Local hero Minnaar races to title in Austria

2012-09-03 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S Greg Minnaar has done it again: the local hero yesterday lifted the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championship trophy in Leogang, Austria.

The 30-year-old will now defend his title in his home town next year.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Minnaar’s father, Jeff, said it was “wonderful” that his son had won his second world championship.

“He’s made us very proud. I spoke to him earlier [yesterday] and he was elated that he could achieve this result,” said Jeff.

“There is great competition, especially among the younger riders.”

He said now that Greg, who also claimed first place in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup earlier this year, was the oldest in the mountain bike scene, he had learnt to ride conservatively.

“The younger riders have nothing to lose and will throw everything at it.

“A successful athlete weighs up his chances and gives his best shot. He knows his capabilities,” he said.

Greg will only be back in Pietermaritzburg in the middle of October as he was to compete further in Austria.

“He will start training in December for the next season and will spend that time in Pietermaritzburg,” Jeff said.

It is Greg’s second UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championship title, after first winning it in Lugano, Switzerland in 2003.

“It’s been nine years and, man, this run was tough,” the champion said to an interviewer after the race, according www.southafrica.info.

“I had a lot of pressure today. I sat in my hotel room and I was super nervous. I got to the track and I calmed down, which is normally the reverse,” he added.

Describing his run, he said he slid off a bridge and lost a lot of speed. “I just knew I had to pedal hard, same as in Maritzburg, and I managed to come back.

“I couldn’t believe I crossed the line in first,” he said.

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