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MTB team learn heaps

Greg Minnaar was South Africa’s best placed finisher at the recently completed 2011 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships in Switzerland.

Minnaar ended eighth in the men’s elite downhill and it was another spectacular display of mountain bike racing from athletes all over the world, with only one chance of having the perfect race run to earn the prestigious title of MTB World Champion.

Team South Africa ended 11th in the team relay. It was a competition where South Africa had a very strong presence in amongst a quality line-up of international mountain bikers in the cross-country and downhill disciplines; four-cross and trials were also part of the event schedule. The conditions certainly did not contribute to any meaningful challenge by the entire field of athletes and success was determined more by the elements, which in some instances had a ‘river’ of water running across the track.┬áNot necessarily ideal world championship conditions.

World medal contender Burry Stander faced misfortune in the Elite men’s right from the get go, when a poor start saw him fighting for positions from early in the race. About mid way when the rain began to come down, Stander suffered a big crash on some wet, slippery roots, abruptly ending his race.

ÔÇ£Although the pro riders are prepared to race in any condition, it is the Junior and Under-23 downhill riders that felt it the most,ÔÇØ said SA MTB Team Manager Bryan Strauss. ┬áÔÇ£And when it came to the Elite DH race, the conditions really opened up the field.

ÔÇ£It is clear to see who has been racing the world cups abroad this year,ÔÇØ continued Strauss. ÔÇ£Our riders have the ability to compete against the best in the world, but gaining experience from regularly racing abroad is vital. ┬áFor instance, look at our downhill riders ÔÇô the juniors find the racing quite overwhelming. The tracks overseas cannot compare to anything in South Africa. Everything is at least three times greater ÔÇô the gap jumps, the steepness. ┬áThe riders have to adapt to these tougher conditions in a short space of time.ÔÇØ

Of special mention was the result during the team XCO relay race. Under-23 rider Mariske Strauss had a big crash before completing her lap, with fellow Under-23 Rourke Croeser breaking his chain 500m before the finish of his lap.

Luke Roberts (Junior) and Burry Stander (Elite) pushed hard for a clean run – the end result was Team RSA finishing 11th. ┬áÔÇ£With a clean run from all four riders, we could’ve moved our final position up at least five places!ÔÇØ said Strauss excitedly. ┬áÔÇ£The individual results were not what we had hoped for at these world championships, but each race experience is a building block for us of where we want to be.ÔÇØ

Final Results ÔÇô Men Elite ÔÇô DHI
1 Danny Hart (GBR) 3:41.989
2 Damien Spagnolo (FRA) 3:53.688 +11.699
3 Samuel Blenkinsop (NZL) 3:54.982 +12.993
4 Brendan Fairclough (GBR) 3:55.124 +13.135
5 Mickael Pascal (FRA) 3:56.631 +14.642
8 Greg Minnaar (RSA) 3:57.979 +15.990
21 Andrew Neethling (RSA) 4:10.126 +28.137
32 Timothy Bentley (RSA) 4:18.935 +36.946
54 Johann Potgieter (RSA) 4:36.370 +54.381

Final Results ÔÇô Men Juniors ÔÇô DHI
1 Troy Brosnan (AUS) 3:51.503
2 David Trummer (AUT) 4:03.691 +12.188
3 Guillaume Cauvin (FRA) 4:10.797 +19.294
4 Lewis Buchanan (GBR) 4:12.299 +20.796
5 Loic Bruni (FRA) 4:13.738 +22.235
25 Tiaan Odendaal (RSA) 4:46.035 +54.532
39 Adi Van Der Merwe (RSA) 5:12.313 +1:20.810
48 Alasdair Fey (RSA) 5:51.059 +1:59.556

Final Results ÔÇô Men Elite ÔÇô XCO
1 Start Loop + 7 Laps – Distance: 36.6 km – Average Speed: 21.01 km/h
1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE) 01:44:30
2 Nino Schurter (SUI) +00:47
3 Julien Absalon (FRA) +01:26
4 Jos├® Antonio Hermida Ramos (ESP) +02:09
5 Lukas Fl├╝ckiger (SUI) +04:29
86 Philip Buys (RSA) -4LAP
Burry Stander (RSA) DNF

Final Results ÔÇô Men Under 23 ÔÇô XCO
1 Start Loop + 6 Laps – Distance: 31.8 km – Average Speed: 20.63 km/h
1 Thomas Litscher (SUI) 01:32:30
2 Marek Konwa (POL) +01:42
3 Henk Jaap Moorlag (NED) +02:13
4 Matthias Stirnemann (SUI) +03:33
5 Reto Indergand (SUI) +04:17
31 Rourke Croeser (RSA) +11:09
32 James Reid (RSA) +11:10
61 Dominic Calitz (RSA) -2LAP

Final Results ÔÇô Women Under 23 ÔÇô XCO
1 Start Loop + 5 Laps – Distance: 27.0 km – Average Speed: 17.52 km/h
1 Julie Bresset (FRA) 01:32:29
2 Annie Last (GBR) +01:30
3 Pauline Ferrand Prevot (FRA) +05:47
4 Helen Grobert (GER) +06:53
5 Anne Terpstra (NED) +07:20
18 Mariske Strauss (RSA) -1LAP
29 Candice Neethling (RSA) -2LAP

Final Results ÔÇô Men Juniors ÔÇô XCO
1 Start Loop + 4 Laps – Distance: 22.2 km – Average Speed: 19.79 km/h
1 Victor Koretzky (FRA) 01:07:18
2 Anton Cooper (NZL) +01:18
3 Andrey Fonseca (CRC) +01:19
4 Grant Ferguson (GBR) +01:48
5 Dominic Zumstein (SUI) +02:18
23 Brendon Davids (RSA) +06:32
33 Gert Heyns (RSA) +08:22
Luke Roberts (RSA) DNF

Final Results ÔÇô Women Juniors ÔÇô XCO
1 Start Loop + 3 Laps – Distance: 17.4 km – Average Speed: 18.16 km/h
1 Linda Indergand (SUI) 00:57:30
2 Lena Putz (GER) +02:19
3 Julia Innerhofer (ITA) +02:44
4 Jolanda Neff (SUI) +03:17
5 Johanna Techt (GER) +03:49
32 Ashleigh Parker-Moffatt (RSA) +14:03


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