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Minnaar moves into lead

South African downhill biker Greg Minnaar beat an ankle injury to place third in the fifth round of the Nissan UCI World Cup event in Maribor, Slovenia.

This means the Santa Cruz Syndicate rider takes the leader’s jersey from teammate Steve Peat.┬á This marks Greg’s 40th World Cup Downhill podium from 70 world cup starts.┬á Peat was on a great race run and was 0.06sec faster at the first split than race winner Fabien Barel.┬á But he then suffered a rear flat and finished in a distant 38th place.┬á Josh Bryceland struggled to find his form and placed 25th.

As rain moved in on Saturday the team were ready to race, but right before the start of the qualifier the race was postponed until Sunday.┬á Race day schedule was packed tight with practice starting at 7am then straight into the qualifier which went well for Bryceland who placed eight, and Peat was third even though he didn’t think he had a great run.┬á Minnaar nearly crashed in the “rock garden” but managed to pull off a big save, and rolling his ankle in the process. In some pain, he managed to limp in for ninth.┬á Greg knew he would still race the final regardless of the pain, using his strong mindset to his advantage.

Greg recounts his near get-off, ÔÇ£The qualifier was a gong show.┬á The track was really greasy and I was riding the 50/50 Crankbrothers flat pedals.┬á I came through the rock section and my back wheel kicked off a rock and I started swapping down the course like a rodeo cowboy until the course stopped me into a pad.┬á I lost a lot of time in there.┬á I was disappointed being ninth as I was riding well in the wet.┬á I tweaked my ankle.ÔÇØ

Minnaar was pleased with a third place finish in the race saying, ÔÇ£The track had dried out so it was a different course in the dry and I went back to being clipped in rather than run flat pedals like I did in the qualifier.┬á I decided to go for a solid run and I managed to do it.┬á I didn’t have any fireworks in my run, and I only made a few mistakes.┬á All and all I’m happy.'”

So after a rough race day the Syndicate did have a few bright moments as Minnaar donned the leaders jersey and managed to retain the overall team standing lead, just 25 points ahead of Trek World Racing, who were the team leaders on the day.  The Syndicate has been in the leader jersey for every World Cup race so far this season and the boys plan to battle on to keep it in the camp.

DOWNHILL FINAL RESULTS:

1st  Fabien Barel  3:03.33
2nd  Sam Hill  3:04.04
3rd  GREG MINNAAR (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE)  3:05.36
4th  Justin Leov  3:07.65
5th  Brendan Fairclough  3:08.50

MEN’S INDIVIDUAL STANDINGS:

1st  GREG MINNAAR (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE)  914
2nd  STEVE PEAT  (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE)  835
3rd  Sam Hill  789
4th  Gee Atherton  776


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