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MTBCanadaJune 26, 2004
UCI World Cup Downhill Round 4
Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada

Mixed Results for Team G Cross Honda at World Cup #4, after World Champion Crashes in the Finals

Greg Minnaar's winning streak came to an end this week when he crashed twice in the first half of the final race, breaking his front brake lever, leaving him without front brakes for the remainder of the race. Teammate Cyrille Kurtz finished 20th in the final for his first top 20 World Cup result since joining the new G Cross Honda team.

Greg Minnaar

Greg Minnaar

Training for both riders this week was difficult as the course had many sections that were demanding on all riders. The exposed roots, rocks and slippery mud in the forest sections meant that few riders were having trouble free runs. Both Greg and Cyrille ended training on Thursday with concerns about how the course would evolve over the coming two days. Then late Thursday night, heavy rainstorms hit Mont-Sainte-Anne and dumped a large volume of water onto the course. This caused the race officials to delay Friday's training by 2 hours and allow the course to dry a little. By the end of training Friday, it was clear that Greg was in the top 3 fastest on course and Cyrille was also riding very well.

Training before the semi finals was only for 1hr 15 minutes so it was difficult to get more than 2 training runs in. Cyrille had two runs and was very happy, so he decided to do no more. Greg had bad luck in his first training run when on two occasions he was traveling at high speed and arrived at riders stopped on course and had no choice but to crash into them. No officials waved yellow flags and there was no warning for Greg before arriving at the stalled riders. This meant the mechanics had to work hard to get his bike fully checked for safety, and replace a broken fender, so that he could get in a second run. After his second run, Greg was ready to race and comfortable with his final race lines.

In the semi finals Steve Peat (GBR) came down first and scored a strong time of 2m 54.53secs, and soon after Sam Hill (AUS) scored the second fastest time. Greg started off 9th, and scored the 3rd fastest time. Cyrille rode very well and recorded the 13th fastest time. With both riders qualified in the top 20, and both confident they could find more time in the finals, things were looking good for the team. However, it wasn't to be.

In the final, Cyrille was the first of the Team G Cross Honda riders to come down, and crossed the line in 10th place, however, with a number of riders still to come, his final position was 20th. Cyrille had no crashes but he felt he rode just a little too conservatively. For Greg it was a drama packed run. In the first half of the course he had a small fall and came off the bike. He quickly regained the seat and kept riding but was out of rhythm and at the very next corner was thrown over the handlebars as the bike cart-wheeled off the course. By the time Greg got back on the bike, he found that the front brake lever had been broken in the crash. In downhill racing having no front brake makes controlling the bike at speed almost impossible, and together with slippery and muddy gloves, he had a hard time keeping it under control to the finish, but he still managed 29th place, for 22 World Cup points.

Cyrille Kurtz

Cyrille Kurtz

Greg Minnaar (29th-place finisher)
“I'm really disappointed to have crashed today. That's the first time I've crashed in a final for a long time. I thought I had a real chance at winning today and was going super fast in the top half of the course, like I did in Fort William, but a small crash meant I lost my rhythm, then that resulted in me having a very a big off, so that was it for me. Time to think about next week!”

Cyrille Kurtz (20th-place finisher)
“I'm happy to get my first World Cup top 20 since I joined Team G Cross Honda. It's also great racing the best juniors in the World here and I'm happy with my race speed. I'm just learning how to cope with the pressure in the finals, and maybe this week I was a little conservative, but I know I can go faster, so that's a good feeling.”

Team Director Martin Whiteley
“When I saw that Greg was down at the intermediate split by 14.65secs, I was certain he'd crashed going fast in the top half. I was worried about his shoulder because it's been giving him some trouble this week, but fortunately it seems fine. I'm naturally disappointed for Greg, he deserved better today, but that's racing. For Cyrille this is a strong boost for his confidence. His semi final run was great, but maybe he was a little too cautious in the final. This is understandable after he crashed in the Fort William final and Mount Snow NORBA final, so here he wanted to get a solid result in the final.”

The team now leaves for Calgary, Alberta, Canada for Round 5 of the UCIWorld Cup. There are six races in total for the UCI World Cup and all count for the overall points.

UCI World Cup Downhill Round 4
Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada


Final Results
1 Steve Peat (Team Orange)
2 Sam Hill (Team Ironhorse/Madcatz)
3 Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
4 Mickael Pascal (Maxxis-MSC)
5 Gee Atherton (Team Muddy Fox)
6 Cédric Gracia (Siemens Cannondale)
20 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
29 Cyrille Kurtz (Team G Cross Honda)

Related Links

· MTB - Mountain Bike Downhill Race
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