Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Greg Minnaar (SRAM/RockShox),wins his second World Cup downhill this year as his teammates have a topsy-turvy day with Josh Bryceland having a stormer of a run (likely to be a top five run), but then slipped his pedals and flew off his bike right at the last big double jump. Steve had a brilliant 5th place run, only to be disqualified after he rode slightly over the tape. This makes Greg’s 15th World Cup win and ties Steve for career podium appearances at 52 each.
The week was filled with laughs as we reunited after a few weeks off and the small town of La Bresse welcomed the mountain bikers warmly and the race organization was fantastic. The mayor of the town was very involved in welcoming us and they had a big rider presentation in the center of town that was broadcast on French news channels. The group was buzzing off one another and practice went well all week. They had good qualifying runs with Steve 4th, Greg 5th and Josh 12th, which poised them well for the finals.
As the race unfolded Marc Beaumont was the first to put a low time down and unseat Ben Cathro who had been warming the hotseat for ages. Watching the big screen as Josh came next you could see he was riding amazing, and then the first and second splits showed him fastest. With just the last jump and finish line in sight Josh’s foot slipped off his pedals and as he rode up the face of the jump he bailed off huge. He jumped back up on his bike and got across the line, but was devastated by the happenings and no one could believe it. Luckily he wasn’t hurt.
Fabien Barel up next on a flyer and with nothing to lose he hung it all out on the track having a wild ride. He ends up on the podium in 4th and announced his upcoming retirement from racing. He and Marc had put down such fast times and now Greg was on course and his first split was 3 ½ seconds over Fabien!! He just needed to keep his focus and flawless riding going and he did so brilliantly to take the lead and hold it to the end. Steve came down right after Greg and while a few seconds back of Greg it was still going to be a podium run. After Steve finished it was seen that he had barely ridden over the tape placed low, and just went outside a pole, therefore he run was disqualified, much to everyone’s disappointment after watching Steve have such great form and solid, fast race run. Just a few more riders to go, and one Aaron Gwin to try to topple Mr. Minn, but to no avail, Greg remained best on the day to take the win and Aaron clinched enough points to take the UCI overall title with one race left to go.
Greg says, “I’m glad to have made my second appearance on the top step and there are many attributes to getting there: the Syndicate being one, all of our sponsors, and three weeks of good training in San Francisco. I’m right where I want to be and want to keep the momentum going into world championships. As far as my race went I had a good top half but I lost concentration on the second half of the track when I had quite a bit of mud spray into my goggles. I was contemplating ripping a tear off but I didn’t want to lose time. Congrats to Gwinny for winning the overall and I want to wish Fabien Barel all the best and also congratulate him on having such an amazing career.”
A disappointed Josh says, “The last time I raced in La Bresse I struggled so I was keen to get back and make amends. I enjoyed my time there, the fans were really cool and I got my V-10 working mint on the short track. After a steady run and getting 12th in qualy I was nervous but I thought I’d be able to do well. After a pretty good run in the final I slipped a pedal and crashed off the last jump after my split showed I was 5th. I was really devastated but I’m looking forward to the next couple races.”
Steve comments, “I was excited to revisit La Bresse and ride the track from 2 years ago. I worked hard with Ricky Bobby and got my Santa Cruz V-10 set up awesome on day one and didn't look back till race run. I am very disappointed with the UCI for disqualifying me for going out the tapes. I couldn't see the tapes as someone had gone out before me so they were too low and I didn't get an advantage from the mistake, the rules need to be changed!! My run was good enough for 5th but could have been quicker without the incident, it's good to know I was riding well but annoying I didn't receive my points for the position.”
Up next are the World Cup finals in Val Di Sole, Italy. Meanwhile we are on holiday in Italy resting up and preparing for the season’s final races, which will conclude with the World Championships in Champery, Switzerland.
MEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1st: GREG MINNAAR (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 2:09.61
2ND: Gee Atherton 2:10.07
3rd: Aaron Gwin 2:12.04
4th: Fabien Barel 2:13.08
5th: Cameron Cole 2:13.59
6th Marc Beaumont 2:13.75
7th: Steve Smith 2:14.00
8th: Damien Spagnolo 2:14.80
9th: Justin Leov 2:14.80
10th: Ben Cathro 2:15.22
54: JOSH BRYCELAND (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 2:20.92
DSQ: STEVE PEAT (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 2:13.16
Thanks to the Syndicate sponsors:
SANTA CRUZ BICYCLES
SRAM, ROCKSHOX, AVID, TRUVATIV
Gore® RideOn™ Cable Systems