Minnaar ready for MTB battle

2013-08-20 00:00

THE upcoming Mountain Bike World Championships at Cascades MTB Park will be something really special for Pietermaritzburg.

This was the view of one of the city’s favourite sons, Greg Minnaar, who said it was important for Maritzburgers to showcase what they were all about.

“I know it’s going to be well supported. It’s something really special,” Minnaar told The Witness at Cascades MTB Park yesterday.

He said a lot of people felt the World Championships were at the same level as the World Cup that the city hosted last year, but that it is set to be bigger.

“These are the World Championships. It’s going to be bigger. This is the real deal,” said Minnaar.

Unlike other sports, Minnaar said it was tough for riders to be lifted by hometown support.

“It’s difficult. It’s like added pressure. On a three-and-a-half-minute track, that’s your only chance. It’s not like you can come back and do it faster,” he said.

He added it was good, however, to hear local crowds cheering on South African riders.

For the World Championships, which begin on Monday next week, Minnaar confirmed that he was ready, adding that he had been quite busy since he returned from competing in Canada.

His training ahead of the championships has been “really good”.

“I’m in my final week of prep, and I’m into race week.”

For the race itself, Minnaar saw Gee Atherton, Stevie Smith, Aaron Gwin and Mick Hannah as the most competitive riders.

“Atherton is the man of the moment. It’s going to be the five of us that are up there,” he said.

Minnaar also felt team South Africa were going to have a good year due to the support they had been given by Cycling South Africa.

“We’ve got a strong team. I’m really proud of these guys as a lot of them also come from Pietermaritzburg. It’s going to be an eye-opener for them, but they’re going to do well.”

Speaking about the course, he said he had a lot of respect for its designers. “They added some elements to the course, and the foreign riders will appreciate what they’ve done to it,” he said.

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