A fast, dry course served up a dose of drama at the opening round of the 2014 UCI World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

American Luca Shaw opened up with a fantastic win in the Junior Men's class and Manon Carpenter backed up her winning qualifying run with a victory over the Elite Women's field. Rachel Atherton fought illness all week and managed a 2nd place with Jill Kintner earning a solid podium finish in 3rd.

The Elite Men's battle did not disappoint. Mick Hannah, a favorite at Pietemaritzburg had a lackluster qualifying run forced by a brake failure. The Australian dropped in with determination and focus to lay down a flawless run aboard his prototype Polygon bike. He took the lead over hot seat holder, Guillaume Cauvin by nearly 9-seconds with a 4:01.381, 4-seconds faster than Aaron Gwin's qualifying time. 20 of the fastest qualifiers remained. When riders like Gee Atherton and Marcelo Gutierrez posted times nearly 5-seconds off the mark, curiosity about the strength of Mick's time began to build as riders continued to fall short.

Sam Dale attacked the course to come within just under 4-seconds of Mick's time with a crash through the finish area. Mick's lead was being chipped away.

Flat pedal wizard, Sam Hill thundered through the technical upper section of the course earning the fastest split time at the moment, but the pedal section sucked his momentum away. Sam, returning from knee surgery, salvaged what he could, yielding the Aussie a respectable result with a long season ahead.

American upstart, Neko Mulally sprinted out of the gate and posted a fast time at the first split, but lost considerable time at the 2nd split after the pedal section. Despite the fade, Neko earned his first Top 10 World Cup finish. Heck yeah, Neko!

Troy Brosnan, who's been trying to bulk up in the off-season took a 2-second lead at split one, but was back at split 2 and couldn't make up the difference, finishing 1.9-behind Mick with five riders remaining.

Blenkinsop labored through the rock section, carried momentum through the pedal section, but could never make up enough to pull into the lead.

Loic Bruni made easy work of the rock section, 2.7-seconds up on the first split, but was robbed in the pedal section like everyone else so far and could not best Mick Hannah. 3 riders remained.

World Champ, PMB local and dangerman of the venue, Greg Minnaar smoothed out the rocks, earned fastest split time and charged through the pedaling. At the 2nd split, Greg remained up at the split, the first rider to do so. Incredibly, Greg lost 1.5-seconds in the final section and Mick remained in the hot seat, rejoicing on camera.

Surprising 2nd place qualifier Josh Bryceland mobbed the rocks and was up at split 1 when disaster struck in the form of a dropped chain. Raincheck for Ratboy.

Tension and emotion were at an all-time high with only Aaron Gwin remaining. Gwin's 1st place qualifier proved he's returned to form and his rock section time earned him a 3-second margin. After the pedal section, Gwin remained 2.3-seconds ahead and took the victory by crushing the final portion of the course by an incredible 2-seconds over Mick Hannah.

