Oakley's Greg Minnaar And Rachel Atherton Victorious In Maribor


Oakley’s Greg Minnaar and Rachel Atherton won the first stop of the UCI World Cup series in Maribor, Slovenia last weekend. Oakley’s Gee Atherton finished two-tenths of a second behind Minnaar and placed second.

The rain and mud proved to be a big factor in Maribor, with many competitors struggling to cope with the conditions. The course was described as a “mud bath” and was sticky and slower.

Despite early struggles, including a crash during qualifiers, Rachel, who spent last season out with a shoulder injury, charged through the course.

The 2008 world champion was quickest at each split and destroyed her rivals to win by almost 10 seconds from runner-up Sabrina Jonnier, and she was delighted with her against-the-odds comeback win.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet – I can’t believe it,” she exclaimed. “I never thought I’d win. I came here hoping for a top five, so maybe being relaxed and having fun is the way to have a good run.”

In the Men’s division, Greg Minnaar overcame difficult conditions and a technical course to power to a win while Gee Atherton finished a close second.

Greg described the course as, “The hardest course I’ve ever ridden because of the mud and rain.”
With this win, Greg showed that he can shine on any track, any time. He sustained a leg injury in November and has trained hard to get back on top and it shows.

Fresh from the win, Greg said, “When I pedaled out the gate my mechanic, Doug E. Fresh, yelled out ‘one life’ and it made me laugh and put a big smile on my face. 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 third 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. It’s nice to be getting on a plane home with a win under my belt ending the trip on a high.”

The World Cup Downhill comes back to the UK from June 5-6 in Fort William, Scotland for the second leg of the 2010 championship.

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill 2010 – Maribor result (men)

1) Greg Minnaar (South Africa) 3m 23.42s

2) Gee Atherton (Great Britain) 3:23.67

3) Brendan Fairclough (Great Britain) 3:25.34

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill 2010 – Maribor result (women)

1) Rachel Atherton (Great Britain) 4m 03.42s

2) Sabrina Jonnier (France) 4:13.15

3) Floriane Pugin (France) 4:16.33