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MTB World Cup Cross Country #1, Downhill #1 & Four Cross #1 2011

Date range:
April 21-24, 2011

April 24, Elite men downhill:

Gwin gives USA first downhill win in years

By:
Rob Jones
Published:
April 24, 2011, 16:55 BST,
Updated:
April 27, 2011, 7:47 BST

Minnaar races to second at home ahead of Atherton

The first round of the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup concluded in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on Easter Sunday with the crowd favourite downhill. While local favourite Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) was not able to repeat his victory of two seasons ago in the men's race, the thousands of fans were treated to exciting racing, with the men's title won by less than three-tenths of a second. Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) brought home the first US downhill World Cup victory in years. Minnaar's ride was good enough for second ahead of Gee Atherton (Commencal) in third.

In the 82-rider men's field, it was four time cross World Cup winner Jared Graves (Yeti Fox Shox), who set the first fast time of 4:17.183. Graves stayed in the hot seat through 15 riders before the New Zealand champion Cameron Cole (Lapierre International) was able to edge him out. Cole had a much shorter time in the lead, as Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) knocked nearly two seconds off the top time only three riders later. Peat was uncharacteristically seeded low, since he has been fighting the effects of a flu which sapped his power all week.

Peat withstood the challenges of a number of top names, as the start list counted down: Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre International), Marc Beaumont (Team GT), Justin Leov (Trek World Racing), Steve Smith (Devinci), Andrew Neethling (Giant) and world champion Sam Hill (Monster Energy/Specialized/Mad Catz).

Peat's time in the hot seat lasted until American Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) knocked a staggering seven seconds off the best time.

Defending World Cup champion Gee Atherton (Commencal) could only manage a time within two seconds of Gwin, which was good enough for third, and Minnaar, with the entire crowd cheering him down the course, came oh-so-close, but was 0.241 seconds in arrears. When the fastest qualifier, Mick Hannah (Team GT) crashed hard after bolts broke in his handlebar stem, Gwin knew that he had his first World Cup victory.

With his win, Gwin became the first American man to win a World Cup since 1999 (Shaun Palmer was the last at Big Bear). Gwin revealed that he has been training with the legendary John Tomac, and it appears to have paid off.

"Honestly, coming into this weekend, I didn't think I could do it," said Gwin. "The track was just clicking, and I felt really good all weekend, and it just came down to the pedalling."

"I thought that if I could just go hard at the top and the bottom I was probably fit enough to hold onto it in the middle, and it worked out," said Gwin. "I was surprised at the gap when I came down. It was a pretty loose run, but it was everything I had. It was on the edge, I hit a tree at the top, but I just tried to keep myself calm and hold it together, but there were some sketchy moments. I'm stoked, I'm just speechless."

Fabian Barel (Mondraker Factory Team) earned the fourth podium spot ahead of Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) in fifth.

Junior downhill world champion Troy Brosnan (Monster Energy/Specialized/Mad Catz) of Australia won the junior men's race.  He clocked the 23rd fastest time among the elites.

Full Results (* indicates junior riders)

