Main photo: Cole Punchard (centre) at the top of the podium at the Aug. 21 Swiss Bike Cup race in Basel, Switzerland. He is pictured with (from left) Athys Bedini of France (fourth place), Romano Püntener of Liechtenstein (second), Yannick Parisi of Italy (third), and fellow Team Canada rider Owen Clark (fifth). (Photo: Jeff Ain via @cole_punchie on Instagram)
Local mountain bike racer, Cole Punchard, can now add a Swiss Bike Cup win to his list of accolades as he gears up to compete in the world championships in Val di Sole, Italy later this week.
The 17-year-old from Novar entered the Swiss Cup race to acclimatize and get in some extra training on European soil.
He finished in 1:01:09.3, well ahead of second place Romano Püntener of Liechtenstein (1:01:33.1), and more than a minute ahead of third place Yannick Parisi of Italy (1:02:14.3).
Following the race, Punchard wrote on his Instagram page @cole_punchie, “Feels so good to take the win today in the 🇨🇦 colours! Thanks so much to everyone for all the messages and support and especially the staff and coaches @cyclingcanadaofficial @jeffain @adammtrotter @taralazarski.”
His “very proud grandmother”, Lucille Frith, noted that “Cole trains very hard – then goes out to get his (FUN) job done!”
In an earlier conversation with Huntsville Doppler, Punchard said that he’s honoured to be representing Canada at the world championships.
Punchard’s race in the 2021 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships is this Thursday, August 25. He’ll be competing in the Men Junior XCO (Cross-Country Olympic) category.
He continues to raise funds via GoFundMe to help cover his travel expenses, and has almost reached his $5,000 goal.
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