Greg Minnaar has had a crazy week filled with interviews, appearances, work and travelling to Norway for the last round of the UCI Downhill Mountainbike World Cup after winning the Downhill Mountainbike World Championship for the second time in his career just over a week ago.
Now settled down a bit and in Norway preparing for the World Cup race this weekend we managed to chat to Greg about his World Championship win and everything that goes with it:
First of all, a massive congratulations to you Greg! What does it feel like to win the World Championship again with the last time being 9 years ago in 2003?
Massive weight off my shoulders, I just wish I was able to enjoy more at the moment but right now it’s just a lot of work, hahaha.
How does it feel to be labelled one of the greatest downhillers of all time?
It doesn’t really feel like anything, I never set out to be labelled as anything. I was chasing a dream and not recognition, I’m passionate at what I do, not what people think of me.
What did your preparation for this World Championship entail?
A bit of fun with hard work, I took a little off time and went to the Olympics with Oakley, it was amazing. The crew from Oakley took suck great care of me and my Girlfriend. Then I went back to San Fran for just under 3 weeks of intense training and final prep. I also approached this race a little differently to normal and it worked. I have to try repeat that again this weekend.
Did you change up anything leading up to this race?
Yip, I’ve had a tough season competing against Arron Gwin, and it’s been hard to suck up all the 2nd places. So I went in to World focusing on my own race rather than trying to beat the rest.
Minnaar Turns Carbon Into Gold:
How did the track turn out for you in your run after it being wet and muddy in practice and qualifying and drying up on race day?
It was beat up and a little deceiving. The sun was out and the track was bone dry in some sections but then super greasy in others. Morning practise was from 9-10am, then you have 400 plus riders race down the track and then your race run is at 4:20pm. so you have to take some risk going in to sections without knowing what they’re going to look like.
How many times did you change your bike set-up on race day?
I went a little stiffer on my fork and that was it.
What went through your mind when the rain came down just before race day?
It didn’t bother me, I knew Arron, Gee and myself were all starting round the same time so conditions would be that same for the 3 of us.
Being a part of the Syndicate, how do you help each other at an event like the World Champs?
Just by lifting each other up, we talk about lines, practise sections together, if one of us is not feeling up to speed he can hop on to the back wheel and one of us will tow them back up to speed.
You can see that the Syndicate is a close knit team as you were basically the only team to take the two big jumps on the world track by hitting the small line on the first jump and the bigger on the second. What else did you find worked for you and what other tricks did you guys have up your sleeves?
Not really anything, more the strategy on how to race that track.
Did you know that you were on a winning run as your came down the mountain?
You know you have had a fast run, you just don’t know how it’s going to compare to the others.
Which riders did you feel could be a threat on race day?
Definitely Gee Atherton and Aaron Gwin.
What did your teammates Steve Peat and Josh Bryceland say to you when you got to the bottom?
I Can’t remember, I couldn’t believe what had just happened.
Minnaar in the streets of San Fancisco:
We can only imagine what the after party was like. Any stories you can tell us about the night?
You know it was Peaty’s 20th world champs so we had planned a private surprise party for him. Yip things went as usual, you know how a celebration would end up!
You have just got to Norway for the last round of the Downhill MTB World Cup. What can we expect from you at the world cup race?
Yip I’m in Norway now, freezing my ____ Off. I want to get out this weekend and do the World Jersey proud and maintain my 2nd overall.
You have mentioned before that you think you have about 5 year of downhill racing left in you. What are your plans for the years left racing and for when you hang up the bike?
To keep winning as many races as I can, it’s hard these days with the level of the sport, I feel pretty motivated for next season, I need to turn the curse of the World champs jersey.