MTB World Cup: Minnaar speeds to downhill win

Close contest between Minaar, Hill and Atherton

Greg Minnaar is now two for two in the recent World Cups. After winning in Fort William, Minnaar doubled up with a win in Mont-Sainte-Anne. As the last man down the mountain, he dropped nine seconds off his qualifying time and took over the lead from second-fastest qualifier Sam Hill (Monster Energy) and third fastest qualifier and world champion Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal).

"Coming from last year, I knew I had a chance. It was a confidence thing," said Minnaar, who also won in 2001. "Last year, if my shoulder hadn't come out [dislocated during the run, yet he still finished second - ed.]. I would have had a much better chance of winning."

In between the semi-finals and the finals, Minnaar tweaked his suspension settings. "I souped up my fork so it was better on the small bumps. It made a difference - giving me more traction up front.

"I didn't have a clean run; it was a bit loose now and then, and I still made a few mistakes like I did on the earlier run" said Minnaar. "I don't think anyone can have a clean run in downhill racing. If they say they do, I think they're lying," he laughed.

After a crash at the World Championship cost Sam Hill a win despite a six second advantage beforehand, he said, "It was a safe run - I wanted to make it down without crashing. I wanted to make sure I didn't get a flat. I'm pleased to get second - it's good points for the series."

Looking back at worlds, Hill said, "I think it was one of those things and I got unlucky on that turn. I know everyone says I could have slowed down, but if someone had told me I was up by six seconds I probably wouldn't have slowed down. I was just unlucky really."

Third placed Atherton said, "It's a track where you really need to hold on to the bike. Nearly every run this weekend, the course has changed - whether it was getting wetter and rougher or drying out like this afternoon. Every time it dried out a little more, you could hit something a little faster. It kept the race exciting."

For full results, report and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com

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