Lying second overall in the season’s points before the start of the race, Minnaar knew that he had to give it his all going in. This however, unfortunately ended in a crash which saw him finish 54th on the day. “I ended up fourth overall in the World Cup Series. But to me, fourth, second, third is all the same,” he said.
The Val di Sole gold medal went to Specialized Racing’s Aaron Gwin (USA), (who claimed the overall cup series title) ahead of the Lapierre Gravity Republic rider and young Frenchman, Loic Bruni (whose overall position was also second), followed by third place on the day and in the cup series overall, Specialized Racing’s Troy Brosnan (AUS).
The three-time World Champion was more than happy with his overall result, having been very doubtful about his own form going into the series. “Considering I started off with my hand injury and not being able to gather too many points in the first round, I was just stoked to be in that position. So for me to be in second and have a shot at first I had to go all in and put the pressure on Gwinnie in that final race. Unfortunately I couldn’t really deliver, but I think I would be more disappointed getting down with a smoother run and still be second overall than not saying I absolutely gave my all. It’s a tough one, but I went for it and unfortunately it unravelled the way that it did.”
The 33-year-old Santa-Cruz Syndicate rider will now spend a week in France testing with his team before friends from his home country fly over to join him and support his World Champs run in Andorra.
“It’s going to be an epic two weeks. Yeah there is a lot of pressure going into World Champs, especially with all my mates coming in. That always adds some pressure, but I don’t mind that kind of pressure,” he said.
Minnaar is confident with his preparations so far, and looks forward to exciting action in Andorra. “I think the testing that we’ve done there earlier this year is definitely going to be helpful. We’ve already set up the bike, we’ve had a good test on the track, and we know what it’s all about. We just have to go there and do the best we can. It’s been a great season for me. Everything’s fallen into place. Now we need to do this testing and hopefully that will give us just a little bit more out of what we are wanting to achieve so that we can go into Worlds and just give it our best again. I think the combination of going all in and the way that I normally ride is going to be the key to having a great result in Andorra. So let’s just hold thumbs and go for it.”