Greg Minnaar has climbed to second place in the UCI World Rankings following his World Championships victory at Val di Sole, Italy on Sunday. The 39-year-old South African is also currently third in the UCI World Cup Series rankings with just two rounds remaining, the first this week at Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Greg Minnaar’s win at the 2021 World Championships has moved him up to second on the UCI World Rankings. | Photo: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
Vergier finished fourth at Val di Sole, which gave him sufficient points to move from second up to first, while Minnaar’s win pushed him up to second from fourth. The season’s stand-out rising star, Thibaut Diprella (FRA), who crashed twice during his race run on Sunday, dropped from first to fourth, while compatriot, Loic Bruni stayed in third place. Minnaar is just 25 points down on Vergier.
There are currently three South Africans in the top 100 of the UCI World Downhill rankings, which were updated on 31 August 2021. Theo Erlangsen moved up three places to 62nd following his solid 36th place finish at the World Champs, while compatriot, Johann Potgieter (61st at World Champs) moved up six places to 98th.
Minnaar has been at No.1 in the rankings on a number of occasions in the past, but not for some time. He finished the 2020, 2019 and 2017 seasons ranked fifth and was down at 56th place at the end of the 2018 season, which was disrupted by a broken arm that saw him miss some key races. The last time Minnaar topped the World Rankings at the end of a year was 2012.
World rankings as at 31 August 2021:
1 Loris Vergier (FRA) 1342 pts
2 Greg Minnaar (RSA) 1317
3 Loic Bruni (FRA) 1241
4 Thibaut Diprella (FRA) 1221
5 Troy Brosnan (AUS) 1160
6 Matt Walker (GBR) 1145
7 Benout Coulanges (FRA) 1059
8 Danny Hart (GBR) 826
9 David Trummer (AUT) 725
10 Luca Shaw (USA) 684
62 Theo Erlangsen (RSA) 190
98 Johann Potgieter (RSA) 113
The World Rankings are worked out on a rolling 12-month basis adding all UCI points collected by riders in various UCI-graded events. Minnaar generally only competes in World Cup races and the World Championships and does the occasional European Cup or National Cup race in a European country.
If Minnaar has good consistency at the final two rounds of the 2021 World Cup in both qualifying and finals, he could well challenge for the top spot at the end of 2021. But it also depends on the performances of his rivals.