Minnaar is the man again

I’m going to come out and just say it – I’m a Greg Minnaar groupie! This man is incredible on two wheels. The sheer talent and resiliency he possesses is beyond belief.

At the fifth round of the Nissan UCI World Cup Downhill, held in Maribor, Slovenia, Minnaar injured his ankle during the qualifiers, yet still managed to claim 3rd place.

At 100%, I pray for a podium finish – imagine if I had an injured ankle?!

What made this victory even sweeter was that Minnaar claimed the leader jersey from teammate Steve Peat, therefore putting him on 914 points in the overall standings.

I’ve said it before; I think Minnaar is really superhuman. This guy just defies the odds countless times and performs with a vigour which should inspire young cyclists. If you’re looking for pointers on becoming a better MTBer, just watch the master, Minnaar, at work.

Credit must also be given to Fabien Barel and Sam Hill, who finished first and second respectively. Well done, gentlemen!

Ricky in Spandex

SA BMX rider badly injured

We don’t usually report on BMX riders on MTB Shorts, but this time around we really think it’s important that we do. Sadly though, it’s not good news.  

Local BMX sensation, Sifiso Nhlapo, had to undergo emergency surgery on Monday night after a crash, during a practice session in Norway, left him with two fractured vertebrae in his neck.

Initial reports claim that the surgery was successful *that’s fantastic news* and that he was talking to doctors after the operation, but no one is sure when he will be able to climb onto a bike again *but I know in my heart that he will*

Sifiso made international headlines when he reached the inaugural BMX final at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Since then he’s been on a hot streak claiming a bronze medal at the 2008 World Championships, and is currently No. 1 in Europe and No. 4 in the world.

From everyone at MTB Shorts, we wish Sifiso a speedy and healthy recovery.

For updates on Sifiso’s condition please visit www.skizo105.com.

Marky Mark

Oh My Word!

I don’t know if I want to cry or scream for joy! After the news I just read, I couldn’t help but smile broadly like a Cheshire cat.

Recent figures released by the International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed that the international broadcast time of the Pietermaritzburg round of the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, presented by Shimano, sponsored by DCM Chrome was a total of nearly 940 hours.

This broadcast time translates to an estimated global TV audience of 2.134 billion people in 188 countries!

Yes, you read that right! Not millions, but billions!

You do realise that this figure puts the MTB World Cup in the same league as other major sporting tournaments, such as Wimbledon, FIFA World Cup and the Rugby World Cup? Finally! MTB has hit the big time!

This is not only a crowning achievement for MTB, but also for the city of Pietermaritzburg, which hosted a fantastic event (big up PMB!). MTBers, I think we should take a bow because our sport is about to become the coolest thing since Nutella on toast!

Bandaged Jack

MTN Induna

This weekend, Hazyview was thrilled with MTB action as Round 3 of the 2009 MTN National Mountain Bike Series, The Induna Ultra-Marathon, took place!


In the men’s race, South African marathon champion, MTN Energade’s Kevin Evans, got his National Series title defence back on track when he claimed first place with a time of 4:35:35, ahead of Team Garmin Adidas’ Marc Bassingthwaighte (4:36:33) and Mannie Heymans (4:36:39). The result allows Evans to extend his lead in the series, which he hopes to defend successfully.


In the women’s event, Marsilio Projects’ Ischen Stopforth won her first ever National Series event victory in 3:44:39. Garmin Adidas’ Samantha Oosthuizen (3:56:07) took second place and Amoryn Saayman (4:06:56) rounded up the final podium place.


In the 45km MiWay Half-marathon, James Reid and Caitlin de Wet took the men and women’s title respectively.

Well done to everyone!

Round 4 of the MTN National Marathon Series, The Dirty Harry, will take place on Saturday, 8 August, in Harrismith. The event will also double up as the 2009 National Marathon Championships.

P.S. I just started watching Family Guy, brilliant series LOL

Ricky in Spandex

Well Done, Pietermaritzburg!

In its recent 15 page report, the UCI applauded the host city of Pietermaritzburg, the region of KwaZulu-Natal, event organisers, and the local MTB community for the successful hosting of the first round of Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup last month.

They were so impressed by the standards of the event that they’ve recommended Pietermaritzburg to be part of the worldwide programme for 2010. The UCI have also suggested that the town put in a bid for the 2013 UCI World Championships! Wow, talk about a big compliment!

Last, but definitely not least, a big thank you must be sent out to the 17 000 people who came out to support the event. Thanks to all of you, it managed to generate at least R19 million for the city and surrounding areas, with more than R15.5 million being spent on accommodation, restaurants and the retail sector.

The UCI has most certainly noted the phenomenal support and were extremely impressed by the passion of MTB in this country.

