The world’s most successful downhiller of all time, Greg Minnaar, explains that he is having the most “amazing time” on his bike, and the sheer joy of feeling the perfect fit with his bike is delivering top results that are speaking volumes for the three-times World Champion!
In Windham, USA, at the weekend, Minnaar raked up yet another World Cup career podium with a second place, making it two weekends back-to-back in the Americas where he added to his podium tally after a fourth place in Mont Sainte Anne, Canada, the weekend before.
In both instances however, Minnaar felt far from ready. Concussion and an injured hand from a crash in the morning of the Mont Sainte Anne race had dented his confidence then, and the injury carried through to the Windham race where he did not feel comfortable at all.
Minnaar said that practice in Windham was tough and the rough and dusty track meant that there was no respite.
“My hand was not ideal and I was battling to hold the bar,” said Minnaar. “I wanted to get my line sorted by just taking it easy and save my hand a little bit for the final, which wasn't the case. I just had to ride hard the whole week. You had to push it really hard in every run to sit on top of the bumps.”
Going into the race, Minnaar wasn’t feeling comfortable, especially since it was a track where he hasn't done well on before. “I was very chuffed with that result, it was a great result for me on that [Windham] track.
“The only thing that gave me confidence is that I’m having an amazing time on my bike. My bike is fitting me well this year, I mean, everything feels right. The morning of the race I had another crash because I had switched my tyres from mud tyres to dry tyres. This meant that I washed out at the top of the track. In the final, I took it a little easier on top, which is where I lost time on Gwin. It is such a short track that you have to ride 110% the whole way down. I just wasn’t feeling comfortable enough to push it to the limits like Gwinnie did. But what an incredible ride he put together.”
Minnaar heads off to Europe where he will take a short break to rest and recover before the all-important final round of the World Cup Series in Italy, where he will make a full attempt of claiming the World Cup Championship title. He will then go through a week of training ahead of the World Championships in Andorra.
“I’m not sure where I am in points but I think I might have a shot at Gwinnie [for the overall World Cup Championship]. If not, I’m going to give it my best shot anyway; you never know what will happen in downhill racing. I’m really chuffed with how the season has gone. For me being in second place in the series when I basically should’ve missed the first round because of injury… It’s been an incredible year. I’m looking forward to Italy and Andorra now.”
Photo credit: UCI MTB World Cup https://www.facebook.com/UCIMTBworldcup/photos