Mountain Biking

SA MTB pros had a great season – News24

Greg Minnaar and Myriam Nicole celebrate at UCI DH World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool)

  • The professional mountain biking season was made very
    challenging with lockdown travel regulations – especially on a South African
    passport
  • Despite this, South African riders showed why they are
    valued
  • Greg Minnaar and Alan Hatherly were the standout competitors

In a season unlike any before, South African mountain bikers
gave an excellent account of themselves.

With the rescheduled Olympics, World Championships and World
Cup series, it has been a testing season, finishing in America, over the weekend. And South Africa’s professional mountain
bikers have competed with distinction, delivering some great results.

By far the highlight of this season was Greg Minnaar’s
fourth World Championship
win. Already the greatest mountain biker of all time,
Minnaar showed terrific resolve by overcoming Covid-19 during his off-season
training.

Racing at an age where he should be coaching most of his
rivals, instead of competing with them, Minnaar showed that he is truly the Roger
Federer of mountain biking. Delivering incredible riding performances, in the year
he turns 40.

Minnaar’s season ended incongruously with a crash, in preparation
for the final UCI World Cup double-header event, in West Virginia. This dropped
Minnaar down to 15th overall in the series standings, ranking the
113 best downhill mountain bikers, globally.

Alan Hatherly performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool)

Ride24

The other standout rider was Alan Hatherly. The young
cross-country racing specialist gained a significant promotion to the powerful
Cannondale pro-team
, and returned the confidence in his potential with some
great rides.

During the Tokyo Olympics, Hatherly suffered a bad start
but recovered for a very credible eight-place finish.

Completing all six rounds of the UCI XCO World Cup, Hatherly
managed two podium finishes. His overall ranking was sixth – an excellent achievement
considering the pro field being 113 riders strong.

Having only turned 25 this season, Hatherly is still developing
as a rider and even greater things are expected from him next year. And
Minnaar? He will be back, despite being 40 – proving that age is no limitation
for the greater rider of all time.

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