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UCI Mountain Bike World Championships 2012

Date range:
August 31 - September 9, 2012

September 2, Elite men downhill:

Minnaar takes narrow victory in downhill world championships

By:
Rob Jones
Published:
September 2, 2012, 15:35,
Updated:
September 5, 2012, 21:34

Atherton and Smith settle for medals

Greg Minnaar (South Africa)

Greg Minnaar (South Africa)

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The men's race for the downhill world title in Leogang, Austria, had a dozen strong contenders, and South Africa's Greg Minnaar took a that victory came down to the wire.  Gee Atherton (Great Britain) was second, ahead of Steve Smith (Canada).

Australia's Bryn Atkinson set the first sub-3:30 time, with nearly 50 riders to go. Sam Dale (Great Britain) quickly took off three-tenths of a second and held the hot seat for 20 riders before he was replaced by Florent Payet (France), with a drop of two seconds in the lead time.

Australian Mick Hannah took the leading time below 3:24 with 10 riders to go, but was immediately replaced by Canada's Steve Smith, who was bumped by Gee Atherton (Great Britain) with two riders left to finish. Minnaar came in next, half a second ahead of Atherton, but everyone knew that the final rider, American Aaron Gwin, could quite easily upset the standings. Gwin has won an incredible nine World Cups in 13 races over the past two seasons, so everyone was waiting to see what he could do.

However, it became apparent early in his run that Gwin was suffering mechanical problems, eventually finishing a distant 83rd, after his front and rear brakes, in the words of the team manager, "exploded". Minnaar jumped to his feet from the hot seat as he was mobbed by well wishers, ecstatic to win his second world title.

"It's been nine years and this run it, was tough," said Minnaar. "I had a lot of pressure today, I was super nervous. To be honest, I tried to nail the top section and just after the bridge I lost a lot of speed, I had to pedal hard. But I held it together, in a way same as in the Pietermaritzburg World Cup earlier this season. I couldn't believe I crossed the line in first."

"I am a bit bummed for Gwinny, he seems to have had a mechanical. I am not sure what happened. It is not exactly the best way for me to win, or how I'd like to win, but we are all out there trying our best. We all have mechanicals from time to time, that's part of racing."

Third place finisher Smith said, "Everybody comes to world champs to win. I didn't win, but if I am not on top, I'd rather be on the podium. I've had silver and bronze, so hopefully the next one will be gold. The track was awesome – quite grippy as the sun was out all day. I can’t believe the crowd; I have been here twice now for World Cups and they didn’t even have half the crowd we’ve had today. There were people all the way down, it was full of people, so it made the race good."

Race notes

- Steve Peat (Great Britain) was participating in his 20th world championship in a row.  He was recognized for his achievement with a special jersey from the UCI.  After quite a fast split time, he was out of the title race because of an unfortunate crash on a berm. 

- Austrian rider Markus Pekoll rode to his first world championship top ten placing in his career (ninth).

- Justin Leov (New Zealand) was competing in the final race of his career. "For sure I was chasing a top 10 here. The course had dried up really well and I was looking forward to running at speed and getting a great result. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, and I'll have to settle for 21st, but it has been an amazing run from Kaprun (Austria) in 2002, to these World Champs in Austria 10 years later."

