Minnaar wins downhill World Cup opener at home

Gwin, Hannah round out top three

The opening round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup concluded on Sunday with the downhill, a crowd favourite in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Local fans went wild when the hometown son, Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), came from behind to win the men's title.

The men's race was expected to be close, after Minnaar, the 2009 winner in Pietermaritzburg beat American Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing), the 2011 Pietermaritzburg champion, by an infinitesimal eight one-thousandths of a second in qualifying.

After Gwin set the fastest time, overtaking Mick Hannah (Hutchinson United Ride), and with Minnaar over two seconds behind at the first time check, it looked like the race was over. However, the "Greg Minnaar Nation" was cheering their hero on, and the Pietermaritzburg rider made up the time deficit in the lower half of the course, cutting it to one second at the second intermediate split and then winning by over six-tenths of a second.

"I knew at the top I was behind," said Minnaar. "I made two stupid mistakes at the beginning, so I knew had to make up as much as I could down at the bottom. As much pain as it was to pedal, I just had to put my head down and go."

"Oh man, it was electric, hearing the crowd at the bottom, it was so wild. I could have done with some more support further up on the pedaling bit when I wanted to sit down, but there was no one there, they were all down at the bottom. But when I jumped into the finishing area, the crowd was just amazing."

Gwin shrugged at the close loss, vowing to continue the battle at the next round. "It's been a great week here in South Africa, and I'm happy with my run today. I'm also happy for Greg, he's had some tough challenges this past week [Minnaar's father has been ill - Ed.] and I truly respect his win today. That was amazing, and I'm looking forward to a great season with him, like last year."

