Carl Peters
Sport Editor
2 minute read
22 Mar 2022
06:02

Pietermaritzburg cycling great Minnaar looks to improve on 2021 results

Carl Peters

Local cycling maestro Greg Minnaar and his rivals are ready to open the Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill series — and he plans to improve on last season’s finish.

Local cycling maestro Greg Minnaar and his rivals are ready to open the Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill series — and he plans to improve on last season’s finish.

Minnaar (40) and his more youthful foes get the action going in Lourdes, France, this coming weekend, and there will be seven more races in the 2022 series until September.

There will also be a stand-alone World Championships race held during the year, as usual.

Minnaar has bullish sentiments about the season ahead.

Injured shoulder healed up

“I would not be racing if I did not think I could. I feel that I have got just as much of a chance as anybody else. I was very disappointed with my World Cup season [in 2021] and I definitely want to improve on that this year. We have got two series to always race for, the World Championships and World Cup, and again I would like to be on top of both.

“My training has been going well. I have had some good gym sessions and rehab of my shoulder has gone really well,” said Minaar.

The shoulder problem emerged towards the end of last season, when he finished 15th in the World Cup series as a member of Santa Cruz Syndicate from America, but won the World Championships in Italy.

He has claimed the World Cup series title three times and the World Championships four times to date.

The evergreen Minnaar said:

“I think we have a super, well-rounded team. The thing I am most excited about is getting to ride with Laurie [Greenland, a new teammate from Great Britain], he is a great rider, he knows how to push really hard and that’s something that I find myself battling to do.”

On this week’s affair in Lourdes in particular he said: “We have the usual Frenchies, plus extra — the French really know how to pick things up on their home turf,” he said.

In the final standings last season, the top five were Loïc Bruni, Thibaut Dapréla, Loris Vergier (all French), Troy Brosnan of Australia and Reece Wilson of Great Britain.

Theo Erlangsen, a local rider from the Western Cape, was 71st out of 113 riders.

Minnaar has won many titles over a period of 18 years, demonstrating that he truly plans to extend this season and upset the younger riders.