By Mark Etheridge
A fourth place finish in last weekend’s UCI World Cup downhill event at Mont Sainte Anne, Canada sees South Africa’s Greg Minnaar still in with a chance in the race to top the overall standings.
Minnaar clocked 4min 24.71sec for the run and picked up 125 ranking points as Britain’s Josh Bryceland took honours on the day with a run of 4:22.15.
Next quickest were France’s Loic Bruni and Aussie rider Troy Brosnan.
Series leader Aaron Gwin (4:27.05) could ‘only’ manage seventh spot, meaning both Bruni and Minnaar made up some headway before the next round of racing.
Gwin’s still the guy to beat with 839 points and just two World Cups to race but Bruni is only 25 points adrift and Minnaar 70 so it’s certainly not a done deal.
Minnaar told Road to Rio 2016: ‘Yup, I’m still in the case, even more so as although I’m still in third spot, we’ve tightened up at the top.
‘I was happy with how things went last week especially as I had a pretty big crash in the morning practice, knocking my head quite badly as well as hurting my hand and shoulder.’
But Minnaar is made of stern stuff. ‘I was a little uncomfortable starting the final, aiming to race smoothly and try and hang on. I managed both but then slit out on the second to last corner, losing speed and not being able to jump the step-up.
‘So I know I’m on the pace, I just hope I can heal up now before this weekend’s World Cup in Windham.’
The US event is last but one on the UCI downhill calendar with the final being staged in Val di Sole, Italy on the weekend of 22-23 August.