MTB > 2007 UCI Round 05: Slovenia > Race Results
MTBSloveniaSeptember 16, 2007
2007 UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup Round 05: Slovenia

Team G Cross Honda Wins World Cup Overall - Again


Team G Cross Honda have won the team ranking for the 2nd year in a row at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, after the remaining two team riders finished top 10 in the Maribor race in Slovenia. 23 year old Matti Lehikoinen (FIN), in his final race for the team before leading another team in 2008, put in a classy performance riding a controlled semi final and final to garner enough points to move from 3rd to 2nd overall. Younger team mate Brendan Fairclough (GBR) overcame a puncture in the semi final to put in another top ride and boost his ranking to career best 12th.



Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)


Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)


The track in Maribor is a classic from the late nineties, with the first half of the track in it's original form, including the notorious rock garden, and the second half of the track being a brand new super technical high speed forest section that demanded the very best from the world elite downhill racers. The track claimed quite a few riders, notably 2 time World Champion Fabien Barel (FRA) who was hospitalised after crashing hard, and suffering a deep concussion.

Injured team leader Greg Minnaar (RSA) was on hand to support his younger team mates, and after walking the course with his broken shoulder, praised the course for its technical content.

In the semi final Matti lost a bit of time at the start when the super low ceiling of the start house caught the visor on his helmet and stopped him in his tracks. Readjusting his helmet and goggles, Matti went on to score 6th place. Brendan was 8th place through the intermediate split but then punctured in the rock garden. The UCI rule allows a top 20 rider to start the final if a mechanical issue is experienced in the semi final, so Brendan was placed in the start list for the final.

The final saw a high rotation of riders in the hotseat, as times got faster and faster and kept the 23,000 fans on hand entertained throughout the afternoon. Brendan ripped up the course and came in 4 seconds faster than the previous leader and sat comfortably for next 15 minutes. When Steve Peat failed to arrive on schedule, and time ticked away, it was clear that the 64 points that Matti needed to pass Steve, were a certainty and the 2nd place overall was his to keep. With that information on board, as well as a broad Finnish grin, Matti took to the course and rode as fast as he needed to get down safely, and earned a credible 7th place, just ahead of Brendan. Sam Hill took another win and the World Cup overall, after a season that had him pretty much on top from the outset.



Brendan Fairclough (Team G Cross Honda)


Brendan Fairclough (Team G Cross Honda)


Matti Lehikoinen (7th Place)
"It would have been great to finish the season with another podium, but when the team radioed to the top of the mountain and told me that Peaty had a puncture, it seemed a bit risky to go for too much when I had 2nd place in the overall in my hand. So I hit all my lines and kept it smooth and I'm happy my time was faster than the semi and I got that chunk of crystal in my hand, finally! It's also kind of strange, today is my last day with the team, and for me, this is where it all began, Maribor 2001 when I met Martin. So I'm so happy to have had my greatest career success so far, here where it all began for me. Now it's time to celebrate!"

Brendan Fairclough (8th Place)
"That was a good run. The top half wasn't as fast as my semi final, but after puncturing during that earlier race, I thought it'd be better to be a touch on the conservative side in the first half, and give it 100% in the bottom half. To climb into the hotseat for the first time this season was a great feeling and I'm pretty happy to be standing with the best team in the world, it has been a great experience. The road bike comes out this winter, and these legs are getting faster!"

Team Director Martin Whiteley
"We had two objectives this weekend, and that was to maintain our lead in the team ranking and win the title, and also to help Matti move from 3rd overall to 2nd, so from that point of view, it was a very successful weekend. On reflection of course we would have loved to have had Greg Minnaar racing. He finished an impressive 6th overall with points from only 3 races, so he was unlucky not to be in the mix today. It has been a difficult season for Greg, but after his shoulder is operated on in the coming weeks, he'll be back and strong for 2008. Matti has had a stellar season, and has truly arrived as a world class racer. We really wish him well in his new race program. Brendan has shown promise all year but injury and bad luck have hampered his overall ranking, but this is his first time in the top 20 overall so we know there is a lot more to come next year. A big thanks to Honda Racing, and all of our great sponsors for helping us reach the number 1 spot, for the second year in a row. We are supported by an amazing group of companies."


2007 UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup Round 05: Slovenia

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Semi Final Results
1 Sam Hill Iron Horse/Monster Energy)
2 Florent Payet (Ssangyong-Fusion Pro Team)
3 Marc Beaumont (Team MBUK Santa Cruz)
4 Gee Atherton Animal Commencal)
5 Josh Bryceland (Great Britain)
6 Matti Lehikoinen Team G Cross Honda)
108 Brendan Fairclough (Team G Cross Honda)
 
Final Results
1 Sam Hill (Iron Horse/Monster Energy)
2 Matti Lehikoinen Team G Cross Honda)
3 Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
4 Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal)
5 Marc Beaumont (Team MBUK Santa Cruz)
6 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
12 Brendan Fairclough (Team G Cross Honda)



Team G-Cross Honda win team prize overall

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