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MTBItalySeptember 18, 2004
UCI World Cup Downhill Round 6
Livigno, Italy

Greg Minnaar Finishes World Cup Season with Another Podium

The finals of the 2004 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup have been held today in the picturesque Italian mountain village of Livigno, which will in 2005 play host to the UCI World Championships. For this reason alone, Livigno was a very important race as it gave the Team G Cross Honda riders their first look at the course that will decide the World Title in less than 12 months from now. Team G Cross Honda did not focus on the UCI World Cup in season 2004 so the overall rankings were not of great consequence at this event, but solid performances were the goal.




Greg Minnaar


Greg Minnaar

Training during the week was rain free, and despite very cold conditions in the morning, the course was in good shape throughout the week. Livigno is a long classic course at over 4 minutes in length, and was easily one of the toughest to remember during training. Both riders, Greg Minnaar (RSA) and Cyrille Kurtz (FRA), had some problems in their training sessions. Early in the first session Greg landed flat after a large jump and sprained his ankle and needed to wear an ankle brace for the rest of the week. Late yesterday Cyrille had a very large crash at high speed on one of the biggest jumps, but fortunately broke no bones, but was in muscular pain and had restricted movement with his left leg. Cyrille was not able to record a timed training run, but Greg managed to be in the top 5 in training, with a conservative 4m 28.11secs.

The morning before the semi final and final saw temperatures around freezing point, but with clear blue skies. The course was slippery in the morning training session and it was clear that the course would dry out a fair amount for the semi final and even more so for the final by mid afternoon. In the semi-final more than 180 riders lined up to try and qualify for the final. Only 80 riders go through to the final so for Cyrille, who was still in some pain, it was important not to be too conservative, but at the same time, try and stay fresh for the finals. In the end, Cyrille qualified in 49th place, securing a start in the final but clearly he was still in some discomfort. Greg rode an excellent semi final and qualified 2nd despite not riding at full speed, keeping his Honda RN01 on a steady pace throughout.

In the final Cyrille came down the hill nearly one hour before Greg but had a mechanical problem with the bike, which prevented him from racing at full speed. The mechanics are still assessing the actual problem, but needless to say Cyrille was very disappointed after having no strong results for last two weekends. For Greg, a couple of mistakes lost him valuable time in the top half of the course but in the second half of the course he was 2nd fastest for the day. This was enough to score a time of 4m 14.57secs, about 2 seconds off the time of the winner, World Champion Fabien Barel (FRA).



Cyrille Kurtz


Cyrille Kurtz

Greg Minnaar (4th Place)
"I’m happy to be on a World Cup podium again today. I made a few mistakes in the top half of the course that cost me some time. There were two jumps that I over jumped, and another berm I just blew over. The course was a lot drier than the semi final and I was not concentrating as well as I normally do. One of the top riders missed his start and I was so amazed by that fact that it affected my concentration in the top half. However in the second half I was really pleased and I nailed the woods perfectly. So in a way my result does reflect my mixed run, but it’s fair to say I really like this course and I look forward to the Worlds here next year, and of course to the World Cup season next year. Thanks to all the crew at Honda this year for making such a great bike for me and Cyrille to ride, and to my other major sponsors Oakley, Maxxis, Alpinestars, SixSixOne, Trixter and all the race team staff, thanks for a great season!"

Cyrille Kurtz (48th Place)
"This was not a good race for me. I was really looking for new limits during training as I really wanted to do well in my last big race of the season, but I just went too fast and crashed hard in training. I never really got my rhythm back after that. I’m disappointed because I know I’m riding better than the results show, but at the end of the day I have to accept them. Thanks to Honda, my sponsors, and my mechanic for such great work this year."

Team Director Martin Whiteley
"Not a great weekend but it’s always good to be on the podium so we’re happy to see Greg up there again. There were some rider errors this week that prevented us from reaching our potential but we have learned a lot from the Livigno course this weekend, and it should help us for next year."

Team G-Cross Honda is very happy with season 2004 with some important targets achieved, and with others left for 2005. The team now goes into testing next month for season 2005.
UCI World Cup Downhill Round 6
Livigno, Italy


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Final Results Elite Men
 
1 Fabien Barel (Team Kona/Les Gets)
2 Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
3 Sam Hill (Ironhorse Madcatz)
4 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
5 David Vazquez (Team Maxxis MSC)
6 Dan Atherton (Muddy Fox)
7 Matti Lehikoinen (23 Degrees/Orange)
8 Steve Peat (Team Orange)
9 Mick Hannah (Team Haro-adidas)
10 Adam Vagner (Rock Machine)
48 Cyrille Kurtz (Team G Cross Honda)

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