Elite Men's Downhill Results from Pietermaritzburg

Rank Name UCI Code Team Result
1 GWIN Aaron USA19871224 SPECIALIZED RACING DH 3:59.344
2 HANNAH Michael AUS19831121 HUTCHINSON UR +2.037
3 MINNAAR Greg RSA19811113 SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE +2.824
4 BRUNI Loic FRA19940513 LAPIERRE GRAVITY REPUBLIC +2.893
5 BROSNAN Troy AUS19930713 SPECIALIZED RACING DH +3.331
6 BLENKINSOP Samuel NZL19881028 LAPIERRE GRAVITY REPUBLIC +4.043
7 DALE Sam GBR19900212 MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM +6.003
8 MULALLY Neko USA19930219 TREK WORLD RACING +6.361
9 HILL Samuel AUS19850721 CHAIN REACTION CYCLES.COM / NUKEPROOF +6.851
10 ATHERTON Gee GBR19850226 GT FACTORY RACING +6.899
11 GUTIERREZ VILLEGAS Marcelo COL19900509 GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM +6.964
12 COLE Cameron NZL19880203 COMMENCAL / RIDING ADDICTION +7.867
13 SIMMONDS Matthew GBR19870520 MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM +9.133
14 PEKOLL Markus AUT19871013 MS MONDRAKER TEAM +9.460
15 GIORDANENGO Aurélien FRA19880422 HUTCHINSON UR +9.848
16 PEAT Steve GBR19740617 SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE +9.924
17 NEETHLING Andrew RSA19840805 GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM +10.896
18 CAUVIN Guillaume FRA19940521 HUTCHINSON UR +11.021
19 BEAUMONT Marc GBR19840925 GT FACTORY RACING +11.296
20 THIRION Rémi FRA19900423 COMMENCAL / RIDING ADDICTION +11.563
21 CUNNINGHAM Ruaridh GBR19890215 UNIOR TOOLS TEAM +11.827
22 BRANNIGAN George NZL19920409 TREK WORLD RACING +11.925
23 ATKINSON Bryn AUS19821209
+12.080
23 SPAGNOLO Damien FRA19850428 MS MONDRAKER TEAM +12.080
25 FEARON Connor AUS19940119 KONA FACTORY TEAM +12.314
26 SUDING Lorenzo ITA19860315
+12.537
27 THOME Patrick FRA19911020 GSTAAD-SCOTT +12.667
28 HART Danny GBR19910920 GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM +13.090
29 BEER Nick SUI19870917 DEVINCI GLOBAL RACING +13.143
30 PANDUR Ziga SLO19910117 UNIOR TOOLS TEAM +13.632
31 LEIVSSON Isak NOR19931017
+13.653
32 WILLIAMSON Greg GBR19920608 TREK WORLD RACING +13.673
33 GEORGES Pierre Charles FRA19860206 LAC BLANC/SCOTT +13.984
34 HEATH Harry GBR19910805 ORANGE DIRT WORLD TEAM, O'NEAL +14.450
35 MACDONALD Brook NZL19911125 TREK WORLD RACING +14.531
36 SLAVIK Tomas CZE19870612
+15.384
37 FAIRCLOUGH Brendan GBR19880110 GSTAAD-SCOTT +15.422
38 FIGARET Faustin FRA19931107 COMMENCAL +15.571
39 PAYET Florent FRA19861121 EVIL VENGEANCE TOUR +15.586
40 READING Jack GBR19881210 SC INTENSE +15.722
41 KERR Bernard GBR19910216 PIVOT FACTORY DH TEAM +15.872
42 BRAYTON Adam GBR19881019
+16.024
43 BRYCELAND Josh GBR19900323 SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE +16.434
44 FERREIRO PAJUELO Antonio ESP19900103 EVIL VENGEANCE TOUR +16.619
45 RUFFIN Thibaut FRA19841030 COMMENCAL / RIDING ADDICTION +16.860
46 MOIR Jack AUS19940208 BERGAMONT HAYES WORLD TEAM +16.891
47 WALKER Matthew NZL19900324 BANSHEE BIKES FACTORY TEAM +17.033
48 BENTLEY Timothy RSA19920723
+17.048
49 LUCAS Dean AUS19950502 DEVINCI GLOBAL RACING +17.085
50 MASTERS Wyn NZL19870418 TEAM BULLS - DH +17.243
51 SMITH Joseph GBR19900704 CHAIN REACTION CYCLES.COM / NUKEPROOF +17.490
52 JACKSON Eliot USA19900619 PIVOT FACTORY DH TEAM +19.337
53 GARLICKI Stefan RSA19900912
+19.943
54 PARDAL Francisco POR19910116
+20.216
55 ODENDAAL Tiaan RSA19941106
+20.893
56 CONNELL Joseph GBR19940320 SC INTENSE +21.080
57 BULL Samuel RSA19940322
+21.981
58 COUSINIE Fabien FRA19860814 HUTCHINSON UR +22.715
59 JAUCH Jasper GER19910721
+23.089
60 CHARVAT Matej CZE19851126 BANSHEE BIKES FACTORY TEAM +23.169
61 DI PASQUALE Charly FRA19900704
+24.646
62 JARRIN MOLINA Mario José ECU19840125
+25.089
63 FAYOLLE Alexandre FRA19950720
+25.249
64 NEETHLING Jonty RSA19860717
+25.480
65 SMITH Brent AUS19950429
+26.785
66 JOHANSEN Zakarias Blom NOR19921125
+26.802
67 RUFFIN Gaetan FRA19910629 COMMENCAL / RIDING ADDICTION +30.084
68 BARLIN Chris AUS19870504 GREEN TO GOLD RACE DEVELOPMENT +32.136
69 STUTTARD Mathew GBR19930604
+32.174
70 JONES Jono GBR19940813
+32.706
71 LOWE Josh GBR19941116
+32.801
72 COLOMBO Francesco ITA19951209 GRAVITALIA SQUADRA CORSE +32.985
73 FEY Alasdair RSA19930319
+33.802
74 SHIMIZU Kazuki JPN19920426 MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM +34.373
75 BROWNING Travis RSA19890410
+35.772
76 WILLIAMS Peter GBR19881117
+1:00.511
77 FISCHBACH Johannes GER19880304 RRP GHOST +1:16.797
78 MOLLOY Harry GBR19910530 RRP GHOST +2:11.779

