Canadian Cyclist


July 2/06 9:07 am - World Cup Brazil: DH Men's Final

Posted by Editoress on 07/2/06

World Cup DH #5- Balneario-Camboriu Brazil
Courtesy 23 Degrees Sports

Matti Lehikoinen of Team G Cross Honda won his first ever World Cup Downhill race today, and the first for the team this season, in a thrilling race at Camboriu Beach in Brazil. The spectacular course of 1.4km in the tropical jungle, beachside in southern Brazil, proved to be ideal for Matti, and very unlucky for his team mate Greg Minnaar, who punctured while on track for a top result. Matti, who has never been on a World Cup podium, despite many near misses, took to the top step and sang the words of his national anthem in front of a huge and enthusiastic Brazilian crowd.

However it was a disappointing end to Greg's day after doing all that was necessary to keep the World Cup chase alive, finishing 3rd in the semi finals, and having the fastest intermediate time in the final; it was a sliced rear tyre in the final half of the course that caused a crash, and a subsequent 23rd place.

Early training on Friday saw slightly wet conditions, but the weather got better through the weekend and resulted in a perfectly dry day for the finals. In practice both Greg and Matti trained well, and despite hitting a tree hard on Saturday, Matti was confident he had the lines to get himself onto a podium, as he scored the 2nd fastest time in timed training, just 1/10 behind Peat. In the semi finals Greg's tactic was to once again score as many points as possible. He conceded 10 points to series leader, Steve Peat , but this was not considered a major concern on the overall points scheme. Matti put in a solid run but had more to come. His 6th place in the semis had him poised for a podium debut in the finals.

In the final Matti hit the intermediate point with the fastest time by two seconds, 1m 43.96secs, and took the hot seat as the race leader. Five more riders were to come and this turned out to be a very nerve wracking 10 minutes for the 22 year old from Espoo.

First down was Gee Atherton with a time of 2m 22.12secs, nearly 3 seconds slower than Matti. Next was Mick Hannah, winner of Round 1 in Vigo, and his intermediate time was dangerously close, but in the end, Mick was 1.5 secs back, and now Matti was looking at a possible top 3. Next was team mate Greg Minnaar, and his split was fastest at some 0.4secs faster than Matti. The crowd fell silent until Greg appeared on the giant screen, but soon after appearing on screen, he crashed. It was later obvious that he had a rear flat, his first ever in competition.

Greg congratulated Matti in the hot seat as he waited to see if the other big names in the sport would dislodge him. Steve Peat came closest, just 9/100ths of a second slower. By then Matti was literally shaking. Could his first ever podium be a win?

The final rider, Sam Hill, had the intermediate time of 1m 42.74secs, faster than Matti, but Matti wasn't ready to give up the seat yet as Matti's bottom half had been perfect. The crowd gasped as Sam Hill crashed in view of the finish area and Matti knew he had the win, an historic first ever male victory for Finland.

Matti Lehikoinen
"I really can't believe this, it's like a dream. I had a great run, I really lifted my speed, and I thought I'd done enough to get on the podium. I honestly didn't imagine this, I am so stoked. This is my 31st World Cup and I have been trying for so long. I'm not slow, I know I can do this, and today it all just came together. It's an amazing feeling and I'm very happy for my team, my mechanic Mark, and the whole Honda Racing crew. To win in Brazil is perfect, it's the next best thing to a home win because the people here are so supportive, that's why I took the Brazilian flag to the podium, to say thanks for all the support."

Greg Minnaar
"This is totally disappointing and frustrating. I have never had a puncture in a final in my whole career and it happens today, in the most important race of the year for the points chase. We've done everything right to chase down the title and to have something as simple as this happen - well that's racing I guess, but it is hard. Of course I'm super happy for Matti. He's worked so hard for this and I'm stoked he could take the win for the team today."

Team Director Martin Whiteley
"A very emotional day. I have worked with Matti since his first World Cup in 2001 and have always believed in him, even through the tough results, but today he has shown everyone that he is a champion in the making. On the flip side I'm very sorry for Greg who has really gotten past the crash in Vigo and had such momentum in the past few races, really doing everything right. He's still in 2nd place overall and he will fight to the end, but it's obviously a tough day for him. The World Championships are next month and that will be a new objective and challenge for 2006.

1. Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Team G-Cross Honda2:19.310
2. Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate2:19.400.09
3. Michael Hannah (Aus) Cannondale/The2:20.691.38
4. Gee Atherton (GBr) Team Animal / Giant2:22.122.81
5. Marc Beaumont (GBr) Team Mbuk Santacruz2:22.142.83
6. Markolf Berchtold (Bra) Maxxis-Msc2:22.272.96
7. Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Gt2:22.563.25
8. Cedric Gracia (Fra) Commencal2:22.593.28
9. Julien Camellini (Fra)2:22.793.48
10. Andrew Neethling (RSA) Mongoose Hyundai2:23.173.86
11. L. Leiva Antonio (Chi)2:23.384.07
12. Samuel Hill (Aus) Iron Horse Mad Catz2:23.544.23
13. Filip Polc (Svk) Gravity Group2:23.834.52
14. Mickael Pascal (Fra) Qbikes2:23.964.65
15. Chris Kovarik (Aus) Ms-Intense Factory-Racing2:24.154.84
16. Damien Mermoud (Sui) Suspension Center2:24.415.10
17. Nathan Rennie (Aus) Santa Cruz Syndicate2:24.735.42
18. Dan Atherton (GBr) Team Animal / Giant2:24.985.67
19. Oscar Saiz Castane (Esp) Giant-Racing-Team2:25.145.83
20. Justin Leov (NZl) Yeti Fox Racing Factory2:25.646.33
20. Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Racing Factory2:25.646.33
22. Claudio Caluori (Sui) Ms-Intense Factory-Racing2:25.776.46
23. Greg Minnaar (RSA) Team G-Cross Honda2:25.926.61
24. Dave Wardell (GBr)2:26.016.70
25. Neil Donoghue (GBr) Team Mbuk Santacruz2:26.427.11
26. Duncan Riffle (USA)2:26.937.62
27. Nataniel Giacomozzi (Bra)2:28.068.75
28. Cyrille Kurtz (Fra)2:28.509.19
29. Ivan Oulego Moreno (Esp) Massi-Abarth2:28.689.37
30. Felip Wermuth Da Costa (Bra)2:28.869.55
31. Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Gravity Group2:29.4510.14
32. Kieran Bennett (NZl)2:29.4610.15
33. Michal Marosi (Cze) Arbö Rsp Downhill Racing2:29.7710.46
34. Djone Fornari (Bra)2:30.0810.77
35. Mathieu Troquier (Fra)2:30.1610.85
36. Lars Peyer (Sui) Suspension Center2:30.7811.47
37. Cristian Soto (Chi)2:31.3912.08
38. Doron Cattoni (Bra)2:31.4812.17
39. Brendan Fairclough (GBr)2:31.8412.53
40. Volkmar Berchtold (Bra)2:32.2912.98
41. Santiago De Santiago (Arg)2:32.4413.13
42. Pierre-Charles Georges (Fra)2:32.9013.59
43. Anderson Furlanetto (Bra)2:32.9613.65
44. Tim Mackersy (NZl)2:33.3714.06
45. Jyunya Nagata (Jpn)2:34.0614.75
46. Felipe Vasquez (Chi)2:34.0714.76
47. Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze)2:35.3015.99
48. Dinno Cecchi (Per)2:35.5216.21
49. Cristian Araya (Chi)2:36.7817.47
49. Cristian Valdiezo (Ecu)2:36.7817.47
51. Franco Emanuel Riva (Arg)2:36.8017.49
52. Jose Escudero (Ecu)2:36.8517.54
53. Leonardo Griebler (Bra)2:37.3918.08
54. Mauro Javier Paladino (Arg)2:37.6718.36
55. Zac Williams (NZl)2:37.7218.41
56. Marion Wiese (Bra)2:38.6119.30
57. Robert Sgarbi (Bra)2:39.2319.92
58. Cristian Roth (Chi)2:39.9320.62
59. Leofacio Baptista (Bra)2:39.9420.63
60. Martin Raffo (Arg)2:40.0120.70
61. Bascunan Pablo (Chi)2:40.3221.01
62. Luiz Linhares (Bra)2:40.3421.03
63. Pablo Daniel Cingolani (Arg)2:40.7121.40
64. Marcio Ravelli (Bra)2:41.4022.09
65. Diogo Teixeira (Bra)2:41.5222.21
66. Gonzalo Rodriguez (Arg)2:41.6822.37
67. Mario Bacic (Bra)2:42.3623.05
68. Ivan Ortiz (Ecu)2:42.8323.52
69. Andres Sotomayor (Ecu)2:43.1223.81
70. Oscar Pelegrina (Arg)2:43.1723.86
71. Marcos Marra (Bra)2:43.6224.31
72. Felipe Contreras (Chi)2:43.9224.61
73. Ruben Garcia Ramon (Esp)2:46.8427.53
74. Christofer Schutze (Bra)2:47.2627.95
75. Bruno* Spader (Bra)2:47.6828.37
76. Wallace Miranda (Bra)2:48.5229.21
77. Pablo Maldonado (Chi)2:51.1531.84
78. Alejandro Ruiz Campos (Arg)2:57.3338.02
79. Ricardo Beccard (Bra)3:09.2049.89
DNF. Maurizio Acuna (Chi)
World Cup Standings
1. Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate898 pts
2. Greg Minnaar (RSA) Team G-Cross Honda720