Well done, Pietermaritzburg and South Africa!

Ricky in Spandex

Nissan UCI MTB World Cup Round 4

The fourth round of the Nissan UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, happened this past Sunday in Madrid, Spain. Habla español? Si?

In the men’s section, World Cup leader Orbea’s Julien Absalon increased his lead at the top with a dominant win, but the real exciting part of the race was the fantastic four-way sprint for third place, which was won by Multivan Merida’s Moritz Milatz.

In the women’s event, Massi’s Marga Fullana also increased her lead in the overall standings with a win. However it was only four seconds ahead of 2008 World Champion, Maxxis-Rocky Mountain’s Marie-Helene Premont – talk about close, but no cigar!

The MTB races were happening thick and fast this weekend! I’m even struggling to type so fast – ouch! Frost bite! Damn you, winter!

The next round of the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup for the cross-country riders takes place in two months in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada.

For full results of the Nissan UCI MTB World Cup, please visit www.uci.ch

Ricky in Spandex

MTN National MTB Cup Series

Fountains Reserve in Pretoria was exceptionally jubilant on Saturday when Namibian Marc Bassingthwaighte, of team Garmin Adidas, secured victory in round 5 of the MTN National Mountain Bike Cross-Country Series, sponsored by MiWay Insurance.

The win also ensured that Bassingthwaighte claimed the Series title after a hard-fought season. Clap, clap! Well done Marc!

The Under-23 series title had already been wrapped up by the great Burry Stander (Mr Price Specialized) following his four wins in the previous stages, despite Garmin Adidas’ Philip Buys claiming the victory in round 5.

In the women’s race, IMC Momentum’s Yolande Speedy picked up the win, but it wasn’t enough to dethrone Jeep’s Sara Muhl, who secured her Series title with a second place finish at round 5. Well done Sara! Clap, clap!

A big clap, clap is in order for all those who competed in the Series. The competition was intense this year and many categories went right down to the last race. Awesome season and cycling, fellow MTBers!

Ricky in Spandex

Nissan UCI MTB World Cup Round 3

Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Steve Peat (teammate of local hero Greg Minnaar) has finally beaten French rider Nicolas Vouilloz’s record with his 17th career victory!

At the downhill event in the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup third round, in Vallnord, Andorra – MTB history was made when Peat took victory only two-hundredths of a second ahead of current world champion, Animal-Commencal’s Gee Atherton.

In the women’s event, Maxxis-Rocky Mountain’s Sabrina Jonnier took her second consecutive downhill World Cup win, and overtook Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) for the overall lead in the women’s series.

Not taking anything away from the other winners, but I think this weekend definitely belonged to Steve Peat, who broke a remarkable record. Congratulations from everyone here at MTB Shorts!

For full results of the Nissan UCI MTB World Cup, please visit www.uci.ch

Ricky in Spandex

Giro in Tatters

Wow! Seems like the prestigious Giro d’Italia is turning into quite the joke this year. The ninth stage of the event in Milan has seen the classifications being annulled because of riders protest over safety.

Spain’s Pedro Horrillo Munoz was seriously injured after falling down a ravine on Saturday’s stage and had to be hoisted into a helicopter, prompting riders to decide the 163 km city centre course was too dangerous.

The riders partook in the ninth stage, but at a leisurely pace – chatting and enjoying each other’s company without straining themselves. Thereby, embarrassing the organisers and causing a mockery of the ninth stage.

As a fellow cyclist I am disappointed by these recent events as it puts the glorious sport of cycling in such a bad light. I put the blame firmly on the organisers and the riders. Surely, there should be more concerns of safety and a better way of protesting than just making a mockery of an illustrious event.

Ricky in Spandex

Nissan UCI MTB World Cup Round 2

Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Steve Peat pulled out all the stops to record his 16th career victory in the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, presented by Shimano, at the second round in La Bresse, France. By doing so, Peat has matched the all time record set by French rider Nicolas Vouilloz and taken the lead in the World Cup standings.

Peat managed to take first place by 1.27 seconds from his closest competitor Sam Hill. Finishing up top three was GT Bicycles’ Mick Hannah. Our local boy, Greg Minnaar, was unfortunately found further down the field, yet he still managed to hold onto third place in the World Cup standings board.

In the ladies section, Maxxis – Rocky Mountain’s Sabrina Jonnier beat World Cup leader Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) by over 5 seconds to give the crowd a French win.

Wow, yesterday’s round sounded like a real explosive affair. I, myself, experienced a great result with my cycling club yesterday. I beat Fred by over 6 seconds, finished in first place, claimed my prize of a chutney boerewors roll, and didn’t injure myself for the first time this year – SCORE!

For full results of the Nissan UCI MTB World Cup, please visit www.uci.ch

Bandaged Jack