Featured Stories

Brown 6th and Smith 9th @ UCI DH World Cup #4 Lenzerheide as Minnaar Claims Historic 18th Win – Report and Photos

by Fraser Britton
Greg Minnaar  ©  Fraser Britton
July 05, 2015 (Lenzerheide, SUI) – The new venue at Lenzerheide, Switzerland, DHI #4 of the UCI MTB World Cup, featured a historic race as Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz took his 18th career victory setting a new record for the most World Cup wins, held previously by the UK’s Steve Peat. Canada’s Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing), on the comeback trail, had a strong showing in 9th.

Steve Smith  ©  Fraser Britton

In the Elite Women’s race Rachel Atherton (Gbr) GT Factory took home yet another win, her third in a row, as Canada’s Casey Brown (Bergamont Hayes) in sixth came up just shy of the final podium.

Rachel Atherton  ©  Fraser Britton

Lenzerheide has been the wildest world cup downhill of the year so far and the track here in Switzerland is brand new. Riders were not sure what to expect and early test runs had it pegged as a “bike park” style track full of jumps and berms.

Casey Brown  ©  Michal Cerveny

Yet some very creative course taping was already changing many riders’ minds. Plenty of wide sections left lots of line choices, and a few fairly fresh wooded sections kept thing interesting, as riders had to adapt to course changes. Giant bumps emerged by race day, and the short, but incredibly steep mountain side, meant times would be extremely tight with any errors costing time on the clock. Loose shale and dust meant the track was slippery in places which caught some riders out.

Minnaar  ©  Michal Cerveny

“It’s amazing to win and set a new record – I can’t put it into words. I suffered in practice and this morning struggled even more,” said Minnar who wasn’t sure he could hold it together during his run. “I thought I’d found my rhythm yesterday, but I was nervous going into this final so I just decided to ease up a little bit and carry as much speed as I could. In these conditions it really paid off. The new track roughened up a lot. It started off as a BMX track, and turned into a DH track. It got christened well.”

Men's Podium  ©  Michal Cerveny
Minnaar was joined in the podium by Loic Bruni (Fra) Lapierre Gravity Republic in second after the young Frenchman almost lost it with one corner to go, slipping out spectacular but somehow riding through it. In 3rd place was Dean Lucas (Devinci Global Racing), a young Aussie making his first appearance on the World Cup podium. “I came down and was excited, I thought I may have a top 10. I was stoked I’d have my first top 10 – then as riders came down I realize I could have a podium. I’m speechless,” said Lucas

Steve Smith  ©  Michal Cerveny
For the Canadians Smith led the charge as the Chainsaw Massacre rode to a solid 9th place, after being out for almost the entire last six months. With a few disappointing recent results at the last couple of World Cups, Smith is happy to get things back on track. “This week was a lot better than last week, I didn’t land on my head,” he joked.

“It sucks coming into a race with ‘I don’t want to crash’ going through my head. That’s what happens when you have a bad year and bad results. To get down the hill today with a clean one and into the top 10 is a big step forward. It’ll help huge going to Mont-Ste-Anne with a different head space. When I first arrived the track looked quite bike park, but it really changed and rode well with lots of bumps. It was sick.”

Fellow Canucks Mark Wallace (Devinci Global Racing) and Jack Iles (Norco Factory Racing) were 23rd and 69th respectively.

Mark Wallace  ©  Michal Cerveny

Atherton was excited with yet another win, her 23rd, and now leads the overall by 165 points with three races to go. Manon Carpenter (Gbr) Madison Saracen Factory Team, the defending World Cup champ, claimed 2nd with Tracey Hannah (Aus) Polygon UR third on the podium.

Casey Brown  ©  Fraser Britton

Morgane Charre (Fra) Solid-Reverse Factory Racing landed 4th on the final podium followed by Emmeline Ragot (Fra) MS Mondraker Team, who suffered an off-course flub, but still ended up 5th. Canada’s Brown in 6th is knocking on the podium door.

Elite W podium  ©  Michal Cerveny

Laurie Greenland (Trek World Racing) of the UK took the win for the Junior Men with Andrew Crimmins (Aus) Kona Factory Team in second to take over the series’ lead. Alex Marin Trillo (Esp) Giant Factory Off-Road Team was third while Canada’s Henry Fitzgerald (Steve Peat Syndicate Global) finished 27th and fellow Canuck, Magnus Manson (Norco Factory Racing) DNF’d after a big crash.

Aaron Gwin continues to lead the Elite Men overall  ©  Michal Cerveny

The World Cup caravan now takes a few weeks off while some head home to compete in their National Championships over the next two weeks (if they live in the Northern Hemisphere). The UCI MTB World Cup resumes at legendary Mont-Ste-Anne in Canada, celebrating its 25th anniversary, in three weeks time.

Full results here.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.