3. Samuel Hill (Aus) Iron Horse Mad Catz696
4. Gee Atherton (GBr) Team Animal / Giant653
5. Michael Hannah (Aus) Cannondale/The Cut603
6. Nathan Rennie (Aus) Santa Cruz Syndicate599
7. Cedric Gracia (Fra) Commencal589
8. Marc Beaumont (GBr) Team Mbuk Santacruz586
9. Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Team G-Cross Honda559
10. Chris Kovarik (Aus) Ms-Intense Factory-Racing543
11. Julien Camellini (Fra)339
12. Fabien Barel (Fra) Kona Les Gets Factory Tea324
13. Andrew Neethling (RSA) Mongoose Hyundai306
14. Filip Polc (Svk) Gravity Group303
15. Mickael Pascal (Fra) Qbikes302
16. Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Racing Factory T257
17. Bryn Atkinson (Aus)248
18. Dan Atherton (GBr) Team Animal / Giant217
19. David Vazquezlopez (Esp) Maxxis-Msc195
20. Duncan Riffle (USA)168
21. Justin Leov (NZl) Yeti Fox Racing Factory T164
22. Neil Donoghue (GBr) Team Mbuk Santacruz156
23. Damien Mermoud (Sui) Suspension Center138
24. Bernat Guardiapascual (Esp) Maxxis-Msc134
25. Claudio Caluori (Sui) Ms-Intense Factory-Racing122
26. Markolf Berchtold (Bra) Maxxis-Msc110
27. Ivan Oulegomoreno (Esp) Massi-Abarth102
28. Oscar Saizcastane (Esp) Giant-Racing-Team95
29. Dave Wardell (GBr)90
30. Nico Vink (Bel) Dolphin83
31. Markus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost International Racin82
32. Leiva Antonio Leiva Antonio (Figuchi)81
33. Samuel Zbinden (Sui)81
34. Florent Payet (Fra)76
35. Fabien Cousinie (Fra)76
36. Cyrille Kurtz (Fra)72
37. Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Mojo Suspension72
38. Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra)71
39. Lars Peyer (Sui)69
40. Damien Spagnolo (Fra)69
41. Michal Marosi (Cze)67
42. Brendan Fairclough (GBr)64
43. Maxime Remy (Fra)55
44. Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)55
45. Jared Rando (Aus)54
46. Chris Ball (GBr)53
47. Kyle Strait (USA)48
48. Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl)43
49. Will Longden (GBr)42
50. Adam Vagner (Cze)41
51. Lee Bertram (GBr)40
52. John Kirkcaldie (NZl)37
53. Pasqual Canalsflix (Esp)37
54. Romain Saladini (Fra)34
55. Alan Beggin (Ita)33
56. Joris Bigoni (Fra)33
57. Ben Reid (Irl)27
58. Andrew Mitchell (Can)25
59. Nathaniel Giacomozzi (Bra)24
60. Amiel Cavalier (Aus)24
61. Frank Schneider (Ger)24
62. David Schatzki (Ger)23
63. Rowen Sorrell (GBr)23
64. Mathieu Troquier (Fra)22
65. Felipe Wermuth Da Costa (Bra)21
66. Ben Cathro (GBr)21
67. Kieran Bennett (NZl)19
68. Herman Olund (Swe)19
69. Jorge Aguincastro (Esp)19
70. Djone Fornari (Bra)17
71. Luke Strobel (USA)16
72. Thibaut Ruffin (Fra)16
73. Cristian Soto (Chi)14
74. Luke Kitzanuk (Can)14
75. Doron Cattoni (Bra)13
76. Antoine Badouard (Fra)13
77. Jurgen Beneke (Ger)12
78. Mario Jarrin (Ecu)12
79. Volkmar Berchtold (Bra)11
80. Tom Deacon (GBr)11
81. Santiago De Santiago (Arg)10
82. Richard Houseman (USA)10
83. Mario Schurter (Sui)10
84. Roger Gonzalezsalvador (Esp)10
85. Pierre Charles Georges (Fra)9
86. Cole Bangert (USA)9
87. Guido Tschugg (Ger)9
88. Yoann Barelli (Fra)9
89. Anderson Furlanetto (Bra)8
90. Naoki Idegawa (Jpn)8
91. Tim Mackersy (NZl)7
92. Dominick Menard (Can)7
93. Jyunya Nagata (Jpn)6
94. Ryan Condrashoff (USA)6
95. Luke Marshall (GBr)6
96. Ralph Jones (GBr)6
97. Felipe Vasquez (Chi)5
98. Sanjay Shanbhag (USA)5
99. Andre Wagenknecht (Ger)5
100. Richard Thomas (GBr)5
101. Joshua Toland (USA)5
102. Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze)4
103. Darren Pokoj (Aus)4
104. Dinno Cecchi (Per)3
105. Cody Warren (USA)3
106. Herrmann Ölund (Swe)3
107. Fergus Lamb (GBr)3
108. Cristian Araya (Chi)2
108. Cristian Valdiezo (Ecu)2
110. Lee Pincher (GBr)2
111. Ruben Garcia Ramon (Esp)1
112. Remy Charrier (Fra)1


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