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UCI MTB WCup Maribor DH #1 Report, Results, Overall – Atherton and Minnaar Win, Smith 6th, Buchar 7th

by Fraser Britton

May 16, 2010 (Maribor, Slovenia) – The conditions that greeted racers this morning for the first Downhill World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia, were abysmal, to say the least. The rain had held off for the most part, but the cold front rolled in and the track turned to an absolute quagmire with axle deep ruts most of the way down. It was a “surprise party, every section” as American racer Kyle Strait (Pivot Cycles) put it.

At the end of the day it was Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate bringing home the win, surprising everyone including himself. “I didn’t expect it at all. I was hoping to leave here with some degree of points. After qualifying I knew I could step it up. It still hasn’t sunk in. It’s surreal. I didn’t expect to leave Maribor and go into Fort William with the leader’s jersey. It’s all new to me.”

Minnaar continued, “The bottom of the course was a new track, it was so different. The rust were deep, you couldn’t ride any lines you rode all week. I came into a corner that shot me outside and i had to go around when I had been riding the inside line all week. It was like riding down a fresh course in Slovenia!”

The South African was followed by Gee Atherton (GBR – Commencal Animal). In third place was Brendan Fairclough (GBR – Monster Energy / Specialized), matching his best best finish ever at the World Cup. Fairclough had a fairly interesting run, which included a couple of off course excursions, as well as throwing up in his helmet. top qualifier Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz came in 5th after making a small mistake with a tear off that cost him a trip into the bushes on his head.

Steve Smith of Canada (MS Evil) got the result of his young career, just barely off of the podium in 6th place, after qualifying 5th. “The track was pretty gnarly, I pinned the top really good and had some near deaths.”

The young Canadian has made gigantic strides in the past years as he has gained race experience at the top level, and nothing says more than his final comment. “I figured I had to tone it down to make the finish. I’d rather finish in the top 10 than blow up and end up outside in 50th. It was just generally really rough and slippery. The rust were so damn deep you were dragging your feet everywhere.”

For the women it was Rachel Atherton (GBR – Commencal Animal) making her World Cup return after spending a year injured. With a broken finger, and after a horrendous crash in qualifying, the Englishwoman managed to grit her teeth through the pain and smash out a 9-second win over Sabrina Jonnier of France (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) with a 4:03.32. Fellow French woman Floriane Pugin (Scott 11) was third.

“I was pretty embarrassed after my crash yesterday, I had to do something to redeem myself. I can’t believe it to be honest. I love this track so much and i think the rain helped me out by slowing it down so i could catch up to them! The crash looked pretty bad from my side in the air as well! I am a bit sore, but it’s nothing really, A bit of pain is good for ya, it keeps you alert,” said Atherton.

“I could barely get to the top of the track due to a procession of minis! The lift was closed, Sabrina was freaking out – it was pretty relaxed in the van,” she added.

Top Canadian was Claire Buchar in 7th. “The run was definitely messy, that’s the theme of the day – no perfect runs at all. You just had to keep going. I stayed on, barely. I just pedalled harder and tried to go balls out. I knocked 8 seconds off my qualifier so I was pleasantly surprised. Conditions were so much worse today than yesterday,” said the Canadian star. “The track is totally messed right now!”

Results

Elite Women

1. Rachel Atherton (Gbr) Commencal 04:03.4
2. Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain 9.7
3. Floriane Pugin (Fra) Scott 11 12.9
4. Myriam Nicole (Fra) Commencal Superiders 15.5
5. Petra Bernhard (Aut) RC Alpine Commencal Austria 19.0
6. Mio Suemasa (Jpn) FFC 19.4
7. Claire Buchar (Can) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 20.6
8. Tracy Moseley (Gbr) Trek World Racing 20.7
9. Emilie Siegenthaler (Sui) Scott 11 21.8
10. Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Suspension Center 23.6
11. Céline Gros (Fra) Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie 28.4
12. Fionn Griffiths (Gbr) Norco World Team 35.1
13. Katy Curd (Gbr) 35.4
14. Manon Carpenter (Gbr) 38.4
15. Harriet Rucknagel (Ger) 39.3
16. Jessica Stone (Gbr) 46.7
17. Fanny Lombard (Fra) 57.3
18. Miriam Ruchti (Swi) DR-Gravity Union 1:01.8
19. Birgit Braumann (Aut) 1:02.3
20. Morgane Charre (Fra) 1:49.5

Elite Men (brief)

1. Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate 3:23.42
2. Gee Atherton (Gbr) Commencal 0.25
3. Brendan Fairclough (Gbr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 1.82
4. Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 2.42
5. Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Scott 11 4.68
6. Steve Smith (Can) MS Evil Racing 5.11

Overall after Round #1

Elite Women

1. Rachel Atherton (Gbr) Commencal 200 pts
2. Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain 185
3. Floriane Pugin (Fra) Scott 11 180
4. Myriam Nicole (Fra) Commencal Superiders 175
5. Petra Bernhard (Aut) RC Alpine Commencal Austria 130
6. Mio Suemasa (Jpn) FFC 111
7. Claire Buchar (Can) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 92
8. Tracy Moseley (Gbr) Trek World Racing 84
9. Céline Gros (Fra) Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie 80
10. Emilie Siegenthaler (Sui) Scott 11 65
11. Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Suspension Center 55
12. Fionn Griffiths (Gbr) Norco World Team 45
13. Katy Curd (Gbr) 40
14. Manon Carpenter (Gbr) 35
15. Jessica Stone (Gbr) Trek Gravity Girls 35
16. Harriet Rucknagel (Ger) 30
17. Fanny Lombard (Fra) 20
18. Miriam Ruchti (Swi) DR-Gravity Union 15
19. Birgit Braumann (Aut) 10
20. Morgane Charre (Fra) 5

Elite Men (brief)

1. Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate 230 pts
2. Gee Atherton (Gbr) Commencal 185
3. Brendan Fairclough (Gbr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 180
4. Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 160
5. Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Scott 11 136
6. Steve Smith (Can) MS Evil Racing 116





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