Minnaar stands atop podium at season-opening World Cup downhill

Atherton, Fairclough round out top three

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) broke a streak of bad luck in Maribor, becoming the first World Cup Downhill leader in the 2010 series.

The opening round of the downhill saw a slight easing overnight of the rain that had turned the four cross into a mud bath, which wasn't necessarily a positive thing, since it made the course sticky and slower; especially for the top-seeded men.

Ben Cathro set the early fast time of 3:31.52, before being bumped by Joe Smith (3:30.35) then Aaron Gwin (Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team), who became the first to go under 3:30. Gwin's time held up until Fabien Pedemanaud (Scott 11) took the best time down to 3:25.84; good enough for fourth.

The course was becoming more rutted and beat up as the top seeds took to the course, and riders were having to pick their lines carefully. Gee Atherton (Commencal) was the next to take the lead, choosing different lines from previous riders in the top section of the course, attacking the roots and rocks but slowing in sticky mud at the bottom, to knock two seconds off the best time.

Minnaar rode next, but took the opposite approach - more cautious in the upper technical portion, but powering through the lower third to beat Atherton by a quarter of a second become the first World Cup leader of the season, after the final two riders Brendan Fairclough (Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz) and Sam Hill (Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz) slotted in third and fifth, respectively.

Hill, coming off knee surgery over the winter, had the fastest split for the upper half of the course, but a crash dropped him down to the final podium spot. Canada's Steve Smith (MS Evil Racing) had his best World Cup finish to date, qualifying fifth and finishing sixth, one spot off the podium.

"I have always liked Maribor, but I've always done bad on the track. So that has changed now," said Minnaar. "I knew it was going to be a tough race, but decided to take it a bit safe and easy at the top, and ride a bit smoother; but it is so hard out there.

"I had a few mistakes myself, but I guess a lot less than the other guys. I am overwhelmed; I came here wanting to do well and for me, on this course, in these conditions, I felt a top three would be good, but a win was out of the question. But I pulled it off."

