- In Austria, muddy trails challenged the world’s best mountain bikers, during this weekend’s double-header round of UCI World Cup races.
- Many downhill racers suffered crashes during Saturday’s race. Greg Minnaar looked strong, but broke the tape, negatively influencing his result.
- In the XC race, a terrific performance saw Alan Hatherly assert himself as one of the world’s best sprint mountain bikers.
Weather can be unpredictable when the world’s best mountain bikers journey to Alpine venues. The Austrian Alps have been good to South African riders, and this weekend was no different.
Leogang has been a happy trail venue for Greg Minnaar. The Pietermaritzburg rider has achieved notable performances on the Austrian track, such as winning the 2012 World Championships.
Not an easy weekend for Minnaar
Minnaar was on an excellent race run before things went awry. The muddy conditions triggered an uncharacteristic mistake from the winningest downhill mountain biker in history, placing him 43rd.
Minnaar broke through the course tape, after losing control, which meant he had to reenter at the same place. Costing him valuable seconds.
A disappointing weekend in Austria has Minnaar in 13th place overall, after three rounds of the UCI World Cup season.
Despite placing 17th in the XC short course event on Saturday, KZN’s Alan Hatherly showed great skill on Leogang’s muddy track, during Sunday’s main event.
Swiss-Swiss-South African finish
Measuring 3.7km a lap, with 221m of climbing, the Leogang XC track featured an abundance of muddy roots, testing technical bike handling skills. Known as an excellent rider on steep and technical descents, Hatherly was confident of a strong result in Austria.
Third place went to Hatherly. A terrific achievement for the young South African, who is having a dream season.
Onto Switzerland, next
The next round of UCI World Cup mountain bike events are scheduled for 8-10 July, in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. This is another venue where Greg Minnaar has been successful, winning the Lenzerheide UCI downhill World Cup in 2017.
Hatherly has been edging closer to that inevitable first XC World Cup win, all season, and in Lenzerheide, he will be a strong contender for overall honours.