PMB welcomes world’s best cross country and downhill cyclists

2014-04-11 00:00

THE first leg of the UCI MTB World Cup starts in Pietermaritzburg today, and cycling fans in the city should be kept entertained through the three days of competition culminating on Sunday with the men’s cross country.

The opening leg, one of only three that will be held out of Europe, brings to Pietermaritzburg the world’s best cross country and downhill cyclists including world champions Nino Schurter and local boy Greg Minnaar who will be riding for the Santa Cruz Syndicate team.

Minnaar, who regained his world title in dramatic fashion at last year’s World Championships in his home town, might find it tougher this time to keep up with Briton Gee Atherton and Canadian Steve Smith having just returned from a six-month lay-off following surgery to his knee.

Cascades MTB Park will be the place to be come 2 pm as Minnaar and Andrew Neethling attempt to qualify for Saturday’s final. Neethling, ranked 12th in the world, will be riding in the colours of the Giant Factory Off-Road Team.

Pietermaritzburg’s Gregg Brown will be in action amongst the junior downhillers. Speaking to The Witness earlier in the week, the 18-year-old said he was looking forward to competing and giving an improved performance after the disappointment of last year when his bike’s chain broke in the middle of his ride downhill.

World champion Rachel Atherton is the leading competitor in the women’s downhill.

PROGRAMME

Today:

12.30 pm: World Cup Downhill – Qualifying Round – Men juniors

1.30 pm: World Cup Downhill – Qualifying Round – Women

2 pm: World Cup Downhill – Qualifying Round – Men Elite

Tomorrow:

12.30 pm: World Cup Downhill – Final – Men juniors

1.15 pm: World Cup Downhill – Final – Women

2 pm: World Cup Downhill – Final – Men elite

Sunday

9 am: World Cup Olympic Cross Country – Women U23, followed by awards

11 am: World Cup Olympic Cross Country – Men U23, followed by awards

1 pm: World Cup Olympic Cross Country – Women Elite followed by awards

3.30 pm: World Cup Olympic Cross Country – Men Elite, followed by awards.

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