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:03:57.980 
2Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing0:00:00.632 
3Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:00.994 
4Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:01.303 
5Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing0:00:04.384 
6Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:04.436 
7Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:04.800 
8Troy Brosnan (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized0:00:05.017 
9Julien Camellini (Fra)0:00:05.604 
10Cédric Gracia (Fra) CG Racing Brigade0:00:05.674 
11Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized0:00:05.836 
12Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing0:00:05.894 
13Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek0:00:06.064 
14Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing0:00:06.327 
15Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:07.670 
16Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:07.674 
17Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing0:00:08.579 
18Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:08.874 
19Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team0:00:09.036 
20Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Scott110:00:09.212 
21Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:09.396 
22Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team0:00:10.307 
23Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction0:00:10.412 
24Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International0:00:10.657 
25Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team0:00:10.938 
26Loic Bruni° (Fra) Lapierre International0:00:11.038 
27Oliver Burton (GBr) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing0:00:11.178 
28Robin Wallner (Swe)0:00:11.418 
29Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:00:11.881 
30Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona0:00:11.886 
31Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:12.047 
32Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace0:00:12.386 
33Johann Potgieter (RSA) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:00:12.472 
34Marcus Klausmann (Ger)0:00:12.533 
35Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-Black Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd0:00:12.759 
36Duncan Riffle (USA) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:13.211 
37Isak Leivsson (Nor)0:00:13.491 
38Luke Strobel (USA)0:00:13.584 
39Greg Williamson (GBr)0:00:14.492 
40George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing0:00:14.515 
41Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:14.616 
42Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:14.844 
43Curtis Keene (USA) Specialized Racing - USA Gravity0:00:15.038 
44Mitch Ropelato (USA) Specialized Racing - USA Gravity0:00:15.072 
45Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:15.105 
46Richard Thomas (GBr)0:00:15.358 
47Bernard Kerr (GBr)0:00:15.742 
48Timothy Bentley (RSA) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:15.914 
49Jonty Neethling (RSA)0:00:16.222 
50Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team0:00:16.312 
51Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:16.656 
52Mickael Pascal (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz0:00:16.657 
53Alex Bond (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:16.732 
54Stefan Garlicki (RSA)0:00:16.838 
55Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International0:00:16.912 
56Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)0:00:17.154 
57Emanuel Pombo (Por)0:00:18.060 
58Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:18.106 
59Lars Peyer (Swi) SC-Intense0:00:18.447 
60Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-Black Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd0:00:18.649 
61Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team  
62Connor Fearon° (Aus) Kona  
63Logan Binggeli (USA)  
64Niklas Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing  
65Fergus Lamb (GBr)  
66Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team  
67Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team  
68Ludovic May (Swi)  
69Jack Reading (GBr)  
70Tommy Herrmann (Ger)  
71Guillaume Cauvin ° (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride  
72Miran Vauh (Slo)  
73Lutz Weber (Swi)  
74Tiaan Odendaal° (RSA)  
75Jonathan Jones° (GBr)  
76Mark Scott (GBr)  
77Kevin Aiello (USA)  
78Dan Sheridan° (Irl)  
79Kristoffer Haugland (Nor)  
80Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team  
DNFZakarias Blom Johansen (Nor)  
Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Hutchinson United Ride87 pts
2Santa Cruz Syndicate66 
3Trek World Racing66 
4MS Mondraker Team48 
5Devinci Global Racing47 
6GT Factory Racing43 
7Monster Energy-Specialized43 
8Madison Saracen Downhill Team35 
9Team Norco International33 
10Scott1131 
11Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team26 
12CG Racing Brigade26 
13Giant Factory Off-Road Team24 
14SC-Intense22 
15Commencal / Riding Addiction20 
16Topcycle By Trek18 
17Alpine Commencal Austria14 
18Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team9 
19Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace6 
20Lapierre International5 
21Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing3 
22Ghost Factory Racing Team2 
23Kona1 
World Cup individual standings after round 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate250 pts
2Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing200 
3Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride160 
4Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing150 
5Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing140 
6Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team111 
7Troy Brosnan (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized107 
8Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team105 
9Cédric Gracia (Fra) CG Racing Brigade93 
10Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek85 
11Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized81 
12Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing81 
13Julien Camellini (Fra)80 
14Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate80 
15Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing73 
16Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing69 
17Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate68 
18Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing67 
19Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride65 
20Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International64 
21Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team62 
22Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team62 
23Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Scott1161 
24Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team61 
25Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team59 
26Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction58 
27Loic Bruni° (Fra) Lapierre International55 
28Oliver Burton (GBr)54 
29Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing53 
30Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team53 
31Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona51 
32Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team50 
33Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace49 
34Johann Potgieter (RSA)48 
35Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team47 
36Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-Black Arrows-MTB Herin School ASD46 
37Duncan Riffle (USA) Dirt Norco Race Team45 
38Isak Leivsson (Nor)44 
39Luke Strobel (USA)43 
40Greg Williamson (GBr)42 
41George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing41 
42Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.com / Nukeproof39 
43Curtis Keene (USA) Specialized Racing - USA Gravity38 
44Mitch Ropelato (USA) Specialized Racing - USA Gravity37 
45Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.com / Nukeproof36 
46Richard Thomas (GBr)35 
47Bernard Kerr (GBr)34 
48Timothy Bentley (RSA) Hutchinson United Ride33 
49Jonty Neethling (RSA)32 
50Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team31 
51Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team30 
52Mickael Pascal (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz29 
53Alex Bond (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.com / Nukeproof28 
54Stefan Garlicki (RSA)27 
55Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International26 
56Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)25 
57Emanuel Pombo (Por)24 
58Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International23 
59Lars Peyer (Swi) SC-Intense22 
60Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-Black Arrows-MTB Herin School ASD21 
61Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team20 
62Connor Fearon° (Aus) Kona19 
63Logan Binggeli (USA)18 
64Niklas Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing17 
65Fergus Lamb (GBr)16 
66Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team15 
67Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team14 
68Ludovic May (Swi)13 
69Jack Reading (GBr)12 
70Tommy Herrmann (Ger)11 
71Guillaume Cauvin° (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride10 
72Miran Vauh (Slo)9 
73Lutz Weber (Swi)8 
74Tiaan Odendaal° (RSA)7 
75Jonathan Jones° (GBr)6 
76Mark Scott (GBr)5 
77Kevin Aiello (USA)4 
78Dan Sheridan° (Irl)3 
79Kristoffer Haugland (Nor)2 
80Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team1 
World Cup team standings after round 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Hutchinson United Ride87 pts
2Santa Cruz Syndicate66 
3Trek World Racing66 
4MS Mondraker Team48 
5Devinci Global Racing47 
6GT Factory Racing43 
7Monster Energy-Specialized43 
8Madison Saracen Downhill Team35 
9Team Norco International33 
10Scott1131 
11Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team26 
12CG Racing Brigade26 
13Giant Factory Off-Road Team24 
14SC-Intense22 
15Commencal / Riding Addiction20 
16Topcycle By Trek18 
17Alpine Commencal Austria14 
18Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team9 
19Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace6 
20Lapierre International5 
21Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing3 
22Ghost Factory Racing Team2 
23Kona1 

 

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