KURTZ Cyrille FRA19860809 EVIL VENGEANCE TOUR DNF

BROWN Hayden RSA19901227
DNF

HOGAN David RSA19921222
DNF

Elite Women's Downhill Results from Pietermaritzburg

Rank Name UCI Code Team Result
1 CARPENTER Manon GBR19930311 MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM 4:34.923
2 ATHERTON Rachel GBR19871206 GT FACTORY RACING +3.908
3 KINTNER Jill USA19811024
+9.118
4 NICOLE Myriam FRA19900208 COMMENCAL / RIDING ADDICTION +9.728
5 RAGOT Emmeline FRA19860527 LAPIERRE GRAVITY REPUBLIC +9.739
6 HANNAH Tracey AUS19880613 HUTCHINSON UR +13.122
7 SEAGRAVE Tahnee GBR19950615 FMD RACING +17.362
8 CHARRE Morgane FRA19900609 EVIL VENGEANCE TOUR +17.477
9 SIEGENTHALER Emilie SUI19860919 GSTAAD-SCOTT +23.194
10 GRIFFITHS Fionn GBR19820827
+26.050
11 BEECROFT Danielle AUS19950327 GREEN TO GOLD RACE DEVELOPMENT +40.820
12 GATTO Micayla CAN19880821 PIVOT FACTORY DH TEAM +46.189
13 MARGGRAFF Diana ECU19840319
+47.247
14 MARTH Steffi GER19850819
+1:02.624
15 MOLLOY Tegan ° AUS19960118
+1:03.475

PAASO Jaclyn USA19820318
DNF

BROWN Casey CAN19901027 BERGAMONT HAYES WORLD TEAM DNF

Junior Men's Downhill Results from Pietermaritzburg

Rank Name UCI Code Team Result
1 SHAW Luca USA19961225 SRAM/TLD RACING 4:15.267
2 VERGIER Loris FRA19960507 LAPIERRE GRAVITY REPUBLIC +1.990
3 PIERRON Amaury FRA19960304 FRANCE +8.401
4 VARLEY Aiden AUS19960816 AUSTRALIA +12.109
5 BOUTIE Benjamin FRA19960517 LAC BLANC/SCOTT +14.464
6 MATIAS Francisco CHI19961127 CHILE +15.809
7 VERNON Taylor GBR19960912 GT FACTORY RACING +16.331
8 ESTAQUE Thomas FRA19961115 LAC BLANC/SCOTT +17.593
9 MCCUBBING Frazer GBR19970208 STEVE PEAT SYNDICATE +18.037
10 STEWART Neil GBR19970424 FMD RACING +18.390
11 LALY Thibault FRA19970520 FRANCE +18.941
12 SWINBANK Bradley GBR19970630 STEVE PEAT SYNDICATE +25.225
13 HERD Sam GBR19960118 PERTH CITY CYCLES +28.237
14 SCHAER Mike SUI19960616 SWITZERLAND +29.214
15 PHILOGENE Jonathan RSA19970214 SOUTH AFRICA +36.427
16 PETERSEN Sebastian RSA19970701 SOUTH AFRICA - B +1:01.051
17 CAMP Nicholas RSA19970915 SOUTH AFRICA +1:08.094
18 BRYANT Joshua RSA19961221 SOUTH AFRICA - B +1:13.656
19 KEEGAN Grey RSA19970401 SOUTH AFRICA - B +1:16.769
20 CARTWRIGHT Christopher RSA19970219 SOUTH AFRICA - B +1:20.325
21 USSWALD Tynan RSA19970516 SOUTH AFRICA +1:23.361
 22 PRINS Jacques RSA19970708 SOUTH AFRICA +3:10.944

SMALE Kevin RSA19960228 SOUTH AFRICA DNF

DORRIT Andrew GBR19970426 MS MONDRAKER TEAM DNS

How did the riders measure up to their Vital Power Ranking?

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