

Specializing in Fort William

For Iles, it is a solid start to his World Cup campaign. It’s also one that shows the young Canadian is maturing in a way that could see him challenge his Specialized teammate, and Sunday’s winnner, Loic Bruni.

“I wanted it a little too much at the start and I think I raced quite smart because I knew I was attacking too much and it’d probably lead to a crash so I brought it back a little bit, calmed down and rode the bottom part really fast and smooth,” Iles said after the finish. “It’s a good marker because if I have the right mindset coming into the next race. I know I can ride faster than I did today and hopefully I can get on the top step.”

A new win for Super Bruni

Taking the top step in Scotland, though, was Iles teammate Loic Bruni. The reigning World Cup winner started his title defence with something rare: a win at a venue he’s never won at before. While “Super Bruni” has several wins at most World Cup venues at the point, Fort Bill has always challenged the Frenchman. On Sunday, Bruni put those ghosts to rest, putting in a dominant finals run to beat fastest semi-finals finisher Troy Brosnan (Canyon Cllctv).

“I’ve never been super strong here. I’ve struggled a lot in the last few years, but I knew I could do it one day or another. This weekend, I’ve been struggling a bit with the wet but today the clouds held off so there was no rain and I thought this was the opportunity. I’m feeling strong, the bike is good, everything was perfect for it,” Bruni said after his win, adding that the victory was extra special given his struggles. “I pushed everywhere; I wasn’t fresh at the bottom but I gave it [my] all. I’m so happy. That’s such an achievement for me and I’m over the moon.”

Bruni will have another chance at earning a new win when the World Cup series picks up on May 20th at in Bielsko-Biala, Poland on May 19. The Specialized leader will be in the leader’s jersey when the new venue makes its series debut.

Brosnan finished second, 1.840 seconds behind Bruni. It’s a return to form after an off-year in 2023, and comes at a venue where the Austrilian last won in…

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