Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Greg Minnaar races into 2nd place behind Aaron Gwin at Mt. Ste. Anne in the UCI Downhill World Cup Series. After two weeks of constant rehab of Steve Peat’s torn hamstring he was ready to give the race a serious go, but he slid out on the upper part of the track which skewed his front end making it impossible to continue attacking and he placed 71st. Josh Bryceland felt he was capable of a better run while his efforts netted him a 12th place position.
Mt. Ste. Anne is the classic downhill and this year was no exception as Gestev celebrates over 20 years of hosting World Cup racing, always delivering a top quality race experience! There were some changes made to the track and the weather was warm and humid as the riders started the practice. The Maxxis High Rollers were the tire of choice on the Enve wheels for the dry conditions and the Fox/Shimano equipped V-10’s were working perfectly.
When Steve arrived he was uncertain if he would even be able to ride after tearing his hamstring at Fort William. Since Steve couldn’t do the track walk, Greg had a bit of fun drawing the track for him for This Is Peaty segment:
Steve was diligent with his therapy and on the first day of practice thought he would try just one practice run. He was surprised at how well his leg felt and did four runs with Greg and Josh helping him on the track to get him up to speed. His mind now shifted into race mode.
Josh was flying all week but had a crash on Saturday, which shook him a bit. He was able to refocus for the race but felt he didn’t perform to his best potential. Greg was quickly up to speed and his smooth fluid style looked effortless as he flew by on the rock section in practice, but the reality is that this track punishes the riders relentlessly. Greg was well prepared for a great performance and gave it everything he had, but made a few mistakes that were costly enough to keep him just 1.3 seconds behind Gwin at the finish. Josh took the hot seat for a stretch then finished 12th, and Steve’s slide out cost him his potential to see what might have been.
Greg says, “It’s like a Christmas present you don’t want….you are grateful for receiving the gift, but not overly stoked with the present. On the positive side we had a great week riding and I had good fun in my race. I did shock myself a couple of times pushing hard, I guess that’s what keeps the adrenaline flowing. Man, I love this sport!” Greg stays in 2nd place in the overall points, 135 points behind Gwin.
Steve was unhappy with the result and says, “I just want to give big credit to Sessy and the mechanics for getting me in the start hut, and Greg and Josh for keeping me on track. I’m just pissed off that I didn’t manage to make it down the hill with a good run. It’s frustrating to deal with the pain of the hamstring and then throw away my chance of scoring some points. Thanks to all the Syndicate sponsors for supporting us at Mt. Ste. Anne!”. Steve now sits 32nd overall.
Josh feeling lyrical says, “Some might say I’m wishing my days away, but hey, tomorrows another day, so I may as well play. I had a good week on the bike with the team. I just didn’t find my rhythm on my race run, which resulted in a 12th place finish and he remains in 9th overall.
On a fun note, Fox arranged a mustache photo opportunity for the riders and staff to meet at their pits for photos to send get well wishes to our good friend, Cedric Gracia. I’m sure the photos will put a smile on his face and let him know he is in our hearts as he heals from his big crash and subsequent surgeries.
After a long travel day to Windham Mountain yesterday, the boys are getting in some training and Steve is continuing receiving therapy for his leg with an acupuncture and blood letting session this morning. Weather cool and rainy, lets see what the weekend holds for us!
1st Aaron Gwin 4:14.02
2nd GREG MINNAAR (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 4:15.32
3rd Danny Hart 4:16.16
4th Gee Atherton 4:17.08
5th Sam Hill 4:17.63
6th Brook MacDonald 4:17.90
7th Steve Smith 4:18.54
8th Andrew Neethling 4:18.98
9th Sam Blenkinsop 4:19.16
10th Justin Leov 4:19.65
12th JOSH BRYCELAND (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 4:21.52
71ST STEVE PEAT (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 4:42.45
Men’s Overall Standings:
1st Aaron Gwin 900
2nd GREG MINNAAR (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 765
3rd Gee Atherton 640
4th Danny Hart 525
5th Sam Hill 461
6th Steve Smith 410
7th Marc Beaumont 367
8th Mick Hannah 354
9th JOSH BRYCELAND (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 341
10th Sam Blenkinsop 301
32nd STEVE PEAT (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 166
Source: Kathy Sessler