2010 Maribor UCI Downhill World Cup #1 Video – Results – Pictures

Maribor Pro Men DH Podium

Maribor Pro Men DH Podium

With the first downhill World Cup in the books, it proved to be a riveting race due to inclement weather, injuries, the riders only having one practice run on race day, the lifts shutting down due to high winds, and changing track conditions.  Greg Minnaar took the win for the pro men and Rachel Atherton for the women respectively.  Details and race reports inside.  Check back often as we’ll update it as more come in.

Interesting notes:

  • Sam Hill qualified first, but crashed in his race run and still got 5th.  He hasn’t had much time on the bike as a result of surgery he sustained in the recent off season (ACL damage).
  • Greg Minnaar is on form clearly and riding strong.
  • Rachel Atherton won pro-women by almost 10 seconds, with a broken finger, and all this after a major stack during her qualifying run on the last jump.
  • Myriam Nicole is back and stronger this year.  She qualified first in pro women but ended up 4th place on race day. She broke her derailleur in the main rock garden and couldn’t pedal after that section.
  • New names are popping up on the top ten qualifying list (Luke Strobel,  Steve Smith, Josh Bryceland, Damien Spagnolo) and should prove interesting to follow the remainder of the season.
  • Fabien Barel won here last year, but was sidelined before the race even begun.  He is out for approx 2-3 months due to a snapped femur during a ride the week before Maribor.
  • Cameron Cole (9th), Joe Smith(8th), Aaron Gwin (7th), Steve Smith (6th), and Fabien Pedemanaud(4th) did impressively well and are ones to keep an eye out for the remainder of the season.
  • Lots of new prototype downhill bikes being tested from Pivot, Specialized, and Santa Cruz.




Yeti – Maribor WC 2010

Aaron Gwin

Aaron Gwin (click to view more photos in the gallery)

Aaron placed 7th in the downhill in some of the toughest conditions Yeti videographer John Reynolds has ever seen. Jared snapped everyone off the gate in 4X all weekend and the finals were no exception. Leading coming into the second turn, an inside move by RSP rider Slavik forced Jared wide and Slavik’s teammate Marosi slid though. Look for Jared to be so far out ahead at the next race that team tactics will not apply.


Maribor, Slovenia
May 16, 2010

Greg Minnaar

Greg Minnaar - credit: Kathy Sessler (click to view more race photos)

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate/SRAM/RockShox), starts off the UCI World Cup downhill season with a huge win. He put together a brilliant run to win the season opener in Maribor, Slovenia in the most dismal conditions on a course Greg would describe as “the hardest course I’ve ever ridden because of the mud and rain.” Teammates Josh Bryceland and Steve Peat strung together less than optimal runs for disappointing 16th and 45th positions respectively.

The week rolled out nicely as all our flights arrived without volcanic interference. Steve, Josh and Greg got up to speed on their new carbon V?10’s early in the week on a drying course for the first day of practice and enjoyed being back in Maribor. As expected, the rain arrived for the rest of the week.

This was a technical track under difficult conditions where many people don’t think of Greg as being suited to a track like this, but he bloody well is. He unequivocally proved that he shines on any track, any time. Greg has trained hard to come back after a serious leg injury he sustained in November and he is in a very good place now and he knows his training has been right.

He felt a bit pressure last week being down in practice run times last week during the carbon V?10 testing in Lousa. In fact, his lowest time had him wearing a dress out to dinner. He was clearly wearing the pants today as he put his strengths to work using his powerful mind and his pedaling prowess.

The Santa Cruz Bicycles engineers that designed and developed the carbon V?10 were here to see their years of hard work manifest. It was great to have years of hard work pay off and for the engineers to witness a big win first hand.