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Greg Minnaar (South Africa) 0:03:21.790  
2 Gee Atherton (Great Britain) 0:00:00.581  
3 Steve Smith (Canada) 0:00:01.214  
4 Michael Hannah (Australia) 0:00:02.140  
5 Samuel Hill (Australia) 0:00:03.406  
6 Damien Spagnolo (France) 0:00:03.859  
7 Florent Payet (France) 0:00:04.227  
8 Brook Macdonald (New Zealand) 0:00:04.861  
9 Markus Pekoll (Austria) 0:00:05.774  
10 Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Colombia) 0:00:06.064  
11 Samuel Blenkinsop (New Zealand) 0:00:06.375  
12 Sam Dale (Great Britain) 0:00:06.504  
13 Bryn Atkinson (Australia) 0:00:06.794  
14 Marc Beaumont (Great Britain) 0:00:07.101  
15 Rémi Thirion (France) 0:00:07.167  
16 Cameron Cole (New Zealand) 0:00:07.283  
17 Johannes Fischbach (Germany) 0:00:07.430  
18 Mitchell Delfs (Australia) 0:00:07.980  
18 Andrew Neethling (South Africa)    
20 Joshua Button (Australia) 0:00:08.198  
21 Justin Leov (New Zealand) 0:00:08.534  
22 Luke Strobel (United States Of America) 0:00:08.582  
23 Boris Tetzlaff (Austria) 0:00:08.886  
24 Matthew Simmonds (Great Britain) 0:00:08.904  
25 Lorenzo Suding (Italy) 0:00:08.915  
26 George Brannigan (New Zealand) 0:00:09.065  
27 Neko Mulally (United States Of America) 0:00:09.713  
28 Lutz Weber (Switzerland) 0:00:09.850  
29 Aurélien Giordanengo (France) 0:00:10.062  
30 Robin Wallner (Sweden) 0:00:10.240  
31 Mitch Ropelato (United States Of America) 0:00:10.336  
32 Jared Graves (Australia) 0:00:10.623  
33 Logan Binggeli (United States Of America) 0:00:11.084  
34 Joseph Smith (Great Britain) 0:00:11.099  
35 Mickael Pascal (France) 0:00:11.925  
36 Steve Peat (Great Britain) 0:00:11.971  
37 Lars Peyer (Switzerland) 0:00:12.022  
38 Pierre Charles Georges (France) 0:00:12.243  
39 Isak Leivsson (Norway) 0:00:12.567  
40 Benny Strasser (Germany) 0:00:12.646  
41 Slawomir Lukasik (Poland) 0:00:12.692  
42 Johann Potgieter (South Africa) 0:00:12.761  
43 Matthew Beer (Canada) 0:00:12.823  
44 Filip Polc (Slovakia) 0:00:13.139  
45 Francisco Pardal (Portugal) 0:00:13.458  
46 Ben Reid (Ireland) 0:00:14.315  
47 Andreas Sieber (Germany) 0:00:15.528  
48 Kyle Sangers (Canada) 0:00:15.724  
49 Niklas Wallner (Sweden) 0:00:15.931  
50 Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spain) 0:00:16.680  
51 Nick Beer (Switzerland) 0:00:17.008  
52 Oscar Harnstrom (Sweden) 0:00:17.095  
53 Fabian Fader (Germany) 0:00:17.248  
54 Felix Wunderlich (Germany) 0:00:18.117  
55 Ewan Doherty (Ireland) 0:00:18.646  
56 Ziga Pandur (Slovenia) 0:00:19.028  
57 Nejc Rutar (Slovenia) 0:00:19.075  
58 Lukas Splichal (Czech Republic) 0:00:19.093  
59 Attila Liszi (Hungary) 0:00:20.056  
60 Carlo Gambirasio (Italy) 0:00:20.944  
61 Eliot Jackson (United States Of America) 0:00:21.962  
62 Matti Lehikoinen (Finland) 0:00:22.593  
63 Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spain) 0:00:23.041  
64 Arkadiusz Perin (Poland) 0:00:23.275  
65 Duncan Riffle (United States Of America) 0:00:23.436  
