The South African public once again felt immense pride from the successes of the country’s cyclists abroad across multiple disciplines at the weekend.
Three-time World Champion, Greg Minnaar, claimed his 18th World Cup victory in his 18-year career and set his name in the record books as the most successful downhill cyclist ever at the fourth round of the 2015 UCI MTB World Cup presented by Shimano in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on Saturday 3 July.
Extremely hot and dry conditions didn’t seem to bother Santa Cruz Syndicate rider who put in a smooth run to cruise to victory in the Elite Men’s final. “I think the conditions played a huge part, being so rough and tricky,” he said in the post-race interview. “I'm stoked to win my 18th World Cup, just a bit overwhelmed, really. I just tried to be safe everywhere and carry speed where I could. I knew it was going to be super close and I didn't think I had it in me, but the team put in a big effort with bike testing all week and it paid off.”
Minnaar has achieved 65 World Cup podiums from 108 starts and three World Cup overall titles together with his three World Championship titles.
Sunday 4 July saw some of the world’s greatest XCO riders compete in extreme temperatures and dusty conditions in the XCO World Cup. The morning started off with the U23 Men’s event, with over 100 riders competing. Kargo Pro MTB Team’s Alan Hatherly landed himself in 17th place, a fantastic and very promising achievement for the 19-year-old SA MTB Cup Series winner. The Elite Women’s event saw Novus OMX Pro Team rider, Cherie Vale got herself a top 40 position (36th after 6 laps).
The Elite Men’s race saw Rourke Croeser set off with a good pace, getting up to 23rd place in his first lap, but he suffered two punctures and was pulled off the track with four laps to go. Team RECM’s James Reid claimed a top 40 spot, finishing 39th.
Bigla Pro Team Cycling Team’s Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, who is currently competing in the Giro Rosa in Italy, the most important race in the women’s cycling calendar, sprinted to third in the second stage of the race on Sunday. Sunday’s results, along with her top ten position in the time trial the day before, have secured Moolman-Pasio in third place in the race’s General Classification.
Stage one of the Tour de France kicked off with Individual Time Trial on Saturday. The world watched as Team MTN-Qhubeka powered by Samsung’s Daniel Teklehaimanot was the first rider to start the 102nd edition of the prestigious stage race. Teammate Stephen Cummings (GBR) claimed the 10th position in the Time Trial, securing the team a top-ten placing. Stage two on Sunday saw treacherous windy and wet conditions, however MTN-Qhubeka’s Tyler Farrar (USA) managed to secure the 25th spot.
In the Tour of Austria, Gerald Ciolek claimed a third place in the second stage, securing a stage podium for Team MTN-Qhubeka.
South African riders and teams have continued to make their families, fans and the nation proud with their spectacular achievements. Cycling South Africa congratulates all cyclists and looks forwards to more promising cycling accomplishments throughout the rest of the season.
Photo credit: uci.ch