MINNAAR AND MOSELEY BLOW THEM AWAY
Greg Minnaar has just won the South African World Cup by 2.25 from Hannah in second, and 5.81 seconds over team mate Peat in third. So Minnaar, Hannah,Peat, Hill, Gee Atherton, Cole. Race report below.
Minnaar wins in the City of Choice in the Kingdom of the Zulus.
There was only ever going to be one outcome in this South African race. Minnaar was always going to win it and that’s what he did. There was a scare early on in qualifying on Friday when Hannah posted a 3:48 to take top spot two seconds up on Minnaar, but that didn’t seem to ruffle the man from Pietermaritzburg.
Come race day New Zealander Cameron Cole, who set off 53rd, clocked a 3:53.20 which saw him sat in the hot seat for an unexpectedly long time. It wasn’t until Sam Hill crossed the line with a 3:50.18 that dislodged Cole.
Race day times were five or so seconds faster than qualifying so Hill’s time did look beatable. Next down Filip Polc had a wobble, then Leov only managed a 3:54.01. Hill in the hot seat with five riders left to go.
Gee Atherton was next out of the gate but was nearly two seconds down on Hill at the first split, a gap that he never pulled back and finished with a 3:52.01. Steve Peat has been looking rapid all week and a big cheer went up in the crowd when the second split showed Peaty up by a nearly a second on Hill. This was going to be close. Peaty stopped the clock at 3:49.25 putting him in the hot seat with three to go. Kovarik who won the SA national on this track the week before was also looking dangerous and had posted the third fastest qualifying time. But high up on the hill in the technical section he clipped a stump and went over the bars in a big way. Game over. Peaty in the hot seat with two riders left to come down. Minnaar had massive support from the crowd and they went ballistic when Greg crossed the second split five seconds up on Peat. Minnaar was getting the hammer down showing his supreme fitness on this demanding pedally course and crossed the line with a 3:43.44, five seconds faster than Hannah’s qualifying time. The crowd went nuts. Mick Hannah, in his first race back after a year off, couldn’t match the pace set by Minnaar and finished in second spot two seconds down on Minnaar.
The crowd then went bonkers and probably will do for a few days to come.
1. Minnaar 3:43.44
2. Hannah 3:45.69
3. Peat 3:49.25
4. Hill 3:50.18
5. Atherton 3:52.01
Tracy Moseley had been on the pace all week and her 4:29 qualifier on Friday put her nine seconds faster than second place Emmeline Ragot. With Rachel Atherton out injured and Sabrina Jonnier off the pace Moseley looked like she would dominate on the new Trek.
Race day and Sabrina put in a solid 4:28.61 only one second faster than Moseley's qualifier on a track that was running faster than Friday. Emmeline Ragot showed she will be one to watch this year and took second spot with a 4:26.53.
Tracy was three seconds up at the first split from Ragot and by the time she crossed the line was six seconds faster with a 4:20.15.
1 Tracy Moseley 4:20.15
2 Emmeline Ragot 4:26.53
3 Sabrina Jonnier 4:28.61
Here's the report from the Trek camp.
Britain's Tracy Moseley opened her World Cup campaign with a convincing win of more than 6 seconds to take a perfect score of 250 points and the leader's jersey into round 2. Celebrating her 30th birthday, as well as a career 11th World Cup win, it was a stunning debut for her new team and the Trek Session 88.
The competition from main rivals Sabrina Jonnier (FRA) and Emmeline Ragot (FRA) was a lot stronger in today's finals compared to Friday's semi finals. Both Sabrina and Emmeline stepped it up and were markedly faster than the 4m 29secs set by Tracy on Friday, but a solid run by the 2006 World Cup champion saw her find an incredible 9 seconds and come close to being the only woman to crack the 4m 20 mark.
Tracy Moseley said: "It was totally wicked! I thought the course would never end. It was tough up towards the top - really technical. I would've preferred the whole course to be like that. None of us like pedalling! We're downhillers! But it's the best 30th birthday present a girl could wish for."
In the men's race Justin Leov had a very solid run that brought him within 2 seconds of the podium, finishing 7th. Coupled with his points from the semi final, Justin now sits 6th overall, just 22 points from Gee Atherton (GBR).
Justin Leov said: "It was a good clean run, but my legs faded a little towards the end and I probably lost a second in the last 500m. Other than that, I'm happy to be sitting 6th overall knocking on the door of the top 5. It has to be said, if anyone deserved to win today it was Greg Minnaar. The local support here in his hometown was just amazing, and he rode an almost unbelievable race."
Andrew Neethling started his run strong, with a split of 2.35secs faster than the leader at the time (and eventual 6th place getter) Cameron Cole (NZL). But a couple of big errors cost Andrew a lot of time in the middle of the race, and he crossed the line for 14th. However, his points from qualifying were enough to elevate him to 11th in the overall ranking.
Andrew Neethling said: "It's pretty nerve wracking riding in front of a home crowd, you so want to do well for the fans. I made a big mistake before interval 1. I should probably have had a split of 3.35secs in my favor....and then in the second sector, I nearly went over the handlebars, came to a complete stop, and lost momentum for a key section of the course. To scrape through with a 14th after all that, I'm not too disappointed."
The results were enough to secure the UCI Ranking of #1 in the Downhill Team competition, which saw all riders on the podium to be acknowledged as the leading team in DH. This means the highly coveted yellow number plates for leading team, making their comeback this year, will be mounted on all three Trek Session 88's at Round 2 in La Bresse, France, next month.
Tracy Moseley and south african greg minnaar both win at the Pietermaritzburg world cup