2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup kicks off

Four-cross, cross-country and downhill action from South Africa

The 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup kicked off this weekend in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, with riders from all three disciplines – downhill, cross-country and four-cross – taking to the slopes.

Downhill

In the men's downhill, it was American Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) who took top honours, giving the USA their first win for years. He crossed the line just 0.2 seconds ahead of local favourite Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), with 2010 World Cup champion Gee Atherton (GBr|Commencal) coming home third.

1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing0:04:08.634 
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:04:08.875 
3Gee Atherton (GBr) Commencal0:04:10.555 
4Fabien Barel (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team0:04:12.880 
5Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:04:15.443 
6Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing0:04:15.568 
7Marc Beaumont (GBr)0:04:15.871 
8Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz0:04:16.033 
9Nick Beer (Swi) Scott 110:04:16.599 
10Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:04:16.915 

In the women's race it was a British one-two, with reigning world champion Tracy Moseley using the fitness gained in this year's Cape Epic to narrowly clinch victory over Fionn Griffiths (Griffiths Racing). Griffith's French team-mate Emmeline Ragot came third.

1Tracy Moseley (GBr) Trek World Racing0:04:56.166 
2Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Team GR0:04:56.454 
3Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Team GR0:04:57.750 
4Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain0:04:58.339 
5Floriane Pugin (Fra) Scott 110:04:58.434 
6Céline Gros (Fra) Team Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie0:05:00.414 
7Emilie Siegenthaler (Swi) Scott 110:05:02.510 
8Manon Carpenter (GBr) Madison Saracen0:05:11.783 
9Mio Suemasa (Jpn)0:05:12.404 
10Petra Bernhard (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria0:05:12.581 

Cross-country

The elite men's race saw the top three finishers in the 2010 World Cup standings finish in exactly that order, with Nino Schurter (Swi|Scott-Swisspower) beating rival Julien Absalon (Orbea) of France by a meagre 16 seconds, with Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) of the Czech Republic in third.

1Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott-Swisspower Mtb-Racing1:34:50 
2Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea0:00:16 
3Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing0:01:07 
4José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:01:15 
5Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing0:01:46 
6Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing0:01:48 
7Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa) Orbea0:01:51 
8Stéphane Tempier (Fra) Tx Active Bianchi0:01:54 
9Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) Wildwolf-Trek Racing0:02:33 
10Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing0:02:36 

The elite women's race saw the return to the top of Chinese star Ren Chengyuan, who had all but disappeared after the Beijing Olympic Games. First lap frontrunner Julie Bresset (Fra|BH-Suntour-Peisey Vallandry) finished second, with Irina Kalentieva (Rus|Topeak Ergon Racing Team) third.

1Chengyuan Ren (Chn) Specialized Racing1:32:36 
2Julie Bresset (Fra) BH-Suntour-Peisey Vallandry0:01:06 
3Irina Kalentieva (Rus) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:02:18 
4Catharine Pendrel (Can) Luna Pro Team0:02:44 
5Lene Byberg (Nor) Specialized Racing0:03:16 
6Nathalie Schneitter (Swi) Colnago Arreghini Sudtirol0:05:01 
7Sabine Spitz (Ger) Central Haibike Pro Team0:05:18 
8Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) Ccc Polkowice0:05:26 
9Marie-Helene Premont (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain0:05:33 
10Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:05:57 

Four-cross

Defending World Cup champion Jared Graves (Aus|Yeti Fox Shox) won the men's four-cross title without difficulty on Friday, ahead of Michal Prokop (Cz|RSP 4 Cross Racing Team), Johannes Fischbach (Ger|Ghost Factory Racing Team) and Michal Marosi (Cze|RSP 4 Cross Racing Team).

Big Final

1Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team
2Michal Prokop (Cze)
3Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team
4Michal Marosi (Cze) RSP 4 Cross Racing Team

Small Final

5David Graf (Swi)
6Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze)
7Joost Wichman (Ned) RSP 4 Cross Racing Team
8Roger Rinderknecht (Swi)

In the women's race, Anneke Beerten (Ned|Milka Trek) both qualified and finished first. Britain's Fionn Griffiths (GBr|Team GR) came second, followed by Céline Gros (Fra|Team Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie) and Switzerland's Lucia Oetjen.

Big Final

1Anneke Beerten (Ned) Milka Trek MTB Racing Team
2Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Team GR
3Céline Gros (Fra) Team Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie
4Lucia Oetjen (Swi)

Small Final

5Anita Molcik (Aut)
6Katy Curd (GBr)
7Melissa Buhl (USA)

For full reports, results and image galleries, visit our sister site Cyclingnews.com.

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