66 Rostislav Stencel (Czech Republic) 0:00:23.609  
67 Andréa Gamenara (Italy) 0:00:23.690  
68 Mathias Haas (Austria) 0:00:24.098  
69 Greg Callaghan (Ireland) 0:00:24.448  
70 Kazuki Shimizu (Japan) 0:00:24.902  
71 Emanuel Pombo (Portugal) 0:00:25.193  
72 Pietro Caire (Italy) 0:00:26.066  
73 Jan Javornik (Slovakia) 0:00:26.198  
74 Alvaro Hidalgo Vasquez (Costa Rica) 0:00:26.278  
75 Josh Bryceland (Great Britain) 0:00:26.763  
76 Lukas Ucen (Slovakia) 0:00:27.034  
77 Tomas Liska (Slovakia) 0:00:27.209  
78 Matej Laktis (Slovakia) 0:00:27.485  
79 Remi Gauvin (Canada) 0:00:27.688  
80 Pavel Cep (Czech Republic) 0:00:27.945  
81 Edgar Carballo Gonzalez (Spain) 0:00:28.228  
82 Marco Milivinti (Italy) 0:00:29.010  
83 Aaron Gwin (United States Of America) 0:00:30.538  
84 Lars Vatnebryn Sandviken (Norway) 0:00:31.047  
85 Manuel Gruber (Austria) 0:00:31.381  
86 Martin Messavilla (Italy) 0:00:32.208  
87 Markus Planitzer (Austria) 0:00:32.763  
88 Claudio Caluori (Switzerland) 0:00:33.233  
89 Petr Tresnak (Czech Republic) 0:00:33.937  
90 Petrik Jurs (Estonia) 0:00:34.378  
91 Valentyn Popov (Ukraine) 0:00:35.220  
92 Orlando Sarioglou (Greece) 0:00:35.771  
93 Felipe Andres Saenz Anabalon (Chile) 0:00:36.661  
94 Mario Reinbacher (Austria) 0:00:37.491  
95 Miran Vauh (Slovenia) 0:00:39.513  
96 Vladimir Pulaevskiy (Russian Federation) 0:00:40.442  
97 Oleksiy Priymachek (Ukraine) 0:00:41.959  
98 Bernardo Neves (Brazil) 0:00:44.211  
99 Miklos Kantor (Hungary) 0:00:46.015  
100 Adam Vagner (Czech Republic) 0:00:48.037  
101 Berislav Topol (Croatia) 0:00:48.354  
102 Marko Sisovic (Croatia) 0:00:49.155  
103 Marios Papasimakopoulos (Greece) 0:00:50.294  
104 Viktor Usachev (Russian Federation) 0:00:56.426  
105 Peter Keresztes (Hungary) 0:01:00.009  
106 Thibaut Ruffin (France) 0:01:01.938  
107 Erik-Lennart Purres (Estonia) 0:01:11.513  
108 Mahdi Mirzahosseini (Islamic Republic of Iran) 0:01:30.835  
109 Felipe Zanette (Brazil) 0:01:39.182  
110 Mart Laosma (Estonia) 0:01:42.145  
111 Alexandr Zubenko (Kazakhstan) 0:02:52.207  
112 Ludovic May (Switzerland) 0:06:25.529  
DNF Noah Grossman (Germany)    
DNF Zakarias Blom Johansen (Norway)    
DNF Troy Brosnan (Australia)    
DNS Mauricio Andres Acuna Quintana (Chile)    
Rankings by nation
# Rider Country
Result
1 Australia 326  pts
2 Great Britain 320  
3 France 320  
4 New-Zealand 313  
5 South Africa 287  
6 United States Of America 268  
7 Canada 254  
8 Austria 248  
9 Germany 244  
10 Switzerland 232  
11 Sweden 217  
12 Italy 196  
13 Ireland 178  
14 Slovakia 155  
15 Spain 154  
16 Czech Republic 144  
17 Slovenia 140  
18 Poland 127  
19 Portugal 116  
20 Norway 109  
21 Colombia 106  
22 Hungary 85  
23 Finland 54  
24 Japan 46  
25 Ukraine 44  
26 Costa Rica 42  
27 Estonia 41  
28 Greece 37  
29 Russian Federation 32  
30 Croatia 29  
31 Brazil 25  
32 Chile 23  
33 Islamic Republic Of Iran 8  
34 Kazakhstan 5  

For more about this week's racing see Cycling News HD