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing 0:04:08.634  
2 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate 0:00:00.241  
3 Gee Atherton (GBr) Commencal 0:00:01.921  
4 Fabien Barel (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team 0:00:04.246  
5 Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 0:00:06.809  
6 Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing 0:00:06.934  
7 Marc Beaumont (GBr) 0:00:07.237  
8 Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 0:00:07.399  
9 Nick Beer (Swi) Scott 11 0:00:07.965  
10 Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 0:00:08.281  
11 Bryn Atkinson (Aus) 0:00:08.371  
12 Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International 0:00:08.502  
13 Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 0:00:08.549  
14 Duncan Riffle (USA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 0:00:09.022  
15 Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof 0:00:09.132  
16 Cédric Gracia (Fra) CG Racing Brigade 0:00:09.809  
17 Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Morewood Unitedride 0:00:10.167  
18 Matthew Scoles (NZl) Team Cingolani Trek 0:00:10.609  
19 Julien Camellini (Fra) Team Sunn Montgenevre 0:00:10.852  
20 Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Riding Addiction Commencal 0:00:10.853  
21 Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International 0:00:10.995  
22 Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 0:00:11.049  
23 Troy Brosnan* (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 0:00:11.354  
24 Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team 0:00:11.376  
25 Romain Paulhan (Fra) 0:00:11.420  
26 Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Evil Racing 0:00:11.425  
27 Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Evil Racing 0:00:11.806  
28 Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing 0:00:11.943  
29 Neko Mulally* (USA) Trek World Racing 0:00:12.232  
30 Filip Polc (Svk) MS Evil Racing 0:00:12.810  
31 Shaun O'Connor (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 0:00:12.916  
32 Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc/Solid/Massif Des Vosges 0:00:13.071  
33 Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense 0:00:13.667  
34 Sam Dale (GBr) Team Sunn Montgenevre 0:00:13.730  
35 Bernard Kerr (GBr) Wallner Robin 0:00:14.082  
36 Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark Powered By W-Racing 0:00:14.096  
37 Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain 0:00:14.968  
38 Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof 0:00:15.158  
39 Mitchell Delfs (Aus) 0:00:15.377  
40 Mickael Pascal (Fra) Morewood Unitedride 0:00:15.627  
41 Ben Cathro (GBr) Spagnolo Damien 0:00:15.696  
42 Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team 0:00:15.839  
43 Richard Thomas (GBr) 0:00:15.982  
44 Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team 0:00:16.017  
45 Timothy Bentley (RSA) Morewood Unitedride 0:00:16.056  
46 Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense 0:00:16.294  
47 Mitch Ropelato (USA) 0:00:16.595  
48 Luke Strobel (USA) MS Evil Racing 0:00:16.903  
49 Alex Bond (GBr) 0:00:17.425  
50 Marcel Beer (Swi) 0:00:17.435  
51 Emanuel Pombo (Por) 0:00:17.934  
52 Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team 0:00:18.289  
53 Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Scott 11 0:00:18.405  
54 Jonty Neethling (RSA) 0:00:19.692  
55 Johann Potgieter (RSA) 0:00:20.534  
56 Thomas Braithwaite (GBr) 0:00:20.677  
57 Curtis Keene (USA) 0:00:21.430  
58 Hayden Brown (RSA) 0:00:22.359  
59 Patrick Thome (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team 0:00:22.654  
60 Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 0:00:22.688  
61 Scott Mears (GBr) 0:00:23.147  
62 Thomas Jeandin (Swi) 0:00:24.451  
63 Lars Peyer (Swi) SC-Intense 0:00:24.831  
64 Fraser Mcglone* (GBr) 0:00:26.043  
65 Daniel Pombo (Por) 0:00:26.995  
66 Kelvin Purchase (RSA) 0:00:28.688  
67 Chris Hutchens (GBr) 0:00:28.900  
68 Tiaan Odendaal* (RSA) 0:00:29.700  
69 Fergus Lamb (GBr) 0:00:30.123  
70 Francesco Petrucci (Ita) 0:00:30.558  
71 Roman Roschi (Swi) 0:00:30.867  
72 Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) 0:00:31.068  
73 Arthur Parret* (Fra) Passion Velo Thiers Stemtee 0:00:32.375  
74 Jérôme Payet (Fra) 0:00:35.547  
75 Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team 0:00:40.691  
76 Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria 0:00:45.282  
77 Daniel Critchlow (GBr) 0:00:45.525  
78 Travis Browning (RSA) 0:03:06.284  
DNF George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing    
DNF Michael Hannah (Aus)    
DNS Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz    
DNS Alexander Kangas (Swe)    

