By Steve Medcroft
When South African Greg Minnaar (Team G-Cross Honda) straddled his custom-made Honda RN01 in the downhill start house at the Angel Fire, New Mexico World Cup round, he knew he was in a position to seal the World Cup points series. All he needed was a solid run and a reasonable placing.
Australian Jared Graves, who had beaten Minnaar in the semi by 2.29 seconds, had set the fastest time thus far. Minnaar started off fast, picking his lines and pedaling for speed where he could. As he passed under the intermediate timing mark, he was 0.49 seconds behind and said later that he felt he needed to make up time.
He took chances through the remainder of the run and only after turning to look at the timing board at the bottom of the course did he know that he had overtaken Graves by two-tenths of a second and finally locked up the World Cup series.
We caught up with Minnaar a week later, as he was preparing for downhill competition in Sandpointe, Idaho (Schweitzer Mountain Resort NORBA, July 17,2005 - a race in which Minnaar came second to countryman Andrew Neethling).
Cyclingnews: You won Angel Fire by 0.22 seconds. Your split at the top of the course put you behind Jared Graves. What did you do to make the difference?
Greg Minnaar: At Angel Fire, I felt that I hadn't ridden well enough to be the fastest in the top section. Graves was really fast in training and in the semi finals and I really wanted the World Cup title over and done with so I had to expand myself. I pedalled a lot and took more risks down the bottom than maybe I should have. It was good to win.
See the complete interview here.