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Minnaar Takes Worlds Bronze9th SEP 2010

Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Greg Minnaar (SRAM/RockShox) earned a bronze medal at the UCI World Downhill Championships held in Mont. Ste. Anne, Canada.  This was his tenth Elite Men’s World Championships and his bronze medal will join the gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze World Championship medals that he has won in his career.  Steve Peat had to relinquish his rainbow stripes, as he placed 7th in this rain-affected race.  In the words of Farmer Jack, “What can you do when your boots let water in?”

 Santa Cruz Syndicate - World Champs 2010

Steve says, “I’m not happy with the result at World Champs. I got robbed at my defense by the ever-changing weather.  I felt good on the track in practice and got my Carbon V-10 working spot on ready for the finals.  I felt fast in my run for the conditions, but I guess having to pull my Smith roll-offs so much cost me more time than I thought!!!  I was happy to have my speed back and now can only look forward to next season to get some better results.”

Santa Cruz Syndicate - World Champs 2010

The weather at the World Championships was the topic everyday as we arrived in hot, humid conditions to a bone-dry track.  Mont. Ste. Anne hadn’t seen rain in months and Hurricane Earl was said to be nearing later in the week.  There were course changes from years past and the dry conditions made the track rough and “Brutal”.  Greg and Steve had the fitness, strength and stamina for the conditions, and the easy practice schedule allowed them to recover from the physical beating they took in Windham the week before.  “Mont. Ste. Anne is a really demanding course on equipment and Dougie did a sterling job on the bike all week.  The course was a lot more open and straight than in years past, and because of the dry, dusty conditions the track really blew up fast,” said Greg.

Santa Cruz Syndicate - World Champs 2010

Thursday was timed practice which doesn’t seed the riders, but is a chance for them to have a clear track for a run in which they can see what type of pace they have.  Greg went for a fast run and ended up with the fastest time of 4:31.57.  Steve turned in a 4:40.97 for a 8th place run, but it is hard to draw too much comparison from the timed run as you don’t know how the other racers are pacing themselves with no points at stake.

Santa Cruz Syndicate - World Champs 2010

During the week there was time to enjoy the extracurricular activities that the Gestev crew arranged.  There was a Legends race that I participated in and had a fun time with.  There were definitely huge legends from the 90’s there, and I was impressed to be on the start line with the likes of Ned Overend, Paolo Pezzo, Albert Iten, Myles Rockwell and Brian Lopes.  Leigh Donovan and I raced for Team Tangerine, her clothing store in Temecula, and we had a blast sipping champagne on the starting line, while Greg and Steve tended to us prepping us for race start.  We admittedly cut the course and I got out of the way after lap one because there was some serious racing going on! Greg and Steve were also the doping Chaperones after the event, and we all had a laugh as Myles took the win.

Santa Cruz Syndicate - World Champs 2010

Friday evening was the annual Boxxer World Championships held in the SRAM tent.  Always a laugh, participants have to rebuild a fork while drinking heavily.  During the event the blustery wind came and rain began while Stikman shouted, “Hurricane Earl is here, RUN!!”

Santa Cruz Syndicate - World Champs 2010

After rain all night the track was much improved for Saturday’s practice.  The rain came and went, and the guy’s experimented with Maxxis tire variations from High Rollers to cut Wet Screams (and in the end they raced on cut spike Wet Screams).  

Santa Cruz Syndicate - World Champs 2010

After practice we watched the men’s XC race that started in the wet, and ended under sunny skies with Jose Hermida taking the gold medal, much to our delight, and a big congratulations to him!

Santa Cruz Syndicate - World Champs 2010

Going to bed with stars in the sky I was hopeful for good weather conditions, but it poured all night.  Race day it started to dry up and we were hopeful for it to stay that way.  In the women’s race it was exciting to see Leigh Donovan deliver a brilliant run which held up for a 8th place finish, and Tracy Moseley took her first World Championship title!

Santa Cruz Syndicate - World Champs 2010

As the men came down Danny Hart had a smoking run, then Steve Smith crushed his time with an amazing run, which held up for a silver medal.  Sam Hill came down and edged Smith out of gold medal position and as they sat on the hotseat the rain started to play games, on and off, then rained hard….  Greg set off and did the best he could with the conditions and joined them on the hotseat as the medal contenders with Gee and Steve left.  With the conditions deteriorating they raced down, but none were able to knock the three out of the medals, so that is how it stayed: Sam Hill with gold, Steve Smith silver and Greg with the bronze.

Santa Cruz Syndicate - World Champs 2010

Greg says, “My training and preparation for World Champs went really well.  I felt I was on target.  My friend Nico Vouilloz sent this text after the race: “Congratulations! Don’t be too bummed with 3rd place, you beat all the guys that rode in the wet.”  I had a pretty good race run considering the rainy conditions and poor visibility and my friend Nico sent me this text after the race: “Congratulations! Don’t be too bummed with 3rd place, you beat all the guys that rode in the wet.”  I was disappointed coming 3rd.  I really wanted the rainbow stripes and I believed it was in my reach.  The only thing that makes me happy now is the text I got from my friend, Nico: “Congratulations! Don’t be too bummed with 3rd place, you beat all the guys that rode in the wet.”

Santa Cruz Syndicate - World Champs 2010

Thanks to John Dawson and Jon Cancellier of SRAM/RockShox for all their hospitality and for the top notch attention to the bikes, and especially for the fork warmers at the top of the downhill!

Video #1 (Lampooning)

Video #2 (Proper)

ELITE MEN DOWNHILL RESULTS:

  • 1st:  Sam Hill  4:37.93
  • 2nd: Steve Smith  4:40.56
  • 3rd: GREG MINNAAR (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 4:40.93
  • 4th: Aaron Gwin 4:42.01
  • 5th: Gee Atherton 4:42.64
  • 6th: Marc Beaumont 4:45.52
  • 7th: STEVE PEAT (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 4:45.54
  • 8th: Danny Hart 4:45.80
  • 9th: Sam Blenkinsop 4:46.26
  • 10th: Damien Spagnolo 4:47.61

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