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Aaron Gwin looking determined in practice onboard his 650B Specialized Enduro Proto - photo by Duncan Philpott

For the first time in the 2014 World Cup, the start gate beeps meant something today. They meant it was time to throw down a qualification run, with UCI World Cup points on the line. And it meant we would get our first answers as to who's really on form at this point in the season, and in some cases, in the rider's career.

In case you haven't already, now's a good time to place your Vital OTB bets to try and win a X01 DH drivetrain from SRAM!

2014 Pietermaritzburg UCi World Cup DH Qualifications - Men's Elite

Well well well, looks who's back at the top of the leaderboard. Seeing Gwin right back up there confirms our feeling that a quiet offseason to regroup was just what he needed. And what to say about Ratboy - hooting, hollering, and PINNED! The track changes have clearly played to his strengths, as he appears to have been untouchable through the top section of the course - showing us up in the Power Rankings big time too. But none of that is as impressive as Minnaar coming in third, 2.6 seconds off the pace, while riding at what he says is still far from 100%. Home course advantage for sure, but this is the mark of a champion. Top-10 for Sam Dale will see him well pleased, while Atherton, Gutierrez, and Hart will all be looking to do better tomorrow.

We don't know at this point what happened to Hannah and Ropelato - crashes or flats, most likely.

Rank Name UCI Code Team Result
1 GWIN Aaron USA19871224 SPECIALIZED RACING DH 4:05.298
2 BRYCELAND Josh GBR19900323 SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE +2.538
3 MINNAAR Greg RSA19811113 SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE +2.621
4 BRUNI Loic FRA19940513 LAPIERRE GRAVITY REPUBLIC +3.669
5 BLENKINSOP Samuel NZL19881028 LAPIERRE GRAVITY REPUBLIC +3.834
6 BROSNAN Troy AUS19930713 SPECIALIZED RACING DH +4.104
7 MULALLY Neko USA19930219 TREK WORLD RACING +4.180
8 BEER Nick SUI19870917 DEVINCI GLOBAL RACING +4.879
9 HILL Samuel AUS19850721 CHAIN REACTION CYCLES.COM / NUKEPROOF +6.727
10 DALE Sam GBR19900212 MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM +6.787
11 SIMMONDS Matthew GBR19870520 MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM +7.292
12 COLE Cameron NZL19880203 COMMENCAL / RIDING ADDICTION +7.464
13 PEKOLL Markus AUT19871013 MS MONDRAKER TEAM +7.907
14 FISCHBACH Johannes GER19880304 RRP GHOST +8.115
15 ATHERTON Gee GBR19850226 GT FACTORY RACING +8.692
16 GUTIERREZ VILLEGAS Marcelo COL19900509 GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM +8.725
17 PEAT Steve GBR19740617 SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE +9.101
18 BEAUMONT Marc GBR19840925 GT FACTORY RACING +9.192
19 HART Danny GBR19910920 GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM +10.067
20 GIORDANENGO Aurélien FRA19880422 HUTCHINSON UR +10.130
21 BRANNIGAN George NZL19920409 TREK WORLD RACING +10.962
22 SUDING Lorenzo ITA19860315
+11.586
23 ATKINSON Bryn AUS19821209
+11.620
24 THOME Patrick FRA19911020 GSTAAD-SCOTT +11.890
25 THIRION Rémi FRA19900423 COMMENCAL / RIDING ADDICTION +12.174
26 FEARON Connor AUS19940119 KONA FACTORY TEAM +12.226
27 CAUVIN Guillaume FRA19940521 HUTCHINSON UR +12.335
28 FAIRCLOUGH Brendan GBR19880110 GSTAAD-SCOTT +12.497
29 FERREIRO PAJUELO Antonio ESP19900103 EVIL VENGEANCE TOUR +13.362
30 HEATH Harry GBR19910805 ORANGE DIRT WORLD TEAM, O'NEAL +13.387
31 LEIVSSON Isak NOR19931017
+13.972
32 CUNNINGHAM Ruaridh GBR19890215 UNIOR TOOLS TEAM +14.021
33 PAYET Florent FRA19861121 EVIL VENGEANCE TOUR +14.519
34 ODENDAAL Tiaan RSA19941106
+14.601
