Greg Minnaar Wins Pietermaritzburg World Cup!

Greg Minnaar has stormed to victory taking first place in the opening round of the World Cup on home soil in Pietermaritzburg!

Photo by Kathy Sessler

Last year’s World Cup winner Aaron Gwin was just over half a second behind Minnaar’s time, and Mick Hannah who finished in third was only a second back, with Gee Atherton and Steve Smith rounding up the podium.

As the top 30 gathered at the top of the hill, Brendan Fairclough was sweating it out on the hot seat. Fairclough will be the first to admit that this isn’t a track that suits him, and it was a crash on this track last year that plagued his season, but with a new knee and a new bike, the Scott Gambler, he was able to come away finishing 20th.

It was Gwin’s team mate Neko Mullaly who knocked Fairclough off the hot seat, only to have to make way for next rider down Julien Camellini. Camellini qualified third here last year but disaster struck in his race run when his gear cable snapped and he was forced to ride single speed, destroying his chances and leaving him absolutely devastated.

With this being the first race of the season we were going to see many riders on new teams or with new bikes, and Camellini is one such rider, going it alone this year on his own race program. Lots of big names set out, but it wasn’t until South African rider Andrew Neethling crossed the line that Camellini’s time was bettered, although he had done enough for a top ten finish.

Needles looked to be tucking between the jumps for speed and to conserve energy, and it paid of, with the home crowd going wild. Needles’ time at the top was short lived with Yeti/Fox rider Jared Graves just edging him off the hot seat. This year Graves is focussing purely on racing downhill, completely changing his training regime and it paid off, with Graves finishing in sixth place, just half a second off a spot on the podium.

Sick Mick famously qualified fastest here last year, only to crash out so hard he snapped his stem bolts in his race run. There would be no repeat of that today, and no doubt spurred on by his sister’s earlier victory Mick set off. Mick is an incredibly powerful rider and was nearly four seconds up at the second split after the gruelling pedalling section of the track, and was the first rider of the day to beat the qualifying times, with a 3:58.97 run.

Gee Atherton had a disappointing top section, but was able to make up time mid-track to finish in fourth. Steve Smith is another dangerously strong rider and was down at the second split, but was able to buck the trend of losing time on the bottom section and managed to sprint into fifth place.

Pietermaritzburg was the venue for Gwin’s first victory last year, and the start of his campaign for domination. Qualifying was so close between Gwin and Minnaar, with just eight hundredths of a second separating them.

Today saw more of the same, and Minnaar shot into the lead beating Gwin by just over half a second. Greg’s home crowd went wild as he sprinted past the line, taking his 16th World Cup victory greeted by team mate Steve Peat, then swamped by his One Life crew!

1 Greg Minnaar 3:57.98

2 Aaron Gwin 3:58.61

3 Mick Hannah 3:58.97

4 Gee Atherton 3:59.28

5 Steve Smith 4:02.36

In the women’s race Tracey Hannah made one hell of a return to World Cup racing giving Morewood bikes their first podium on the World Cup stage. Last Year’s junior World Champ and Madison Saracen rider Manon Carpenter was just a second off Hannah’s time in second place, with World Champ Emmeline Ragot in third spot.

1 Tracey Hannah 4:33.80

2 Manon Carpenter 4:34.75

3 Emmeline Ragot 4:36.61

4 Jill Kintner 4:42.29

5 Miriam Ruchti 4:44.70

With both Tracey and Mick Hannah both on the podium, along with the efforts of Fabien Cousinie in 16th, Tim Bentley in 48th and Guillaume Cauvin in 71st putting the Hutchinson United Ride top of the team league.

Full results can be found here. Team videos to follow as they filter through.

New Zealand, home of Hobbit's and amazing riding, so it's only natural that there's a Hobbit Heli Mountain Biking In New Zealand video!...

4 days ago
2,305

This is seven shades of radness! We want to ride here so much it hurts and after you watch this you might just end up digging a hole in the garden! You'll need...

3 days ago
2,020

How low can you go? In this edit, YT Industries rider Bryan Regnier lays it down like a boss! More infos about our compression socks Ride more with SÖK Follow...

6 days ago
1,668

You've seen his downhill course previews, now check it out as Claudio Caluori swaps two wheels for some skates and experiences the Red Bull Ice Cross Downhill...

5 days ago
1,118

Will Two Two Gravity Racing be able to emulate Two Two Motorsports Chad Reed, who took victory number 44 this weekend? Check out the edit from the gravity boys...

1 week ago
1,043
Mountain Bike Magazine Online and Free

IMB is a free international online mountain bike magazine that focuses on all aspects of mountain bike. It is published every 2 months and is completely free to read. This free online mountain bike magazine is the most successful online mountain bike magazine of its kind. With readers in over 150 countries round the world it is the only mountain bike magazine to achieve a true global status.

Each free issue of IMB comes packed full of articles about the sport of mountain bike. Regular features include our very popular video technique section with moves for beginners intermediates and experts alike. Add to that a mix of mountain bike news, travel and interviews from around the globe and you have everything you will ever need to keep you up to date with mountain bike.

IMB is the world's number one online mountain bike magazine. IMB is FREE to read and published 6 times a year by Next Element Ltd.

Total Page Flicks 109,309,214
TOP