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06.09.09

Minnaar edges out Hill for the win at Fort William World Cup

UCI World Cup DH - Fort William, Scotland

Steve Peat has only just missed out on his 50th Podium here at Fort William. All the Syndicate bikes are still in the top 10 though, Peaty coming in 6th and Bryceland 7th in a high energy pedaling frenzy.

It seems that Fort William is a happy hunting ground for Greg Minnaar. After winning this event in 2008 he made two on the trot by taking the win here today. The South African has now won three times in Fort William (2009, 2008 and 2004).

Things started hotting up when young Syndicate rider Josh Bryceland took over the hot seat from US rider Aaron Gwin. Young 'Miami' would stay there until eventual second place rider Sam Hill came down. Hill put in a storming run putting over five seconds into Bryceland's time. Steve Peat was next, but no joy, then Sam Blenkinsop, who finished in a more than respectable third.

Mick Hannah came close, clawing back two seconds on Hill on the final bottom section, but it was not to be for him either. Minnaar came next and was 0.41 down at the first split. Hill sat in the hot seat looking worried, he knew that Minnaar would be suited to the energy sapping final section, and of course being clipped in would be an advantage. Minnaar crossed the line having made up two seconds on Hill from that first split... and the crowd went wild, none more so than the 'Greg Minnaar Fan Club' that had made the trip all the way from South Africa for the event.

But there was the still last man down the hill to go. Gee Atherton was bang on Minnaar's time at the first split, but by the second he was down, and by some way. When he crossed the line, back in fourth spot, it was obvious that things hadn't gone to plan. His was a sad figure as he sat there somewhat shell shocked in the finish arena as the Minnaar Fan Club invaded and exploded... I've not really seen anything like it at a World Cup (SA maybe), and it was a welcome sight.

So it finished; Minnaar, Hill, Blenkinsop, Atherton and Hannah. Steve Peat was just off the podium in sixth, but he had done enough to retain the leaders jersey by just four points from team mate Minnaar. Things are warming up. And here's a thought. The Santa Cruz Syndicate have won every male DH World Cup so far this year! Roll on Maribor in two weeks time.

Fort William was as ever a great event, with huge crowds and 'good' weather (no rain), World Cup racing at its best. The Brits maybe didn't get the results they were after, but 'that's racin'.

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