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Minnaar takes slim World Cup win

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Downhill legend Shaun Palmer is attempting a comeback.

Downhill legend Shaun Palmer is attempting a comeback. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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An American rider gets ready in the start house.

An American rider gets ready in the start house. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Dan Stanbridge races down the rock face.

Dan Stanbridge races down the rock face. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Brendon Fairclough's mechanic providing shade and tunes.

Brendon Fairclough's mechanic providing shade and tunes. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Bryn Atkinson over a wooden bridge.

Bryn Atkinson over a wooden bridge. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Bryn Atkinson cornering on the course.

Bryn Atkinson cornering on the course. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Kyle Straight goes over a big drop-off.

Kyle Straight goes over a big drop-off. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Kyle Straight riding to 16th place.

Kyle Straight riding to 16th place. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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This spectator was enjoying the action high on the mountain.

This spectator was enjoying the action high on the mountain. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Brendon Fairclough in the air as he descends the course.

Brendon Fairclough in the air as he descends the course. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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The large number of downhill fans were staying hydrated.

The large number of downhill fans were staying hydrated. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Justin Leov over a drop-off on the tricky course.

Justin Leov over a drop-off on the tricky course. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Aaron Gwen (Team USA) riding to his second podium in as many weeks.

Aaron Gwen (Team USA) riding to his second podium in as many weeks. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Steve Smith on a granite rock face.

Steve Smith on a granite rock face. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Chris Kovarik (Chain Reaction Cycles)

Chris Kovarik (Chain Reaction Cycles) (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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World Champion Gee Atherton heading for fourth place.

World Champion Gee Atherton heading for fourth place. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Gee Atherton, the current World Champion, gets some air during his run.

Gee Atherton, the current World Champion, gets some air during his run. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) racing to seventh place.

Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) racing to seventh place. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) in the air.

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) in the air. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) on his way to another victory.

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) on his way to another victory. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sam Monster Energy-Specialized) took third place, but held on to his series lead.

Sam Monster Energy-Specialized) took third place, but held on to his series lead. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Fabien Barel goes off a jump on his way to second place.

Fabien Barel goes off a jump on his way to second place. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Steve Peat and Gee Atherton after the race.

Steve Peat and Gee Atherton after the race. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Greg Minnaar gets another win.

Greg Minnaar gets another win. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sam Hill finished third at the found and is still the World Cup leader.

Sam Hill finished third at the found and is still the World Cup leader. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Danny Hart is the leader in the Junior category.

Danny Hart is the leader in the Junior category. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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New Zealand's Nathan Rankin (Iron Horse-Kenda-Playerbike) took 20th spot.

New Zealand's Nathan Rankin (Iron Horse-Kenda-Playerbike) took 20th spot. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Thibaut Ruffin, of France, was 18th quickest, seven seconds off the pace.

Thibaut Ruffin, of France, was 18th quickest, seven seconds off the pace. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Rhys Willemse is the #3 junior in the rankings

Rhys Willemse is the #3 junior in the rankings (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Bryn Atkinson was 15th.

Bryn Atkinson was 15th. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Josh Bryceland just made the top 10 with his ninth place.

Josh Bryceland just made the top 10 with his ninth place. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Samuel Blenkinsop (Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team) was five seconds off the leader's pace.

Samuel Blenkinsop (Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team) was five seconds off the leader's pace. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Michael Hannah (GT Bicycles) just missed out on the podium with his sixth place.

Michael Hannah (GT Bicycles) just missed out on the podium with his sixth place. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Aaron Gwin (Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team) was the top North American, taking the podium's final step in fifth.

Aaron Gwin (Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team) was the top North American, taking the podium's final step in fifth. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Australia's Chris Kovarik (Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense) was eighth, just three seconds off the pace.

Australia's Chris Kovarik (Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense) was eighth, just three seconds off the pace. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) could only manage seventh.

Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) could only manage seventh. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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South African Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) was the quickest over the course.

South African Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) was the quickest over the course. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Sam Hill's third place was enough to retain the World Cup lead.

Sam Hill's third place was enough to retain the World Cup lead. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Fabien Barel (Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team) was the second quickest in the final.

Fabien Barel (Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team) was the second quickest in the final. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The top five riders get celebrations underway with some champagne.

The top five riders get celebrations underway with some champagne. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Podium (L-R): Gee Atherton, Fabien Barel, Greg Minnaar, Samuel Hill and Aaron Gwinn.

Podium (L-R): Gee Atherton, Fabien Barel, Greg Minnaar, Samuel Hill and Aaron Gwinn. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Danny Hart is the Junior World Cup leader.

Danny Hart is the Junior World Cup leader. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) took his third win this season in the men’s World Cup series, at Bromont, Quebec in Canada. Sam Hill (Monster Energy-Specialized) retains the lead in the men’s series after finishing third in Bromont, but Minnaar is only 16 points back, so this title will come down to the final round in Schladming, Austria, one month from now.

“The course was really tough after all the rain,” said Minnaar. “Many of the sections were just blown right out, and it was easy to make mistakes. I didn’t have a clean run; I don’t think anyone did, but I just tried to keep it clean and flowy, and be as smooth as I could.

“Definitely, this win is a confident booster, going into the Worlds, and I’ll be looking forward to having it all come down to the Final in Schladming,” he added.

The off-again, on-again rain of the past week finally moved away overnight, with blue skies and bright sun appearing shortly before race time. The open sections of track dried out quickly, however, in among the trees the mud remained, forcing riders to carefully negotiate slippery rock gardens and rooted sections.