With the win still sinking in, Greg said, “When I pedaled out the gate my mechanic, ‘Doug E. Fresh’, yelled out “oneLife” and it made me laugh. The win was really unexpected. I was hoping to leave Maribor with a top three to start the season in a solid position. Considering the course conditions, my past results here and a 3rd in qualifying I would have
been stoked with a top three. I felt after the qualifier that I could race for the win and not just for a podium. We’ve been on the road for 2 weeks now and I’ve been adjusting to the carbon bike and working with all the guys from Santa Cruz has been great. It’s nice to be getting on a plane with a win under my belt ending the trip on a high.”

Josh was underwhelmed with his ranking after having great practice runs and a good qualifier. He had high hopes to keep things going as he had practiced, and he caught a slower rider in the qualifier where he placed 7th. He went into the final ready to charge, but just couldn’t get it flowing properly and finished 16th.

Josh Bryceland - credit: Kathy Sessler (click to view more race photos)

Josh Bryceland - credit: Kathy Sessler (click to view more race photos)

Steve was very disappointed with his race run. Riders were only allowed one practice run on race day due to the gondola being shutdown due to winds. On his practice run Steve hit a tree quite hard and thought he might have separated his shoulder slightly. He was still well prepared for the race but pin balling off of tress slowed him down and he finished an uncharacteristic 45th place.

Steve Peat - credit: Kathy Sessler (click to view more race photos)

Steve Peat - credit: Kathy Sessler (click to view more race photos)

Rob Roskopp says, “It was great to see Greg win on such a super technical, awful, muddy course against others that
are suppose to be better, but obviously weren’t. It was great to be the first carbon bike with carbon wheels to win
a world cup downhill. It’s an amazing way to start out the year.”

This is Greg’s 12th World Cup downhill career win, 7 of those on Santa Cruz. He is looking forward to the next World Cup at Ft. William, Scotland where he has quite a bit of good history. Josh is still chasing the podium and Steve hasn’t been in this position in a long while and will be hungry for redemption.

Chain Reaction Cycles.com/Intense – World Cup 1 Maribor, Slovenia

Chain Reaction Cycles.com / Intense

Chain Reaction Cycles.com / Intense - credit: Jacob Gibbins (click to enlarge)

The race today in Maribor was a total mud fest but with surprisingly very close times.

With all the rain yesterday and this morning the track turned into peanut butter for the riders with huge holes and very slippy rocks and roots making it one of the most physical World Cup races in a long time.

In the Mens race Matt Simmonds had a great ride placing 14th in the end, less than 3 seconds off the podium and on the same second as 8th. This result equaled Matt’s best World Cup finish to date and continues his great form this year. He has put in the work over the winter and it is definitely paying off. We are all proud of you on the team Matt, well done and we know you can improve on this even more as the year unfolds.

New signing this year Matti Lehikoinen had a descent run finishing just behind Matt in 18th less than 1 second back. This was not what Matti was hoping for but it shows he has the speed early in the season and has given him the confidence to take to the next World Cup in Fort William. Julien finished 21st only half a second back from Matti.

Again, this was a good start for Julien especially after not racing a World Cup for about 1 year now due to his injury last season. Julien was hoping for a better result after finishing 3rd and 2nd the last 2 times he has raced here – but in the Mens field which is getting closer and more competitive every year, Julien has proved he has the speed to contend with the fastest riders.

Ruaridh and Chris didn’t have the best of days, both crashing and having big problems in their runs. Ruaridh ended up 47th and Chris 71st. Hopefully after last weeks great results in Fort William they can do a lot better in the next World Cup.

Greg Minnaar took the win narrowly beating Gee Atherton and Brendan Fairclough.

Claire Buchar had a great run finishing in 7th and only 1.6 seconds of the podium. Congratulations Claire – Well done. Rachael Atherton amazingly took the win in the Womens field with a broken finger.

In the team standings we are 3rd overall and we will be looking to stay in the top 3 and try for that overall no.1 team in the World. Thanks to all our sponsors for their support and the best products available.

