Mountain Bike World Cup: Results from South Africa

Minnaar, Moseley win downhill; Hermida upsets Absalon in cross-country

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) was mobbed by spectators after winning the downhill race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup round in his hometown of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on Sunday.

He received a reception normally reserved for South African football, rugby union and cricket stars after pipping Australian Mike Hannah (GT) for first place on a forest-lined course near the KwaZulu-Natal city.

“Man, I got great support today! All the guys up on the top of the course, and all the way down, they gave me the support I wanted," Minnaar said. "It was good to have so many home fans here, and they weren’t going to accept a second place.”

Competition was fierce with 28 finalists cracking the four-minute barrier and Minnaar clocked 3:43.44 after sailing over jumps and pedalling furiously through flatter sections.

Hannah was last to race and finished 2.25 seconds slower to settle for second spot ahead of Englishman Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) on a 3km course littered with drop-offs and jumps.

“It was most probably better to have qualified behind Mick Hannah," said Minnaar. "I had a different kind of pressure because I had something to aim for. I knew I had a time to better, rather than having a time to defend. It was hard pushing the whole way, really hard, but it was hard for everyone. To win here and get the response I got was just crazy!”

Click play below for video highlights and interviews with the downhill podium toppers:

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For complete results with photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.

Women's results

British downhiller Tracy Moseley (Trek) turned 30 in style by winning the women's downhill race in 4:20.15 after Emmeline Ragot and Sabrina Jonnier of France surrendered the lead.

The first world mountain bike event to be staged in Africa attracted 16,000 spectators to far exceed organisers' expectations, and a course that gave fitness equality with skill drew widespread praise.

For complete results with photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.

Cross-country upset

Olympic champion Julien Absalon of France (Orbea) had to settle for second place behind Spaniard Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida) in the World Cup cross-country race on Saturday.

In a thrilling race watched by 6,000 spectators, Absalon moved to the front at the halfway mark with only Hermida and South African Barry Stander (Specialized) able to respond.

The lead changed one lap later with Hermida building a 15-second advantage that kept him in front until the finish and Absalon held off a late Stander surge.

"I had a very good training plan ahead of this race and came to South Africa more rested than some of my rivals. Beating Julien is a fantastic result and I will try to maintain my lead," said Hermida.

Austrian Elisabeth Osl won the women's race for the first time with Russian Irina Kalentieva surviving a late challenge from Norwegian Lene Byberg to come second.

For complete results with photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.

© BikeRadar & AFP 2009

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