35 GEORGES Pierre Charles FRA19860206 LAC BLANC/SCOTT +14.959
36 WILLIAMSON Greg GBR19920608 TREK WORLD RACING +15.165
37 SPAGNOLO Damien FRA19850428 MS MONDRAKER TEAM +15.465
38 BRAYTON Adam GBR19881019
+15.981
39 FIGARET Faustin FRA19931107 COMMENCAL +15.990
40 GARLICKI Stefan RSA19900912
+16.878
41 LUCAS Dean AUS19950502 DEVINCI GLOBAL RACING +16.907
42 SMITH Joseph GBR19900704 CHAIN REACTION CYCLES.COM / NUKEPROOF +16.924
43 PANDUR Ziga SLO19910117 UNIOR TOOLS TEAM +17.092
44 JOHANSEN Zakarias Blom NOR19921125
+17.460
45 MOLLOY Harry GBR19910530 RRP GHOST +17.849
46 CONNELL Joseph GBR19940320 SC INTENSE +17.905
47 JACKSON Eliot USA19900619 PIVOT FACTORY DH TEAM +18.547
48 NEETHLING Andrew RSA19840805 GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM +18.623
49 SLAVIK Tomas CZE19870612
+18.646
50 WALKER Matthew NZL19900324 BANSHEE BIKES FACTORY TEAM +18.769
51 RUFFIN Thibaut FRA19841030 COMMENCAL / RIDING ADDICTION +18.810
52 MOIR Jack AUS19940208 BERGAMONT HAYES WORLD TEAM +19.071
53 KERR Bernard GBR19910216 PIVOT FACTORY DH TEAM +19.486
54 PARDAL Francisco POR19910116
+20.126
55 READING Jack GBR19881210 SC INTENSE +20.969
56 COUSINIE Fabien FRA19860814 HUTCHINSON UR +21.484
57 JARRIN MOLINA Mario José ECU19840125
+21.895
58 JAUCH Jasper GER19910721
+22.152
59 CHARVAT Matej CZE19851126 BANSHEE BIKES FACTORY TEAM +22.347
60 BULL Samuel RSA19940322
+23.416
61 FAYOLLE Alexandre FRA19950720
+23.710
62 SMITH Brent AUS19950429
+24.243
63 STUTTARD Mathew GBR19930604
+25.643
64 NEETHLING Jonty RSA19860717
+26.334
65 BROWN Hayden RSA19901227
+26.731
66 MACDONALD Brook NZL19911125 TREK WORLD RACING +26.746
67 BENTLEY Timothy RSA19920723
+27.103
68 DI PASQUALE Charly FRA19900704
+27.531
69 RUFFIN Gaetan FRA19910629 COMMENCAL / RIDING ADDICTION +28.083
70 FEY Alasdair RSA19930319
+28.407
71 LOWE Josh GBR19941116
+29.428
72 KURTZ Cyrille FRA19860809 EVIL VENGEANCE TOUR +29.609
73 MASTERS Wyn NZL19870418 TEAM BULLS - DH +29.649
74 BARLIN Chris AUS19870504 GREEN TO GOLD RACE DEVELOPMENT +29.994
75 COLOMBO Francesco ITA19951209 GRAVITALIA SQUADRA CORSE +31.540
76 JONES Jono GBR19940813
+32.412
77 WILLIAMS Peter GBR19881117
+32.897
78 SHIMIZU Kazuki JPN19920426 MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM +33.151
79 BROWNING Travis RSA19890410
+34.987
80 HOGAN David RSA19921222
+35.187
81 MCGLONE Fraser GBR19940531 PERTH CITY CYCLES +36.143
82 BLAIR Lachlan GBR19951013
+37.042
83 ERLANGSEN Theo RSA19950815
+40.116
84 VAN DER MERWE Adi RSA19940303
+40.960
85 SPENCE Mike GBR19940919
+43.481
86 RUDMAN Dustin RSA19880221
+55.075
87 LOURENS Dirk RSA19780226
+58.572
88 DAVIDS Kyle RSA19941107
+59.534
89 MARTIN Shane RSA19940227
+1:09.669
90 SIEBER Andreas GER19820928
+1:40.310
91 NGUBANE Theo RSA19950827
+1:48.277
92 HANNAH Michael AUS19831121 HUTCHINSON UR +2:23.078
93 DU PLESSIS J P RSA19950703
+3:21.414

MASTERS Edward NZL19890818 BERGAMONT HAYES WORLD TEAM DNF

ROPELATO Mitch USA19920303 SPECIALIZED RACING DH DNF

JONES Michael GBR19950222 CHAIN REACTION CYCLES.COM / NUKEPROOF DNF

VAN EEDEN Duran RSA19920709
DNF

FRERICHS Ryan RSA19891022
DNF

PURCHASE Kelvin RSA19881003
DNF

NIEDERBERGER Noel SUI19950821 GSTAAD-SCOTT DNS

STOW Darryn RSA19851112
DN

Photo

2014 Pietermaritzburg UCi World Cup DH Qualifications - Women's

Manon Carpenter lays down the law in South Africa with a stormer of a qualification run, holding it wide open to go through the speed trap at 62 km/h, no doubt anxious to prove just what chumps we were to leave her out of the Power Rankings. We're glad to see Rachel still managing a decent run, given that she has been ill all week with a severe bacterial infection. Can she recover a bit more strength before race day tomorrow?

