Great weekend for SA mountain bikers at the Swiss UCI World Cup

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Greg Minnaar performs at UCI DH World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. (Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool)
Greg Minnaar performs at UCI DH World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. (Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool)

Switzerland's mountain bike trails proved very much to the liking of South Africa's elite mountain bikers on Saturday and Sunday.

The canton of Graubünden hosted a double-header event schedule of the UCI World Cup, with both downhill and XC riders competing at the resort town of Lenzerheide.

Saturday's UCI World Cup downhill event saw Greg Minnaar return to a technically challenging track where he has proven victorious. The KZN downhill mountain biking legend proved that age is irrelevant and had a brilliant run, finishing third overall.

Lenzerheide's downhill track is typical of the steep and treacherous Alpine trails that define what true mountain biking represents for the gravity racing community. With massive tree roots littering the forest floor and steep off-camber corners, the Lenzerheide track humbled many pro riders.

Minnaar tamed the daunting Lenzerheide downhill course with speed and confidence, displaying his proven riding style.

Alan Hatherly
Alan Hatherly came bitterly close to winning the UCI XC World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland (Photo: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool)

Getting closer to that first win...

Sunday's XC race saw a spirited performance from Alan Hatherly. In a season where he has been a feature rider in the breakaway groups at each UCI World Cup event, Hatherly came desperately close to that first win in Lenzerheide.

Although beaten to the line by Luca Braidot, a second-place finish shows that Hatherly's first win is but an inevitability this season. Behind team Cannondale rider, there was much disharmony between Swiss mountain biking superstar, Nino Schurter and his countryman, Mathias Flückiger.

Schurter took the lead into the final lap, yet an incident with Flückiger allowed Braidot and Hatherly to pass.

Riders and their teams will now travel to Andorra for the next UCI World Cup event, scheduled to use the Vallnord trails, on 15-17 July.

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