2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup kicks off

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

American Aaron Gwin celebrates his triumph in the elite men's downhill at Pietermaritzburg

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.



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.

1 Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing 0:04:08.634  
2 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate 0:04:08.875  
3 Gee Atherton (GBr) Commencal 0:04:10.555  
4 Fabien Barel (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team 0:04:12.880  
5 Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 0:04:15.443  
6 Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing 0:04:15.568  
7 Marc Beaumont (GBr) 0:04:15.871  
8 Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 0:04:16.033  
9 Nick Beer (Swi) Scott 11 0:04:16.599  
10 Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 0:04:16.915  

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.

1 Tracy Moseley (GBr) Trek World Racing 0:04:56.166  
2 Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Team GR 0:04:56.454  
3 Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Team GR 0:04:57.750  
4 Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain 0:04:58.339  
5 Floriane Pugin (Fra) Scott 11 0:04:58.434  
6 Céline Gros (Fra) Team Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie 0:05:00.414  
7 Emilie Siegenthaler (Swi) Scott 11 0:05:02.510  
8 Manon Carpenter (GBr) Madison Saracen 0:05:11.783  
9 Mio Suemasa (Jpn) 0:05:12.404  
10 Petra Bernhard (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria 0:05:12.581  


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.

1 Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott-Swisspower Mtb-Racing 1:34:50  
2 Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea 0:00:16  
3 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing 0:01:07  
4 José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team 0:01:15  
5 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing 0:01:46  
6 Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing 0:01:48  
7 Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa) Orbea 0:01:51  
8 Stéphane Tempier (Fra) Tx Active Bianchi 0:01:54  
9 Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) Wildwolf-Trek Racing 0:02:33  
10 Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing 0:02:36  

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.

1 Chengyuan Ren (Chn) Specialized Racing 1:32:36  
2 Julie Bresset (Fra) BH-Suntour-Peisey Vallandry 0:01:06  
3 Irina Kalentieva (Rus) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 0:02:18  
4 Catharine Pendrel (Can) Luna Pro Team 0:02:44  
5 Lene Byberg (Nor) Specialized Racing 0:03:16  
6 Nathalie Schneitter (Swi) Colnago Arreghini Sudtirol 0:05:01  
7 Sabine Spitz (Ger) Central Haibike Pro Team 0:05:18  
8 Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) Ccc Polkowice 0:05:26  
9 Marie-Helene Premont (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain 0:05:33  
10 Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Ghost Factory Racing Team 0:05:57  


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

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

Small Final

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

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

Small Final

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

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