Mountain Bike World Cup: Results from South Africa
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:
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.