World Cup standings

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing 218  pts
2 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate 200  
3 Gee Atherton (GBr) Commencal 162  
4 Fabien Barel (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team 145  
5 Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 110  
6 Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing 104  
7 Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 102  
8 Nick Beer (Swi) SCott 11 94  
9 Julien Camellini (Fra) Team Sunn Montgenevre 92  
10 Marc Beaumont (GBr) 90  
11 Cédric Gracia (Fra) CG Racing Brigade 90  
12 Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 86  
13 Duncan Riffle (USA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 83  
14 Bryn Atkinson (Aus) 80  
15 Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Morewood Unitedride 76  
16 Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team 70  
17 Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International 69  
18 Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Riding Addiction Commencal 69  
19 Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 68  
20 Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof 66  
21 Matthew Scoles (NZl) Team Cingolani Trek 63  
22 Markus Pekoll (Aut) Ms Evil Racing 62  
23 Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International 60  
24 Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 59  
25 Brook Macdonald (NZl) Ms Evil Racing 59  
26 Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing 59  
27 Troy Brosnan* (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 58  
28 Romain Paulhan (Fra) 56  
29 Neko Mulally* (USA) Trek World Racing 52  
30 Filip Polc (Svk) Ms Evil Racing 51  
31 Shaun O'Connor (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 50  
32 Michael Hannah (Aus) 50  
33 Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc/Solid/Massif Des Vosges 49  
34 Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense 48  
35 Sam Dale (GBr) Team Sunn Montgenevre 47  
36 Bernard Kerr (GBr) 46  
37 Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark Powered By W-Racing 45  
38 Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain 44  
39 Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof 43  
40 Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona 42  
41 Mickael Pascal (Fra) Morewood Unitedride 41  
42 Ben Cathro (GBr) 40  
43 Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team 39  
44 Richard Thomas (GBr) 38  
45 Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team 37  
46 Timothy Bentley (RSA) Morewood Unitedride 36  
47 Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 36  
48 Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense 35  
49 Mitch Ropelato (USA) 34  
50 Luke Strobel (USA) Ms Evil Racing 33  
51 Alex Bond (GBr) 32  
52 Marcel Beer (Swi) 31  
53 Emanuel Pombo (Por) 30  
54 Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team 29  
55 Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) SCott 11 28  
56 Jonty Neethling (RSA) 27  
57 Johann Potgieter (RSA) 26  
58 Thomas Braithwaite (GBr) 25  
59 Curtis Keene (USA) 24  
60 Hayden Brown (RSA) 23  
61 Patrick Thome (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team 22  
62 Scott Mears (GBr) 20  
63 Thomas Jeandin (Swi) 19  
64 Lars Peyer (Swi) SC-Intense 18  
65 Fraser Mcglone* (GBr) 17  
66 Daniel Pombo (Por) 16  
67 Kelvin Purchase (RSA) 15  
68 Chris Hutchens (GBr) 14  
69 Tiaan Odendaal* (RSA) 13  
70 Fergus Lamb (GBr) 12  
71 Francesco Petrucci (Ita) Team Cingolani Trek 11  
72 Roman Roschi (Swi) 10  
73 Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) 9  
74 Arthur Parret* (Fra) Passion Velo Thiers Stemtee 8  
75 Jérôme Payet (Fra) 7  
76 Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team 6  
77 Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria 5  
78 Daniel Critchlow (GBr) 4  
79 Travis Browning (RSA) 3  
Downhill team World Cup standings after one round
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Santa Cruz Syndicate 84  pts
2 Trek World Racing 83  
3 Team GR 65  
4 Scott 11 62  
5 Mondraker Factory Team 37  
6 Commencal 32  
7 Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 31  
8 Lapierre International 29  
9 Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain 26  
10 Devinci Global Racing 26  
11 Giant Factory Off-Road Team 26  
12 Team Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie 20  
13 Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 18  
14 Madison Saracen 16  
15 Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof 16  
16 Cg Racing Brigade 15  
17 Morewood Unitedride 14  
18 Team Cingolani Trek 13  
19 Alpine Commencal Austria 12  
20 Team Sunn Montgenevre 12  
21 Riding Addiction Commencal 11  
22 MS Evil Racing 10  
23 SC-Intense 6