Local champ third in Italy
CURRENT UCI Downhill World Champion Greg Minnaar finished third in the second round of the Downhill series of the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano, which took place at the popular Val di Sole track in Italy last Sunday.
Val di Sole played host to the first meeting of all three mountain bike racing disciplines at the same venue this season, these being cross-country eliminator (XCE), cross-country (XCO) and downhill (DHI). Minnaar qualified seventh fastest on the technical, steep course in the Trentino region of Italy behind fastest qualifier Gee Atherton (GBR). His final run saw him clock the third fastest time and claim the bronze medal 1,250 seconds off the pace of winner Atherton and second-placed Canadian Steve Smith, who clocked three minutes 12,185 seconds and three minutes 13,186 seconds respectively.
“Going into Val di Sole I knew I needed to build my confidence,” admitted Minnaar. “We had the suspension set up really well on the first day and that helped me make the most of practice. I was riding well in the qualifier but had an issue in my run. In the final, Marshy [his mechanic] made a last minute final adjustment to my bike to make it feel super comfortable.”
Saturday belonged to the XCO competitors as South Africans took to the start in the elite, U23 and junior age categories. The elite men’s race saw World Champion Nino Schurter (SUI) claim victory in 1 hour 32 minutes and 47 seconds, with Julien Absalon second (01:32:50) and Olympic Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE) third (01:34:34). KZN rider Rourke Croeser finished 17th in the U23 category men’s race, six-and-a-half minutes behind the race winner Markus Schulte-Luenzum from Germany. Candice Neethling earned 15th place in her U23 women’s race, finishing 10 minutes 18 seconds behind leader Yana Belomoyna from Ukraine (01:22:45). Promising junior Alan Hatherly put on a great performance and finished 22nd in his race, six-and-a-half minutes off the pace of New Zealander Samuel Gaze (01:12:36). Representing the junior women was Bianca Haw, who crossed the finish line in 24th place, 16 minutes behind the winner Olga Terentyeva from Russia (01:12:07). The XCE kicked off the weekend’s action and Philip Buys achieved his highest finish in this discipline so far. Buys recorded a fifth place result, with Austrian Daniel Federspiel taking top honours. South Africans will compete against these international athletes and many more on home soil for the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships, to be held at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from August 26 to September 1. More information can be found at www.mtbworldchamps.co.za.
Summary of Results – DHI Val di Sole –
June 16 2013
1 Gee Atherton (GBR) 3:12,185
2 Steve Smith (CAN) 3:13,186 +1,001
3 Greg Minnaar (RSA) 3:13,435 +1,250
As one of KZN’s oldest classics, aptly dubbed ‘the daddy of all races’, the Safire Baynesfield Classic enjoyed a big turnout of riders across the three race distances. Andrew Hill claimed a hard-earned victory in the fast 65 km race, taking the win in a time of two hours, 27 minutes and 31 seconds. Brandon Stewart claimed second place just over a minute back (02:28:43), with Tyron Bird in third (02:29:24). The top three women home showed that mothers have what it takes to excel at an endurance event. Wartburg mother of three, Lyn van Breda, crossed the line in first place in two hours, 59 minutes and 31 seconds. Pietermaritzburg-based moms Eszter Erdelyi (03:00:11) and Bridgette Stewart (03:09:21) placed second and third respectively.
In the 45 km race, it was Joshua Nelson home in first place (01:45:52), ahead of Carlo Marzoppi (01:55:28) and Robert Gee (2h05). The Youth riders dominated the women’s race with Frankie du Toit taking the win (02:12:51) ahead of Alexandra Mapstone (02:29:53) and veteran Tessa Hesse in third (02:31:27). Rudi Greyling and Tiffany Keep were the respective winners of the 20 km race.
On the South Coast, riders enjoyed much warmer conditions at the Magma Security Scottburgh MTB Classic. Evan van der Spuy and Lee Penderis had a good tussle for the victory of the 45 km race but it was Van der Spuy who took the honours ahead of Penderis in second and Matthew Goetsch in third. Hayley Smith claimed the women’s title ahead of Nataschka Mowat in second and Jackie Church in third. The third event in the MiWay Big 5 Series, the Pick n Pay Elephant Eshowe, takes place tomorrow morning. The race starts at the Gratton Prep School in Eshowe — the venue for the old Zululand showgrounds — and heads out to the Ihlazi Dam. The area is well known for the Gratton Triathlon and the perfect spectator point for the 10 km, 25 km and 50 km races. Registration is open between 6 am and 8 am and late entries will be taken.
In its 11th year, the Burry Stander Sardine MTB Classic event will be a very special one that commemorates a legend of our time — Burry Stander. This year the event, set to be held at the Port Edward Holiday resort on the South Coast, aims to raise awareness and funds for the Burry Stander Foundation, an organisation inspired by Stander with the vision to advocate road safety measures for cyclists and runners. The weekend kicks off next Saturday with a 10 km and 20 km trail run; and on Sunday there is a 10 km MTB Family Ride, a 20 km MTB Intermediate Ride and a 42 km MTB Classic. For more information contact Natalie Abbotts on 083 549 6710 or Mark Thornton-Smith 084 550 4138. Entries are open on www.roag.co.za.
The St John’s DSG Bundu Bash takes place from a new venue at the Bishopstowe Town Hall tomorrow morning. Registration is open between 6.30 am and 9 am, with the racing starting from 8 am. The Chainsaw event, which is made up of a kilometre-kilometre trail run, followed by a testing but pleasant 19 km MTB, is for the more technically advanced, whereas the Dustbuster event is for the emerging participant who wants to get a feel about what multisports are all about. It is made up of a 2,5 km trail run followed by a 10 km MTB.
BMX racers made their way to the Netherlands for the third round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup at Papendal, in the city of Arnhem, the Netherlands last weekend. Elite women representative Teagan O’Keeffe had a horrific accident during her practice session on Friday, where she misjudged her launch off one of the jumps and crashed into the slope of the next jump. Twenty-year-old O’Keeffe was concussed, yet the determined young star was deemed fit to race on Saturday, where she qualified 12th in the time trial. O’Keeffe’s qualification saw her make it to the TT superfinals. She finished fourth, third and fifth and got through to the semi-final.