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Minnaar wins downhill World Cup opener at home

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Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) on his way to winning

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) on his way to winning (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing

Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing

Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing

Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Troy Brosnan (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized

Troy Brosnan (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Mickl Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride

Mickl Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Cédric Gracia (CG Racing Brigade)

Cédric Gracia (CG Racing Brigade) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team

Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team

Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate

Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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World Champion, Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team

World Champion, Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Top junior, Loic Bruni (Fra) Lapierre International

Top junior, Loic Bruni (Fra) Lapierre International (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Runner-up Aaron Gwin in action during the downhill finals

Runner-up Aaron Gwin in action during the downhill finals (Image credit: Darren Goddard / cycho.co.za)
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African champ Andrew Neethling flies home to claim seventh

African champ Andrew Neethling flies home to claim seventh (Image credit: Darren Goddard / cycho.co.za)
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Greg Minnaar celebrates his victory with Aaron Gwin (left) and Mick Hannah (right)

Greg Minnaar celebrates his victory with Aaron Gwin (left) and Mick Hannah (right) (Image credit: Darren Goddard / cycho.co.za)
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Mick Hannah negotiates the final stages of the downhill course

Mick Hannah negotiates the final stages of the downhill course (Image credit: Darren Goddard / cycho.co.za)
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Elite men's downhill podium in Pietermaritzburg: Gee Atherton, Aaron Gwin, Greg Minnaar, Michael Hannah, Steve Smith

Elite men's downhill podium in Pietermaritzburg: Gee Atherton, Aaron Gwin, Greg Minnaar, Michael Hannah, Steve Smith (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate)

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

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 Ride87pts
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 Syndicate250pts
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 Ride87pts
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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