MINNAAR TAKES LEADER JERSEY BACK WITH A 3RD AT MARIBOR DOWNHILL

June 21, 2009

Maribor, Slovenia

Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Greg Minnaar (SRAM/RockShox) overcame an ankle injury to place 3rd at the fifth round of the Nissan UCI World Cup Downhill in Maribor, Slovenia and takes the leader’s jersey from teammate Steve Peat. This marks Greg’s 40th world cup downhill podium out of 70 world cup starts. Steve Peat was on a great race run and was .06 faster at the first split than race winner Fabien Barel. He then suffered a rear flat and finished in a distant 38th place. Josh Bryceland struggled to find his form and placed 25th.

The week started off with the Syndicate arriving to Maribor on Steve's 35th birthday, which we celebrated properly. We then got down to business as the race was challenging this week with changing weather conditions. As rain moved in on Saturday the boys were ready to race, but right before the start of the qualifier the race was postponed until Sunday. Race day schedule was packed tight with practice starting at 7:00 then right to qualifier which went well for Josh who placed 8th, and Steve was 3rd even with not feeling he had a great run. Greg nearly crashed in the rock garden but managed to pull off a big save, but rolled his ankle and was in a fair bit of pain and limped in for 9th. Greg knew he would still race the final regardless of the pain, using his strong mindset to his advantage.

Greg recounts his near get off, “The qualifier was a gong show. The track was really greasy and I was riding the 50/50 Crankbrothers flat pedals. I came through the rock section and my back wheel kicked off a rock and I started swapping down the course like a rodeo cowboy until the course stopped me into a pad. I lost a lot of time in there. I was disappointed being 9th as I was riding well in the wet. I tweaked my ankle. I had assistance from Martin the Masseur to strap it up good for the final.”

Greg was pleased with a 3rd place finish in the race and says, “The track had dried out so it was a different course in the dry and I went back to being clipped in rather than run flat pedals like I did in the qualifier. I decided to go for a solid run and I managed to do it. I didn’t have any fireworks in my run, and I only made a few mistakes. All and all I’m happy. “

On the other hand Steve was not happy at all. “I’m pissed off. I knew I was riding good and I felt like I could pull off a win on this track. My Santa Cruz V-10 was hooking up mint. It’s never felt so good as this weekend. To get a flat tire is just plain bad luck, but I hate flat tires. When something out of your hands like that happens it feels worse than making a mistake by yourself. The last time I had a mechanical was two years ago here and that was a flat tire, too. It sucks we have to determine a championship when mechanicals are involved. Thanks to the Syndicate and the fans, we were almost there.”

Josh was gutted with his run after having such a solid 8th place in the qualifier, yet those points earned helped him move up yet another position to now be 12th in the individual standings. He says, “The conditions changed a lot between the qualifier and race and I didn’t adapt to the changes as well as I hoped. I rode a bit cautious and made a few mistakes. I still managed to gain a spot in the overall thanks to a strong qualifier.”

So after a rough race day the Syndicate did have a few bright moments as Greg donned the leaders jersey and we managed to retain the overall team standing lead, just 25 points ahead of Trek World Racing, who were the team leaders on the day. The Syndicate has been in the leader jersey for every world cup race so far this season and the boys plan to battle on to keep it in the camp.

DOWNHILL FINAL RESULTS:

1st Fabien Barel 3:03.33

2nd Sam Hill 3:04.04

3rd GREG MINNAAR (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 3:05.36

4th Justin Leov 3:07.65

5th Brendan Fairclough 3:08.50

6th Fabien Pedemanaud 3:08.61

7th Steve Smith 3:08.74

8th Matti Lehikoinen 3:08.81

9th Mitch Delfs 3:09.46

10th Andrew Neethling 3:09.68

25th JOSH BRYCELAND (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 3:12.85

38TH STEVE PEAT (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 3:15.94

MEN’S INDIVIDUAL STANDINGS:

1st GREG MINNAAR (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 914

2nd STEVE PEAT (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 835

3rd Sam Hill 789

4th Gee Atherton 776

5th Mick Hannah 723

6th Justin Leov 551

7th Brendan Fairclough 482

8th Sam Blenkinsop 476

9th Steve Smith 411

10th Andrew Neethling 398

12th JOSH BRYCELAND (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE)

Thanks to the SYNDICATE Sponsors:

Santa Cruz Bicycles

SRAM

RockShox

Truvativ

Avid

DT Swiss

WTB

Crankbrothers

Lizard Skins

Clif Bar

Troy Lee Designs

Chris King

Five Ten

Galbraith Chiropractic

Martin the Masseur

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