Race report from the BRIGADE

Cedric Gracia - credit: Phil Garcia (click to enlarge)

Well, the weather wasn’t really what I was expecting for a come back on the circuit : ) but after a couple of runs in the DH and 4X I was enjoying myself !!! I have to say it was a little bit hard to do all the training between DH and 4X due to all of the bad timing schedule ! (we are only 2 to do both anyway !)

4X qualification was really good, even if I started number 155 at the back with a destroyed terrain for me but my anger was stronger ! I finished 3rd then perfect for next day race.

DH, starting at the back wasn’t easy , the track was destroyed and so much water in the rut but fun until I realize half way of the track than I made a bad choice on pick up my disk brake without enough vent to clear out the mud. Finish 86 position just not enough to race the final !

THANKS to the BRIGADE Staff for the really good support and Rob and Lepa to clean up my dishes in the river : )

CG, the sergeant

Rachel Atherton wins DH World Cup opener in Maribor, Slovenia

Rachel Atherton - credit: Gary Perkin (click to enlarge)

Rachel Atherton - credit: Gary Perkin (click to enlarge)

Despite riding with a broken finger and suffering a horrendous crash in qualifying, Rachel Atherton won the first stop of the UCI Down Hill World Cup presented by Shimano in serious style.

Appearing at her first World Cup since her training accident in January 2009, the 22 year old from Llangynog, UK burst back onto the scene with an outstanding performance seeing her nearest rival over nine seconds behind. Atherton missed the whole 2009 season due to injury but this result reaffirmed her authority within the women’s field.

It was almost a fairy-tale ending for the Athertons as Rachel’s brother Gee nearly made it a double win for the family in the men’s event. Narrowly missing the top spot by just two tenths of a second, Gee was beaten by South African Greg Minnaar who took the first World Cup of the year.

The Atherton family are fully relying on SHIMANO SAINT components, as well as a PRO “Atherton Star Series” handlebar, stem, seat post, grips and saddle. Congratulations Rachel and good luck in your preparations for the second round of the World Cup in Fort Williams!

For more information about SHIMANO SAINT components, please visit: www.shimano.com

For more information about PRO products, please visit www.pro-bikegear.com

Sabrina Jonnier finishes second to Rachel Atherton at Maribor, Slovenia in one of the toughest downhill World Cups ever

Sabrina Jonnier (click to enlarge)

Sabrina Jonnier (click to enlarge)

Pouring rain left the challenging Maribor downhill course a treacherous place to be on Sunday and for Sabrina Jonnier, of Hyères, France, meant her World Cup title defence would not begin with the win she was looking for. Rachel Atherton, of Great Britain, was one of the first down the hill among the elite women and set a commanding pace finishing with 4:03.42. Jonnier navigated the muddy track cautiously to secure second albeit nine seconds behind eventual race winner, Atherton.

“It was really a hard day and a hard weekend,” Jonnier said afterward. “We had different conditions every day and race day was the worst. I’m okay with the second place, but I am nine seconds behind Rachel and that is not very good.”  Jonnier doesn’t like to lose and especially by nine seconds. “It’s a big gap,” she offered. “The bottom part of the course was very hard for me and I kept slipping and sliding and sticking my feet out. I slowed down way too much and it wasn’t enough to win.”

The weather had begun to clear on Friday and the Maribor course had reached peak condition by Friday evening, but then the rain returned overnight. “It rained all night Friday and Saturday, but Saturday was good because it was like liquid so the mud was kind of fun,” laughed Jonnier. “Then, in the race it did not rain and so the mud got sticky and slippery on the rocks and roots and it made it really very hard. I have never ridden in worse conditions than these,” Jonnier said. The track is a challenging track to ride fast at the best of times and it has remained relatively unchanged for the past four years. “The braking holes and roots are coming through more and more – it’s a very hard track and the mud made it even worse,” Jonnier explained. “My run was so bad and so I was really stoked to hold onto the second place.”

