- 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.
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.