Racing was in fine form this past weekend, with both crowds and beer flowing right along with the course. Maribor, Slovenia was the location for the MTB Downhill and Four Cross World Cup round 5. Much like last year, Maribor threw every bit of bizarre weather in the hat for yet another amazing weekend of racing.
The UCI was forced to postpone the Downhill qualifying runs due to lightning and torrential downpours, so instead the 4X racing fired up for an amazing display of mud riding skills. Joost Wichman and Caroline Buchanan came out on top. These two SRAM athletes went to the top of the box to celebrate their second wins of the season. Joost had a couple of hair-raising moments early in the course, but near the end pulled off a great inside pass on Graves for the win. In the Womens 4X, Caroline Buchanan played it cool while current World Cup overall leaders Jill Kintner and Anneke Beerten tangled and took each other out. If Caroline keeps playing it smart, we should see this lady mixing it up for years to come. Congratulations!
In the DH final, many people were taken by surprise with the return of Fabien Barel. Fabien had been out with a serious knee injury much of the season, but he grabbed the hot seat early and stayed in it for the rest of the day. As the racing continued, what were once nasty and wet conditions began to look like they would become dry. This forced team mechanics into a frenzy of swapping tyres and cleaning bikes. The Monster Energy/ Specialized team had a great race, placing both Sam Hill (second) and Brendan Fairclough (fifth) onto the podium. Greg Minnaar finished in a solid third place.
In the overall series standings, Minnaar continues to hold onto his grip for the lead. Steve Peat is in second and Monster Energy/Specialized Sam Hill takes up third. There is a bit of a break before the circus skips over the pond for the two Canadian rounds, so stay tuned!
1 Fabien Barel (Fra) Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team
2 Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ
3 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ
4 Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing
5 Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ
1 Joost Wichman (Ned) SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ
2 Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team
3 Roger Rinderknecht (Sui) GT Bicycles
4 Romain Saladini (Fra) Team Sunn SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ
1 Caroline Buchanan (Aus) SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ
2 Melissa Buhl (USA) KHS
3 Anneke Beerten (Ned) Suspension Center SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ
4 Jill Kintner (USA) Red Bull/Intense/Crankbrothers SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