SA mountain bikers master Les Gets

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
In his 40th year, Greg Minnaar is still a top ten rider (Photo: Santa Cruz)
In his 40th year, Greg Minnaar is still a top ten rider (Photo: Santa Cruz)
  • The Les Gets track was brutal, humbling the world's best mountain bikers
  • South African riders gave a good account of themselves in both the downhill and XCO sprint events
  • Alan Hatherly's podium, was a highlight, before he departs for the Olympics

It was a good weekend for South African mountain bikers, in France.

At the last UCI World Cup event before the Tokyo Olympics, Mzansi mountain bikers delivered some impressive performances.

Les Gets trail builders crafted two of the most challenging tracks seen in many a season, for both the downhill racing and short course XCO event.

The trails were steep, as one would expect for an Alpine venue, with a collection of big jumps, drops and tricky features.

Alan Hatherly showed great mastery of the steep Les Gets track (Photo: @mmondini_photo)

South African contingent masters the mud

The weekend’s qualifying and racing saw many crashes, especially in the downhill event, with favourites relinquishing their status, as the Les Gets tracks demanded respect.

Greg Minnaar again proved his enduring legacy, with a 7th place finish. This result puts the multiple World Champion in 5th position, overall, amongst the world’s elite 77 downhill mountain bikers. Cape Town’s Theo Erlangsen, ended a very credible 23th, in a field of 62 riders.

Minnaar will now have a comfortable mid-season break, until the second weekend of August, when the UCI downhill World Cup continues in Slovenia.

Having suffered to regain his fitness after a Covid disruption to his training, the intermission will be welcome – although Minnaar is clearly on form. As he had been, for the last two decades.

The Slovenian round will be held at Maribor, a venue Minnaar knows well – and where he has been victorious before.

In the women’s XCO race Mariska Strauss came home 27th, of 77 finishers. The men’s race saw a great performance from local Olympic hopeful, Alan Hatherly, as he managed an excellent 4th place finish, in a field of 97.

For Hatherly, who is enjoying a breakthrough season in the senior  XCO mountain bike ranks, after winning the U/23 World Championship in 2018, his form is peaking perfectly, for Tokyo.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.