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:03:23.42 
2Gee Atherton (GBr) Commencal0:00:00.25 
3Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz0:00:01.82 
4Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Scott 110:00:02.42 
5Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz0:00:04.68 
6Steve Smith (Can) MS Evil Racing0:00:05.11 
7Aaron Gwin (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:05.28 
8Joseph Smith (GBr) Kona0:00:06.93 
9Cameron Cole (NZl) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain0:00:07.23 
9Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing  
11Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team0:00:07.29 
12Bryn Atkinson (Aus)0:00:07.31 
12Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International  
14Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense0:00:07.51 
15Mitchell Delfs (Aus)0:00:07.78 
16Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:07.82 
17Ben Cathro (GBr)0:00:08.09 
18Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense0:00:08.17 
19Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Bicycles0:00:08.26 
20Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Team0:00:08.30 
21Julien Camellini (Fra) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense0:00:08.80 
22Luke Strobel (USA) MS Evil Racing0:00:08.88 
23Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa) Massi Team0:00:08.97 
24Florent Payet (Fra) Blackmountain Morewood United0:00:09.81 
25Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Sunn Montgenevre0:00:10.72 
26Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:10.73 
27Nick Beer (Swi) Scott 110:00:11.24 
27Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal Superiders  
29Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team0:00:11.75 
30Michael Hannah (Aus) GT Bicycles0:00:12.21 
31Mickael Pascal (Fra)0:00:12.24 
32Antonio Ferreiro Pajuelo (Spa) XMS Racing Squad0:00:12.61 
33Andrew Neethling (RSA) Trek World Racing0:00:12.68 
34Joshua Button (Aus) Kona0:00:12.96 
35Emanuel Pombo (Por)0:00:13.48 
36Matthew Scoles (NZl) Team Cingolani - Protone0:00:13.60 
37Harry Molloy (GBr)0:00:13.61 
38Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Evil Racing0:00:13.91 
39Adam Vagner (Cze)0:00:14.44 
40Marco Milivinti (Ita) Team Cingolani - Protone0:00:14.48 
41Matej Charvat (Cze) K.T.R. Racing Team0:00:14.51 
42Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)0:00:14.57 
43Nico Vink (Bel)0:00:14.67 
44Shaun O'connor (Aus) Kenda-Playbiker0:00:15.96 
45Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:16.20 
46Emyr Davies (GBr)0:00:16.34 
47Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense0:00:19.25 
48Troy Brosnan* (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz0:00:19.46 
49Lars Peyer (Swi) Suspension Center0:00:19.60 
50Scott Mears (GBr)0:00:20.12 
51Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Solid Aclass Factory Team0:00:20.47 
52Romain Paulhan (Fra)0:00:20.80 
53Bernard Kerr (GBr) Norco World Team0:00:21.26 
54Wyn Masters (NZl) Kenda-Playbiker0:00:21.30 
55Olivier Nicole (Fra)0:00:21.62 
56Benny Strasser (Ger)0:00:21.63 
57Curtis Keene (USA)0:00:21.77 
58Filip Polc (Svk) MS Evil Racing0:00:21.96 
59Joe Barnes (GBr)0:00:22.69 
60Jack Reading (GBr)0:00:23.16 
61Nejc Rutar (Slo) MBK Orbea0:00:23.51 
62Oliver Burton (GBr)0:00:23.87 
63Duncan Riffle (USA) Giant Factory Team0:00:25.23 
64Markus Pekoll (Aut) Solid Aclass Factory Team0:00:25.73 
65Rémi Thirion (Fra) Team Sunn Montgenevre0:00:25.95 
66Ludovic May (Swi)0:00:27.34 
67George Brannigan* (NZl) Ancillotti Doganaccia Racing Team0:00:27.89 
68Marco Bugnone (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team0:00:31.01 
69Boris Tetzlaff (Aut) Ghost A.T.G. Pro Team0:00:33.64 
70Kyle Strait (USA)0:00:34.31 
71Chris Kovarik (Aus) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense0:00:35.18 
72Jan Javornik (Svk)0:00:35.72 
73Florian Arthus (Fra)0:00:36.55 
74Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost A.T.G. Pro Team0:00:36.65 
75Sam Dale (GBr)0:00:37.84 
76Richard Thomas (GBr)0:00:43.16 
77Kim Petersson (Swe)0:00:45.18 
78Mark Scott* (GBr)0:00:46.47 
79Maxime Remy (Fra) Suspension Center0:00:48.23 
80Joris Bigoni (Fra)0:01:11.21 
81Harry Heath (GBr)0:01:12.85 
DNFNathan Rankin (NZl) Kenda-Playbiker  
Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Scott 1188 pts
2Commencal75 
3Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense64 
4Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz60 
5Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain57 
6Santa Cruz Syndicate55 
7Trek World Racing45 
8MS Evil Racing35 
9Commencal Superiders34 
10RC Alpine Commencal Austria28 
11Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team24 
12Kona23 
13Mondraker Factory Team22 
14Suspension Center21 
15Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie20 
16Lapierre International19 
17Norco World Team19 
18Dr-Gravity Union13 
19GT Bicycles13 
20Giant Factory Team11 
21Massi Team8 
22Blackmountain Morewood United7 
23Team Sunn Montgenevre6 
24Dirt Norco Race Team5 
World Cup Individual Rankings after one round
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate230 pts
2Gee Atherton (GBr) Commencal185 
3Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz180 
4Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz160 
5Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Scott 11136 
6Steve Smith (Can) MS Evil Racing117 
7Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing93 
8Cameron Cole (NZl) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain92 
9Aaron Gwin (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team90 
10Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team86 
11Joseph Smith (GBr) Kona85 
12Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International84 
13Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate83 
14Luke Strobel (USA) MS Evil Racing79 
15Bryn Atkinson (Aus)78 
16Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team72 
17Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Bicycles68 
18Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Team68 
19Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa) Massi Team68 
20Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense67 
21Mitchell Delfs (Aus)66 
22Ben Cathro (GBr)64 
23Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense63 
24Julien Camellini (Fra) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense60 
25Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team60 
26Florent Payet (Fra) Blackmountain Morewood United57 
27Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Sunn Montgenevre56 
28Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal Superiders54 
29Nick Beer (Swi) Scott 1154 
30Michael Hannah (Aus) GT Bicycles51 
31Mickael Pascal (Fra)50 
32Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate50 
33Antonio Ferreiro Pajuelo (Spa) XMS Racing Squad49 
34Andrew Neethling (RSA) Trek World Racing48 
35Joshua Button (Aus) Kona47 
36Emanuel Pombo (Por)46 
37Matthew Scoles (NZl) Team Cingolani - Protone45 
38Harry Molloy (GBr)44 
39Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Evil Racing43 
40Adam Vagner (Cze)42 
41Marco Milivinti (Ita) Team Cingolani - Protone41 
42Matej Charvat (Cze) K.T.R. Racing Team40 
43Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)39 
44Nico Vink (Bel)38 
45Shaun O'Connor (Aus) Kenda-Playbiker37 
46Emyr Davies (GBr)35 
47Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense34 
48Troy Brosnan* (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz33 
49Lars Peyer (Swi) Suspension Center32 
50Scott Mears (GBr)31 
51Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Solid Aclass Factory Team30 
52Romain Paulhan (Fra)29 
53Bernard Kerr (GBr) Norco World Team28 
54Wyn Masters (NZl) Kenda-Playbiker27 
55Olivier Nicole (Fra)26 
56Benny Strasser (Ger)25 
57Curtis Keene (USA)24 
58Filip Polc (Svk) MS Evil Racing23 
59Joe Barnes (GBr)22 
60Jack Reading (GBr)21 
61Nejc Rutar (Slo) MBK Orbea20 
62Oliver Burton (GBr)19 
63Duncan Riffle (USA) Giant Factory Team18 
64Markus Pekoll (Aut) Solid Aclass Factory Team17 
65Rémi Thirion (Fra) Team Sunn Montgenevre16 
66Ludovic May (Swi)15 
67George Brannigan* (NZl) Ancillotti Doganaccia Racing Team14 
68Marco Bugnone (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team13 
69Boris Tetzlaff (Aut) Ghost A.T.G. Pro Team12 
70Kyle Strait (USA)11 
71Chris Kovarik (Aus) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense10 
72Jan Javornik (Svk)9 
73Florian Arthus (Fra)8 
74Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost A.T.G. Pro Team7 
75Sam Dale (GBr)6 
76Joris Bigoni (Fra)6 
77Richard Thomas (GBr)5 
78Kim Petersson (Swe)4 
79Mark Scott* (GBr)3 
80Maxime Remy (Fra) Suspension Center2 
World Cup Team Rankings after one round
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Scott 1188 pts
2Commencal75 
3Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense64 
4Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz60 
5Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain57 
6Santa Cruz Syndicate55 
7Trek World Racing45 
8MS Evil Racing35 
9Commencal Superiders34 
10RC Alpine Commencal Austria28 
11Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team24 
12Kona23 
13Mondraker Factory Team22 
14Suspension Center21 
15Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie20 
16Lapierre International19 
17Norco World Team19 
18Dr-Gravity Union13 
19GT Bicycles13 
20Giant Factory Team11 
21Massi Team8 
22Blackmountain Morewood United7 
23Team Sunn Montgenevre6 
24Dirt Norco Race Team5 

 

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