2014 World Cup Downhill: Pietermaritzburg Preview
Boom! The 2014 World Cup is upon us, and here's everything you need to know about the first round in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
The wait is over, today marks the official start of the 2014 World Cup season in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. To get you ready for the the racing action that is about to ensue we thought we'd bring you this quick lowdown on all things PMB...
If you still don't know where Pietermaritzburg is, then hopefully this map will help you out. If you can't work it out from that then all is lost, it's time to go back to school.
The track at PMB has received a fair bit of stick over the years, mainly because of the killer pedal section that the course contains, but here's a quick rundown of the main sections of the track...
This sector forms the steepest and most technical portion of the track. The start rock garden has been extended, creating a stair-step section down to the Wagon Wheel Wobbly rock drop. From Cloud 9 the track follows a ridgeline through an off-camber single track to the Haibo road gap, then through the corkscrew and over the Doctor Evil gap jump. From here, speeds increase to almost 80km/h before the riders hit the N3 tabletops.
The riders have to change their riding style into the second sector, for the pedal section – a 40-second sprint. This sector tests the riders’ endurance until they hit the left turn into the Bombhole and the gradient increases once again into the final sector.
At the Air-odrome bridge drop riders need to adjust their style once again, as the track changes from a flat-out sprinting surface to a massive supercross track.
Speeds again reach in excess of 60km/h, as riders are catapulted through an endless rollercoaster of berms and jumps. The final sprint to the finish includes the Moneymaker hip, a 15-metre step-down hip that wows the crowds. From there it’s a massive power to the finish.
This is what the track looks like on a map...
And this is what the elevation looks like...
When you see the elevation like that it doesn't look quite as flat as everyone makes out, but that 'blip' in the middle section is what really sorts those that can pedal from those that can't.
This helmet cam preview of the 2014 track gives you a better idea of just what a leg burner that mid-section is.
This is your schedule for the next few days. Course inspection is going to take place today, and the crucial thing to remember is that this year the DH finals are on Saturday, and not Sunday!
The current time in PMB is as follows...
Weather wise it's looking like we won't be seeing any rain, which is a good thing cos the last thing this track needs is rain. With the track running dry we should see some warp factor speeds.
Who's going to win the race this year? Nobody knows, but here are your previous victors...
1. Greg Minnaar
2. Mick Hannah
3. Jared Graves
1. Rachel Atherton
2. Emmeline Ragot
3. Tracey Hannah
(The 'Geek Stats' from last year's race can be found here)
1. Greg Minnaar
2. Aaron Gwin
3. Mick Hannah
1. Tracey Hannah
2. Manon Carpenter
3. Emmeline Ragot
1. Aaron Gwin
2. Greg Minnaar
3. Gee Atherton
1. Tracy Moseley
2. Fionn Griffiths
3. Emmeline Ragot
And finally, to whet your appetite even more here's our DirtTV video from last year's World Champs...
Let the racing begin!