The 20 seconds that spans the top six shows just how much of an effect the conditions had on the field. “It took me all last night and all today to decide how I was going to ride today,” Jonnier admitted. “I decided two minutes before my run that I was going to take it easy and just try and stay on the bike. I wanted to take the risk to go faster and to go for the win, but I held back and I guess it paid off … kind of.”

The first real race of the season is always a show of hands, but Jonnier felt her speed was not where it needed to be. “There are two young French girls who are really fast this year and so I had better step up and go faster pretty soon, as well,” she laughed. “I think to win in the condition like today you have to be born in the mud – today’s result is actually pretty good for me in these conditions – I am not a big fan of the mud.” The day was not easy for Jonnier – the closed gondola and chairlift, because of the wind, meant she could only manage to do one practice run – not her normal two. “Normally, I do two so I can fix my last lines and get ready for the race. It was a cold, wet and complicated day,” she explained, but added with a smile, that it was “a big adventure”. “Everything went wrong today. On my way to the race my mechanic was driving to the top on this dirt road and coming down there was a meeting of Mini cars and so we had to stop on the side of the road and it was very slippery and soft and the van fell off the road–  we went sideways and it took a bit to get back on the road. It really was a big adventure and I am glad I could get out of the race without any injury or anything else.”

Jonnier will now prepare for the second round at Fort William on June 5 and 6. “I’m going to do two races this weekend – that is what I am missing right now – it took me a while to get into the race this weekend. Since I got back from New Zealand I haven’t done proper races really and today was my first big one and it took until qualifying until I could get my head into the race,” she conceded. “Today was not my day, but I still end up second, so it’s okay.”

The much anticipated Atherton and Jonnier showdown has begun.

Cam Cole finishes ninth equal at first round of the 2010 UCI World Cup downhill mountain bike series at Maribor, Slovenia

Cameron Cole (click to enlarge)

Cameron Cole (click to enlarge)

Maxxis-Rocky Mountain team rider Cameron Cole, 22, opened his 2010 World Cup campaign with a ninth-equal at the rain-soaked course at Maribor, Slovenia yesterday. The former world junior downhill champion shared his ninth position with good friend and fellow countryman Justin Leov, of Trek World Racing, but said the trying, muddy conditions meant he had to fight the whole way. Cole, of Christchurch, New Zealand, said it had been a tough weekend of racing with conditions changing constantly. “I walked the track on Thursday and then Friday I kind of struggled a bit in the morning – it was very slippery and drying out and it ended up being similar conditions to the race,” Cole said. “I had to get my bike sorted – my fork was too soft, so I had to run a new spring and then the bike felt really good. It dried in the afternoon so I put my clip pedals on and did a few fast runs and felt good.”

By Saturday conditions had deteriorated again and the mountains in Maribor were cloaked in rain. “It had rained all day non-stop so it was pretty wet and pretty tough conditions and cold at the start of qualifying,” Cole admitted. “It was hard to get warm. I was unsure of how I was going to go and I didn’t feel very confident, but I did my best and qualified 13th so that gave me a confidence boost before race day.” The event was cast into turmoil on Sunday morning when racers awoke to a strong wind that had forced the closure of the access lift and cast confusion over any practice runs before the race. “It was pretty much chaos in the pits,” explained Cole.
“Everyone was running around trying to find out what was going on. We only got one run and so I didn’t really have a chance to look at anything after qualifying. The track had changed a bit after everyone had been on it, but I just did one run went back to the hotel and chilled out.” “I felt quite positive, but at the same time it was difficult conditions – it was very slippery – probably the worst race conditions I have experienced. It was a mess – the clay was soft and sticky and it was really slippery on all the roots,” he recalled.