There were a number of top riders who crashed, led by Evil Bikes team mates Steve Smith and Matti Lehikoinen, who both qualified in the top-10. Lehikoinen’s crash was particularly hard, and he did not finish. It appears that he may have broken his collarbone.

Jared Rando (Giant) was the first man to take the Hot Seat for an extended period, holding onto the lead for over 20 riders before Nathan Rankin (Iron Horse-Kenda-Playbiker) just squeaked by him. After that, the lead changed fairly steadily, as riders brought the time down in increments of a quarter to half a second.

Mick Hannah (GT Bicycles), with 11 riders remaining, was the first to make a significant dent in the top time, taking it below 2:34 minutes. His time would hold until the young American revelation Aaron Gwin (Yeti Fox Shox) knocked a quarter of a second off the best time, to eventually take the fifth podium spot.

World champion Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal) bumped Gwin, but Minnaar was only two riders later, and his time would prove to be the best, as the final two riders - Hill and number one qualifier Fabien Barel (Subaru) - could only manage the second and third fastest times respectively.

Results
1Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:02:32
2Fabien Barel (Fra) Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team0:00:01
3Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz0:00:01
4Gee Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal0:00:01
5Aaron Gwin (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:02
6Michael Hannah (Aus) GT Bicycles0:00:02
7Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:02
8Chris Kovarik (Aus) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense0:00:03
9Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:04
10Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz
11Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing0:00:05
12Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Bicycles
13Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:05
14Mickael Pascal (Fra) MSC Bikes0:00:05
15Bryn Atkinson (Aus)0:00:06
16Kyle Strait (USA) Specialized Team America0:00:07
17Luke Strobel (USA) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles0:00:07
18Thibaut Ruffin (Fra)0:00:07
19Nick Beer (Swi) Scott 110:00:08
20Nathan Rankin (NZl) Iron Horse-Kenda-Playbiker0:00:09
21Jared Rando (Aus) Giant Mountain Bike Team0:00:09
22Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense0:00:09
23Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa) Massi0:00:09
24Marcelo Gutierrez (Col)0:00:10
24Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa) Massi
26Joseph Smith (GBr) Kona
27Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Solid Aclass Factory Team0:00:10
28Maxime Remy (Fra) Suspension Center0:00:10
29Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Scott 11
30Duncan Riffle (USA) Duncan Riffle Racing0:00:10
31Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team0:00:10
32Wyn Masters (NZl) Ancillotti Doganaccia Racing Team0:00:11
33Antoine Badouard (Fra)0:00:11
34Dean Tennant (Can)0:00:12
35Ben Reid (Irl) Just Reid Race Team0:00:12
36Joshua Button (Aus)0:00:12
37Markus Pekoll (Aut) Solid Aclass Factory Team
38Antonio Ferreiro Pajuelo (Spa) XMS-Devinci World Cup Team0:00:12
39Esteban Deronzier (Fra) Morzine-Avoriaz 740:00:13
40Steve Smith (Can) MS Evil Racing0:00:13
41George Brannigan (NZl)
42Camille Blanchard (Fra) Team Sport Bike
43Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) Team Sunn0:00:14
44Lars Peyer (Swi) Suspension Center0:00:14
45Ludovic May (Swi)0:00:14
46Jamie Biluk (Can)0:00:14
47Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Dytech DH0:00:14
48Kevin Aiello (USA) GT Bicycles0:00:15
49John Swanguen (USA)0:00:15
50Ivan Oziol (Fra)0:00:15
51Alex Bond (GBr)0:00:15
52Gareth Brewin (GBr)0:00:16
53Harry Molloy (GBr)0:00:16
54Marco Bugnone (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team0:00:16
55Groizard Félix (Fra) Team Sport Bike0:00:16
56Andrew Neethling (RSA) Trek World Racing0:00:17
57Harry Heath (GBr)0:00:17
58Filip Polc (Svk) MS Evil Racing0:00:17
59David Vazquez Lopez (Spa) Lapierre Powered By Saab Salomon0:00:17
60Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense0:00:18
61Scott Mears (GBr)0:00:18
62Harry Armstrong (Aus)
63Danny Hart (GBr) Lapierre Powered By Saab Salomon0:00:19
64Yann Gauvin (Can)0:00:20
65Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kenda Morewood0:00:22
66Curtis Keene (USA)0:00:22
67Dan Stanbridge (GBr)0:00:23
68Patrick Thome (Fra) Team Sport Bike0:00:25
69Marco Milivinti (Ita) Dytech DH0:00:25
70Herman Olund (Swe)0:00:25
71Robin Wallner (Swe)0:00:26
72Thirion Rémi (Fra) Team Sunn0:00:26
73Geoffrey Ulmer (USA)0:00:27
74Joris Bigoni (Fra)0:00:30
75Rhys Willemse (Aus)0:00:34
76Laurie Dinham (Aus) Suspension Center0:00:34
77Hans Lambert (Can)0:00:40
78David Eme (Fra)0:01:22
79Ben Cathro (GBr)0:01:23

Teams
1Santa Cruz Syndicate86pts
2Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team66
3Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense56
4Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles54
5Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz53
6Trek World Racing50
7Iron Horse-Kenda-Playbiker46
8GT Bicycles45
9Scott 1136
10Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team35
11Animal Commencal30
12Morzine-Avoriaz 7428
13Suspension Center26
14Team Sunn19
15Norco World Team18
16MSC Bikes17
17Specialized Team America15
18Ancillotti Doganaccia Racing Team15
19Massi15
20Giant Mountain Bike Team10
21Kona5
22Solid Aclass Factory Team4
23Duncan Riffle Racing1

 

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