‘Highlander’ Minnaar challenges the Black Snake: “I need the perfect race”
The South African goes for his first win in Val di Sole on the occasion of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships (August 25-29). “The Black Snake is the most demanding track in the world, and I wasn’t so lucky on it…”
Superior talent and a healthy dose of madness are needed to compete in World-class Downhill at the threshold of 40 years. Greg Minnaar is a living legend of Downhill, the discipline that will close the program the upcoming UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Val di Sole (August 25-29), on the iconic Black Snake track.
Considered the greatest downhiller of all time, the South African champion has never managed to win on the Italian track. “I’ve never been too lucky in Val di Sole”, remembers Minnaar. – “I broke my bike just before the 2017 World Cup finals, and my best result in Val di Sole is a second place, but you can’t be happy with a second place”.
The three-time World Champion has already arrived in Val di Sole to test the renewed course in view of the Downhill competitions of Sunday, August 29th. “The Black Snake is mentally really hard. It’s difficult to put together a great race – explains the South African – because it’s demanding for your body, bike and setup. I think it’s one of the most challenging tracks we race on”.
Last season, Minnaar returned to winning ways in a World Cup stage in Portugal: in spite of underwhelming results early in the season, the athlete from Pietermaritzburg has good feelings. “I have been feeling pretty good all season, I had just a little bit of bad luck, between the mechanical problems of Leogang and the bad weather of Les Gets. I am looking forward to a good World Championships but winning a downhill competition is complex. There are many things that have to line up: I will need the perfect race. I want to stay competitive and enjoy the race at the same time”.
Having fun while competing hard is one of the secrets of Minnaar’s longevity. “Since I started racing my goal was obviously to win, but I didn’t think I’d be racing at this age, nor did I ever think I’d win as many championships as I have.”
Mountain Bike lovers cannot wait any longer to be back watching races live in Daolasa di Commezzadura (Trentino, Northern Italy), from August 25th to 29th. Entry tickets are on sale on www.valdisolebikeland.com for the last two days of competition, Saturday, August 28th (Cross Country races) and Sunday, August 29th (Downhill races), while in the first three days entrance will be free, subject to availability.
For all days, EU Countries citizens can access the event once in possession of the Covid Green Pass, whilst the spectators from non-EU Countries must show a certificate of vaccination or a negative result of a Covid Test.
Photos: 1) Greg Minnaar in action on the Black Snake; 2) Minnaar at the starting line; 3) The South African will try to conquer the first success in Val di Sole at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships (Credits: Giacomo Podetti).