World Cup:After the dust has settled

THE DAY AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE

What an amazing day of racing. From Moseley taking a clean win earlier in the day in the women’s race, to ‘last man down the hill’ Mick Hannah, it was amazing. Minnaar’s win on home soil was the fairytale ending that everyone wanted, and of course his win was convincing. But Mick Hannah hey, what an amazing comeback. His year out obviously has had no adverse effects on his performance, and he now has to be seen as a real threat to the overall. His is a super skilful rider so the tech tracks won’t faze him at all.

And the others? Gee Atherton was off the pace a little in fifth, he seemed to run out of gas a little. I think it is fair to say that Sam Hill in fourth was a bit of a shock. It just goes to prove that you should never doubt the Australian. He wasn’t backed for this race because of the long flat power sections, and of course the fact that he rides on flat pedals, but his 3:50.18 and fourth place points means that he is not far off in the title race. Steve Peat in third? Inspirational. We all know that he has other things on his mind at the moment (he second child is due to be born very soon), and that he has been racing for such a long time now at the highest level, but he proved that he is still a huge threat, and knows how to ride when I matters. A true racer.

I’ve already talked about Hannah, but I have to repeat that it is so good to see him back. I remember watching him when he won the Junior World Champs in Sierra Nevada in 2000 and wearing just a T-shirt and shorts on the rockiest course known to man. Like I say, it’s great to see him back.

And Minnaar? Well he did what he had to do. The pressure was immense, but he is one cool customer. He did what he had to do on home soil and will now be looking forward to round two in France. His home track advantage of course helped, but doing the business on the day is not easy.

And the others? A massive result for both Cameron Cole in sixth and Marc Beaumont in ninth, huge. Leov and Graves too. Leov in seventh was the highest placed male rider in the new Trek world team, and the multi talented Graves proved that…well, he proved that he is an amazing rider…BMX, 4X, DH…he has it all going on. Frenchman Julien Camellini rounded out the top 10, in fact the top 10 was made up of 1 South African, 3 Australians, 3 British, 2 New Zealanders and 1 Frenchman…there was a time when the French dominated. Congratulations too to Duncan Riffle in twelfth, the highest placed US rider.

Top five favourite Chris Kovarik binned it up top, as too Philip Polc. And poor Matti Lehikoinen punctured.

Lasting memories? Alpine Stars kit everywhere (do they even make a MTB kit?), Hill scaring everyone, Hannah making everyone ‘wake up and smell the coffee’, Moseley getting the start she wanted and of course Greg Minnaar and the obvious joy of everyone around him. Roll on round two.

Mike Rose.

A few facts and figures:


Fastest time through the speed trap:

63.847 km/h Greg Minnaar

Crashed out:
Kovarik
Polc

Punctures:


Lehikoinen

Nationalities in top ten.

3 Brits
Peat, Gee, Beaumont

3 Aussies
Hannah, Hill, Graves

2 Kiwis
Cole, Leov

1 South African
Minnaar

1 Frenchman
Camellini

Those that didn’t seem to suit the track

Sam Blenkinsop 28th 3:59.60
Brendan Fairclough 32nd 4:01.20
Josh Bryceland 39th 4:02.48

Points Standings so far:

Men

1 Minnaar 240
2 Hannah 210
3 Peat 165
4 Hill 142
5 Atherton 132
6 Leov 110
7 Graves 97
8 Cole 95
9 Beaumont 94
10 Camellini 91

Women

1 Tracy Moseley 250
2 Emmeline Ragot 200
3 Sabrina Jonnier 152
4 Fionn Griffiths 150
5 Claire Buchar 140
6 Florianne Pugin 115
7 Melissa Buhl 94
8 Nicole Myriam 86

Top five teams so far:

1 Trek World Racing
2 Santa Cruz Syndicate
3 Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles
4 GT Bicycles
5 Chain Reaction cycles/Intense

the day after minnaar wins the south african mountain bike downhill world cup in pietermaritzburg

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