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Minnaar edges closer to Nico

The chase for the overall World Cup downhill title has come down to one run — fastest man take all. That’s because Global Racing’s Greg Minnaar closed the gap between himself and Nicolas Vouilloz (Vouilloz Racing) to just eight points after posting the top time in Saturday morning’s semifinal at the World Cup finals in Mont-Ste-Anne, Quebec. By winning the semis Minnaar picked up 50 points, while Vouilloz was third earning just 30 points, finishing 3.02 seconds behind Minnaar’s time of 5:03.76. The point differential between any of the first six places in the finals would be enough push

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By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor

Minnaar was fastest in qualifying.

Minnaar was fastest in qualifying.

Photo: Jason Sumner

The chase for the overall World Cup downhill title has come down to one run — fastest man take all. That’s because Global Racing’s Greg Minnaar closed the gap between himself and Nicolas Vouilloz (Vouilloz Racing) to just eight points after posting the top time in Saturday morning’s semifinal at the World Cup finals in Mont-Ste-Anne, Quebec. By winning the semis Minnaar picked up 50 points, while Vouilloz was third earning just 30 points, finishing 3.02 seconds behind Minnaar’s time of 5:03.76.

The point differential between any of the first six places in the finals would be enough push Minnaar past Vouilloz.

If Minnaar can repeat his morning performance in Saturday afternoon’s finals he’ll become the first non-European to ever win the men’s overall World Cup downhill title. Vouilloz has won the last three overall titles and five of the last six.

Vouilloz on his way to third in the semis.

Vouilloz on his way to third in the semis.

Photo: Jason Sumner

Minnaar gained much of his time by jumping a rock drop in one of the many tight tree-lined technical sections. He cleaned it, likely picking up two or three seconds on the field. Nathan Rennie (Yeti-Pearl Izumi) was the only other rider to try it, and he crashed, dislocating his shoulder.

Intense rider Chris Kovarik was second fastest in qualifying, 2.14 behind, while Mickael Pascal (Be One) was fourth at 3.91.

In women’s qualifying, France’s Sabrina Jonnier (Intense) was fastest down the 3.14km-course that drops 2047 feet from top to bottom. Jonnier’s time of 5:45.96 was 2.80 quicker than second-place qualifier Fionn Griffiths (Ancillotti-Zeal). Missy Giove (Global Racing) was third at 3.15, with Anne-Caroline Chausson (Volvo-Cannondale) in fourth, at 4.17.

Chausson has already wrapped up the overall World Cup title by winning six of the previous seven races.

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