Winner Minnaar thanks his fans

2009-04-12 00:00

Pietermaritzburg’s Greg Minnaar, reigning World Cup Series champion, won the men’s downhill event at the first round of the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Cascades yesterday.

Thousands of fans packed the forest-lined edge of the 2,8-km course to cheer Minnaar on as he attempted to secure victory.

“Man, I got great support today! All the guys up on the top of the course, and all the way down, they gave me the support I wanted. It was good to have so many home fans here, and they weren’t going to accept a second place,” said an elated Minnaar, who especially thanked his 87-year-old grandmother for coming out to support him.

The five-day event attracted competitors and fans from around South Africa and across the world — it was even rumoured that Hollywood action man Vin Diesel was in town.

Fan Ryan Tyrer said he had practically been living at the venue since the start.

“I was here the whole day yesterday, and today I got here at about 9 am. It’s been a good event and the other entertainment shows building up to the main event were an excellent idea,” he said.

Another fan, Jared Hobbies, felt the event was an excellent advertisement for the city.

Event PR Sean Badenhorst said they exceeded their ambitions.

“Since it began, we have sold more than 10 000 tickets, and although mountain biking is not traditionally a South African sport, we believe it was a great success,” he said.

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