Um Ponto De Fuga

domingo, 15 de maio de 2005

Steve Peat Wins World Cup Downhill Vigo

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Mais uma Vitória, a somar a tantas do invejável corredor da Orange, que após ter desfeito dúvidas em relação ao reinado do DownTown, volta a triunfar de forma indiscutível no início de época 2005, seguido de perto por Greeg Minnar, vencedor 2003 do Worl Cup UCI.
The 2005 UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup kicked off this weekend on the Atlantic coast of Spain, on the outskirts of the city of Vigo, in front of an estimated 25,000 spectators. The Downhill race today saw Greg Minnaar (RSA) take the podium with a strong 2nd place finish, and young newcomer to the team Matti Lehikoinen (FIN) finishing an impressive 7th, just 0.3 seconds off the podium.
Vigo is a new venue for the World Cup circuit and the course proved to be very popular among the top riders who found the roughly two and half minutes of trail, just a few kilometers from the city centre, to be an excellent mix of speed and technical terrain. Known for mixed weather at this time of the year, and after a week of rain prior to the event, the training in Vigo took place in near perfect conditions. Timed training on Saturday saw Greg with the 3rd fastest time and Matti 4th, and this was to set the tone for the semi final today.
Today saw the return of the rain in the morning and a change in the course. Due to the slippery conditions the race officials eliminated a large rocky section that had already caused World Champion Fabien Barel to crash in training earlier in the week. The riders then by-passed this section, which slowed them by a few seconds but otherwise the course was ideal for racing, as the sun came out later in the day.
The first race of the season is always difficult, as the riders don't always know where they stand with their main opponents, both in physical and technical preparation. With a month until Round 2 in Germany, the main goal for both Greg and Matti was to score solid points and get the World Cup campaign off to a smooth start. With 50 points up for grabs in the semi final both riders went for solid runs. Greg finished 3rd with a time of 2min 36.303s, and amazingly, Matti finished just 1/1000th of a second behind Greg with 2min 36.304s, for a 4th place. This gave both riders strong points and set the scene for the final.
For the final the course had dried out even more and both riders opted for dry tyres despite Matti having used semi-mud tyres for the semi final race. Matti finished the final with a strong time of 2min 33.492s taking nearly 3 seconds off his morning time. Greg then came down the course and took Sam Hill, 2004 World Cup 2nd placed rider, out of the hot seat with the fastest time of the day at 2min 28.668s. The time wasn't beaten by the next rider Mick Hannah however 2004 World Cup Champion Steve Peat once again showed how strong he could be at the start of the season with an impressive 2min 25.791s. This meant that Greg's 2nd in the final, and his 3rd in the semi final, secured him a strong 2nd overall in the Series thus far. Matti's 4th in the semi final, and his eventual 7th in the final, means that he now stands 6th in the World Cup overall, his best ever standing in the series.


1 Steve Peat (Team Orange)

2 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)

3 Sam Hill (Iron Horse Mad Catz)

4 Mick Hannah (Haro Bikes)

5 Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz Syndicate)


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