By Rob Jones, Cyclingnews
Monday, June 21, 2010 8.45am
Atherton, Gwin round out men's downhill podium
South African Greg Minnaar leads the 2010 World Cup after his second victory of the season in Leogang, Austria Santa Cruz Syndicate
Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) took his second win of the season on a cold, wet and beaten-up course in Leogang, Austria yesterday to extend his overall lead in the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series.
Minnaar qualified second fastest on Saturday, two-tenths of a second behind Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre International), with Aaron Gwin (Yeti Fox Shox) third and round two winner Gee Atherton (Commencal) fifth.
Come the finals, the damp conditions had chewed the course up, leaving big holes and ruts full of water. Rain returned as the final 20 men took their race runs and no-one could come close to the top qualifying time, showing how much the track had deteriorated.
World champion Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate), who had qualified 34th due to a crash, set the first time under 4:12, but was bumped from the hot seat by Cameron Cole (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), the young New Zealand rider who has become a consistent top 10 finisher.
Atherton, fifth from last starter, then took the leading time down by a staggering 5.38 seconds, which stood up until Minnaar came in three-quarters of a second faster at 4:05.65. Blenkinsop couldn't manage to repeat his stellar qualifying performance, and slotted into fourth, behind Gwin.
Minnaar, with two wins and a third place, extended his lead over Atherton to 73 points, while Gwin moved into third, 250 points behind Minnaar. "It was crazy out there," said Minnaar. "I was just all over the place, dabbing and trying to stay on the bike. It really was tough."