The messy conditions challenged all riders with mistakes coming thick and fast through the race runs. “I washed out on the fifth corner and started to think about the time I was losing, but I knew it would be like that for everyone so I just kept fighting and tried to deal with it and to not make too many more mistakes,” Cole admitted. “I washed out in another bit and then at the bottom I blew my feet off and only just got over the last jump. It was pretty wild times, that’s for sure,” he laughed afterward. “I came across the line and thought it would have been about a top 20 ride, but I was actually sitting in fourth place – I think there were about six of us on the same second. Justin and I ended up getting exactly the same time, so that was pretty funny.”

Cole finished the race in 3:30.65, just over seven seconds off winner Greg Minnaar’s race time of 3:23.42. “I think I lost about three seconds with my mistakes,” Cole said, adding, the top three guys were super fast – Brendan [Fairclough] made mistakes, but he was just riding so fast everywhere else and Sam Hill pulled his tear-off and crashed into a tree, but he would have been up there. Greg Minnaar probably didn’t make a mistake really.” A top 10 finish in the opening race is a strong beginning for Cole who plans to build on his performances throughout the series … after a little post-Maribor rest. “Last year I had an awesome start as well, but I am now keen to have a bit of a rest – I hurt my knee in the race and so I would like to rest that for a few days and do some strength work. Then I have two races before Fort William and so that will be good time on the bike for me and I will be able to attack again there.”

The World Cup season opened with a larger than usual contingent of Kiwis and Cole said this will make the season a lot easier. “I think there were 12 of us at this race so you don’t have to go far and you run into another Kiwi. Even in the pits there is a mechanic who is a Kiwi,” Cole laughed. “It makes it easier – we all stick together over here. We’re like a team and are one of the only countries that are like this. We all get on and are stoked for whoever does well.”

Justin Leov Ranked 7th After Challenging World Cup Downhill Round 1

Justin Leov

Justin Leov

The opening round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill saw Trek World Racing take two top 10 results despite the difficult conditions that saw rain all weekend causing slippery race conditions and ankle deep mud in some sections. Justin’s 9th in the final was enough to place him 7th overall in the season standings, while team mates Andrew Neethling and Tracy Moseley finished 33rd and 8th respectively in their final runs.

The weekend of relentless rain made riding conditions in Maribor treacherous and mud is likely to be one of the most memorable things about this popular venue for both riders and spectators alike. Certainly conditions were the toughest they ever have been at this track and riders were faced with various technical challenges, particularly issues of poor visibility and lack of traction.

Qualifying proved tough, with Justin coming in a strong 12th, Andrew a respectable 24th, and Tracy 7th. All riders battled with the harsh conditions. Tracy rode well but lost some confidence after a bizarre incident where she landed blind on the rear wheel, then landed super heavily on the front, causing mild whiplash which affected her performance on race day. Andrew had a strong start in the finals, recording the 8th fastest split but lost valuable time by the second split after sliding out onto a tree and coming to a dead stop. Meanwhile Justin had a slower start in split one, positioned 23rd, but gained pace by split 2 where he fought his way up to 10th.

Justin said: “I had a few problems in the rock garden but pushed really hard after that. I made a few tiny mistakes but my speed and pace is there and my equipment’s awesome; I’ve just got to get myself a bit quicker for the next race. I know the podium’s within reach, so it’s just a matter of making it happen”.

Tracy said: “It was a tough race the track was hard and conditions were really tricky. I started well with no major mistakes but didn’t ride as confidently as I wanted and it was hard to pick up pace. I didn’t ride as aggressively as I could’ve done towards the end I felt really tired, especially towards the bottom where I made a couple of errors and lost some momentum. It wasn’t an ideal start to my World Cup it’s been a tough weekend but I’m not injured and I can’t wait for Fort William to pick things up again”.

Andrew said: “I kind of figured there’d be one of three endings ride aggressively and it pays off with a good result, ride conservatively and have a mediocre result and be disappointed, or ride aggressively and it doesn’t pay off which is what happened. My middle split was good, I was riding aggressively but then I slid out into a tree and from then on I really struggled to get my bike back on track and I simply lost too much time”.

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Mondraker Maribor World Cup