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UCI MTB World Championships Elite Men/Women’s Downhill Report and PHOTOS

by Fraser Britton
September 02, 2013 (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa) – South African Greg Minnaar concluded a storybook weekend here in South Africa, winning the 2013 UCI MTB World Championships Downhill title on Sunday, the final event of the week-long competitions. On a track that is located in Pietermaritzburg, only a few kilometres from his home, the likeable Minnaar delivered his 3rd rainbow jersey (2003, 2012, 2013) to the wild cheers of the partisan crowd.

Joining Minnaar was Elite women’s winner, Rachel Atherton (Great Britain) who demolished the field by an 8+second margin to reclaim the fabled jersey last won in 2008.

Minnaar was speechless following his win after being carried out of the finish corral by his supporters. “The third one hasn’t sunk in yet. We lost a friend earlier this year and this race was definitely for him. All the people that backed me up, it’s been incredible.

“My own family, my racing family, The Syndicate, and everyone else. I really damaged my hip in Fort William and to get that ready for this week was important. Big thanks to all of those guys. It’s an emotional one, but I’m sure it will eventually sink in,” said an elated Minnaar.

Atherton was untouchable in SA, with an 8.6-second gap over second place finisher Emmeline Ragot of France. Tracey Hannah made a return to racing following injuries and took home the bronze for Australia.  “Its amazing once you put that jersey on. I wasn’t bothered earlier, and now I’m so stoked. It’s just started to sink in,” commented Atherton.

Steve Smith of Canada set the fastest timed training run earlier in the week and hopes were high, but the young Canadian went down in the first corner in a cloud of dust after being blinded by the sun and the dust hanging in the air. He left the venue immediately and was unavailable for comment, but was visibly disappointed. He gave the fans a show however, as he hit every jump on the track throwing suicide no handers, one footers and big whips. Top Canadian was Sidney Slotegraff in 44th with Forrest Riesco in 45.

Canada’s Casey Brown brought home and 8th-place in the women’s DH final, while Micayla Gatto ended up a strong 10th with former Junior Worlds champ, Lauren Rosser, in 13th.

Men’s results here.
Women’s results here.

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