MTB > UCI 2005 Round 07: Italy > Race Results
MTBItalyAugust 21, 2005
UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup 2005 Round 07: Italy

Greg Minnaar 2nd in Italian World Cup

With the World Cup title already wrapped up, round 7 of the men's UCI Mountain Bike World Cup held today in Pila, Italy, served more as a litmus test for the upcoming World Championships in 2 weeks where the top contenders got to see how each other had prepared in the past 5 weeks away from World Cup racing. Adding to this however, was the mixed weather conditions, which saw a damp course for the semi finals, with no rain, but a rainy final for the majority of the men's field.

Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)

Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)

For the Team G-Cross riders, their goals today were a little different with Greg wishing to have a solid result ahead of the World Championships, and Matti chasing more points for his overall result in the World Cup Series.

Training for both riders went well and without incident. In timed training Greg recorded the 7th fastest time after making some errors in his timed run. Matti scored a solid 11th at 4 min 24.97s and was feeling good on the course despite spending the last 5 weeks off the downhill bike resting his shoulder. Matti's shoulder injury from round 3 will ultimately require surgery after the World Cup finals next month, to re-attach a ligament in his shoulder. So after his 11th in timed training, Matti was looking forward to race day.

The course was a very difficult mixture of open sections, forests, rocky parts, and slick fast sections, making tyre choice very difficult. The course was designed by 1997 World Cup Champion Corrado Herin who did well to challenge the elite field. However, the biggest challenge was to be the weather. After overnight rain, and snow at the top of the mountain, riders were faced with racing the semi finals with the course 10 seconds slower due to the slippery conditions. In the semi final the two top riders forced out of the World Cup due to injury, Sam Hill (AUS) and Steve Peat (GBR), showed they were back in form by finishing 1st and 2nd respectively, with Greg close behind in 3rd. Matti had a good run but was disappointed to see it was only good enough for 19th place.

In the final the rain came after the first few riders had started. One of those riders to benefit from better conditions was 2005 European Junior Champion, 17 year old Brendan Fairclough of Great Britain. Brendan sat in the lead for more than an hour and half and by his own admission felt very lucky to have gone early after qualifying poorly due to a crash in the semi finals. Nevertheless, his time was super quick and would have placed him 2nd in the semi finals earlier in the day. Matti came down the course and despite having a good split time, he hit a tree and lost about 5 seconds pushing him out of the top ten. Greg however was the first rider in the rain to get a faster time at the interval than Brendan, having a 1.3 second lead, which was enough to get him into first place with just Steve Peat and Sam Hill to come. Steve had a great split time, 3 seconds up on Greg, but lost control in the lower section of the course, crashing into a tree and losing valuable time to ultimately finish 9th. Finally, SamHill who had been riding very fast all week, rode like he did in Austria at round 3, and scored a big margin win, 6 seconds ahead Greg, serving notice that he will be the man to watch for the World Championships.

Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)

Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)

#9 Greg Minnaar (2nd Place)
"I'm pretty happy with today's result. I mean Sam rode an awesome race, the course really suited his style with plenty of off camber open corners, and I know he was keen to come back strong after injury. For me this race was important to see where I am with my preparation for the World Championships and I'm very happy with how things went. I know what I need to do in two weeks and will be ready to give it everything."

#11 Matti Lehikoinen (20th Place)
"The run I was having in the final was actually the best run I had on this course all week, so I'm frustrated to have hit the tree. I know I was on for another top 10 result so I was unlucky not to achieve that. My shoulder wasn't really bad this week, and I was feeling great on the bike even though I haven't ridden for a few weeks, but I was having a hard time feeling the speed. I felt faster than the time shows, so I will be looking to work on that next week."

Team Director Martin Whiteley
"I little bit mixed this week in very difficult weather conditions. It was, dry, wet, there was snow, a bit of everything. Overall though Greg has had 3 wins, 3 second places and a 4th, out of 7 World Cups, so that's very impressive. Matti has more speed than the result shows today so I am confident both riders will be at their maximum in 2 weeks for the World Championships."

World Supersport Championships 2005
Round 07 Valencia, – Italy


1 Sam Hill (Iron Horse Mad Catz)
2 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
3 Brendan Fairclough (Royal Racing)
4 David Vazquez (Maxxis-MSC)
5 Fabien Barel (Kona Les Gets)
6 Marc Beaumont (MBUK Santa Cruz)
7 Justin Leov (Fox Racing Shox)
8 Alan Beggin (Mapei)
9 Steve Peat (Team Orange)
10 Markolf Berchtold (Maxxis-MSC)
20 Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)

Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)

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