South Africa is sending a powerful team to the 2019 UCI mountain bike world championships, which is happening from 28 August to 1 September in Quebec, Canada.
Fielding riders in both the cross country and
downhill events, there will be no less than seventeen South Africans participating.
Seven riders will be competing in the elite
cross country and downhill events, with a strong possibility of medals.
Of these seven elite riders, three are women: Candice Lill, Mariske Strauss and Cherie Redecker. They will be racing in the cross-country event, which will see them lap the Mont-Sainte-Anne XCO circuit, notorious for its technical nature.
Two male riders will race that same
Canadian forest circuit. They are Alan Hatherly and Jan Withaar. Hatherly is a
former u/23 world champion, having won the 2018 title in Australia.
In the downhill category there are two South Africans competing, Greg Minnaar and Theo Erlangsen.
The greatest of all time – is one of our own
Minnaar is generally considered to be the
greatest downhill racer of all time, having raced professionally since 2000,
winning an incredible three world championships and an equal amount of world
cup series titles.
To place Minnaar’s tremendous riding record
in perspective, he has either won or podiumed at 11 of the last 20 mountain
bike world championships he’s raced.
Minnaar’s downhill teammate for the 2019
world championship is Theo Erlangsen. He is a talented 24-year old with outstanding
bike skills, which could see him surprise many on the technical Mont-Sainte-Anne
downhill track, which is fast, steep, and littered with rock gardens.
If team South Africa does gain a medal at this world championship, it will likely be credited to Minnaar. His riding record is unparalleled in an extreme sport where youth dominates, and injury curtails most careers. At 37-years of age he effortlessly remains a podium threat at each race he enters.
This year celebrates three decades of mountain
bike world championship racing, since the original event, held in Durango,
Colorado. The sport has surge in popularity since then, especially in South
Africa – which can rightfully claim to have produced the greatest mountain bike
racer of all time, in Pietermaritzburg’s Greg Minnaar.