1 CARPENTER Manon GBR19930311 MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM 4:39.182
2 ATHERTON Rachel GBR19871206 GT FACTORY RACING +9.143
3 RAGOT Emmeline FRA19860527 LAPIERRE GRAVITY REPUBLIC +9.488
4 KINTNER Jill USA19811024
+11.223
5 HANNAH Tracey AUS19880613 HUTCHINSON UR +17.192
6 CHARRE Morgane FRA19900609 EVIL VENGEANCE TOUR +22.587
7 SEAGRAVE Tahnee GBR19950615 FMD RACING +24.462
8 NICOLE Myriam FRA19900208 COMMENCAL / RIDING ADDICTION +25.049
9 GRIFFITHS Fionn GBR19820827
+27.115
10 GATTO Micayla CAN19880821 PIVOT FACTORY DH TEAM +32.891
11 BROWN Casey CAN19901027 BERGAMONT HAYES WORLD TEAM +33.773
12 SIEGENTHALER Emilie SUI19860919 GSTAAD-SCOTT +33.871
13 BEECROFT Danielle AUS19950327 GREEN TO GOLD RACE DEVELOPMENT +41.329
14 MARTH Steffi GER19850819
+1:06.280
15 MARGGRAFF Diana ECU19840319
+1:10.641
16 MOLLOY Tegan ° AUS19960118
+1:12.467
17 PAASO Jaclyn USA19820318
+2:49.782

Photo

2014 Pietermaritzburg UCi World Cup DH Qualifications - Junior Men's

Luca Shaw getting it done for the US of A (with a time that would have seen him qualify in about 35th in Elite), and we're happy to see GT/Atherton's Taylor Vernon back in the mix after last year's back injury. Pure grit!

1 SHAW Luca USA19961225 SRAM/TLD RACING 4:19.081
2 VERGIER Loris FRA19960507 LAPIERRE GRAVITY REPUBLIC +5.624
3 VERNON Taylor GBR19960912 GT FACTORY RACING +14.237
4 VARLEY Aiden AUS19960816 AUSTRALIA +21.427
5 LALY Thibault FRA19970520 FRANCE +21.443
6 DORRIT Andrew GBR19970426 MS MONDRAKER TEAM +21.550
7 MATIAS Francisco CHI19961127 CHILE +22.202
8 ESTAQUE Thomas FRA19961115 LAC BLANC/SCOTT +24.433
9 HERD Sam GBR19960118 PERTH CITY CYCLES +25.224
10 BOUTIE Benjamin FRA19960517 LAC BLANC/SCOTT +27.091
11 MCCUBBING Frazer GBR19970208 STEVE PEAT SYNDICATE +28.949
12 SWINBANK Bradley GBR19970630 STEVE PEAT SYNDICATE +35.979
13 PHILOGENE Jonathan RSA19970214 SOUTH AFRICA +40.730
14 PRINS Jacques RSA19970708 SOUTH AFRICA +1:00.481
15 BRYANT Joshua RSA19961221 SOUTH AFRICA - B +1:03.917
16 SMALE Kevin RSA19960228 SOUTH AFRICA +1:16.298
17 CAMP Nicholas RSA19970915 SOUTH AFRICA +1:16.696
18 CARTWRIGHT Christopher RSA19970219 SOUTH AFRICA - B +1:23.674
19 PETERSEN Sebastian RSA19970701 SOUTH AFRICA - B +1:28.067
20 KEEGAN Grey RSA19970401 SOUTH AFRICA - B +1:40.646
21 USSWALD Tynan RSA19970516 SOUTH AFRICA +2:44.281
22 SCHAER Mike SUI19960616 SWITZERLAND +5:37.859
23 PIERRON Amaury FRA19960304 FRANCE +6:46.065

STEWART Neil GBR19970424 FMD RACING DNF

GRAHAM Innes GBR19960703 MS MONDRAKER TEAM DNS

CRIMMINS Andrew AUS19970809 KONA FACTORY TEAM DNS

BROWN Gregg RSA19961227 SOUTH AFRICA DNS

Photo

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