Greg Minnaar was visibly emotional after taking his second world championships title in Austria last weekend. The 30-year-old has been at or near the top of the World Cup series for more than a decade but his most recent championship win was in 2003. The South African won the overall World Cup title on three occasions - 2001, 2005, and 2008 - however, this victory was reward for a number of near misses over recent years.
"The podium was a tearjerker!" said Minnaar's Santa Cruz Syndicate Team Manager Kathy Sessler. "Greg was beaming, and tears welled up in his eyes. He proudly accepted his medal and while the South African national anthem played tears rolled down my face."
Minnaar will proudly show off his rainbow jersey at the final World Cup race of the year in Hafjell, Norway in a week and a half. The recently crowned world champion lies in second place overall behind the Trek World Racing's Aaron Gwin and while his lead is out of reach, Minnaar has Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing) following closely behind in third. He is determined to finish the season off strongly in the final race of the year.
I'll put that jersey on with pride next week in Norway, and in 2013, I will do my best to reverse the curse of the world champion’s jersey!" he said following his victory in Leogang.
After taking his eighth world championship medal Minnaar thanked his Santa Cruz-Syndicate team for its support and for his carbon bike, which he rode to a history-breaking first - his Santa Cruz V10 Carbon is the first carbon downhill bike to be ridden to a world championship victory.
"From Marshy (mechanic) to Roskopp (team owner) and everyone in between, thank you! I’m honored you have supported me on climbing to the top of the podium and receiving gold on behalf of you all," he said.
"I’ve got great results and a lot of silvers and bronzes. I've got to get back to basics on how we race and that’s to have fun. I’ve got to be honest, that final wasn’t a lot of fun, it was a lot of pain and it was intense concentration, but when you get down to the bottom of a run like that you’re just stoked you’re alive really," Minnaar said in a team release.