Minnaar celebrating at the finish line

Andorra World Cup: Huge Weekend for Syndicate

The World Cup circuit was back at altitude in Andorra for the fifth round of XC and fourth round of downhill. This is definitely the time of year when riders are starting to think about overall points, and it’s vital to keep momentum going from here on out if they want a chance at the coveted leader’s jersey. With rain in the forecast, tire choice was going to be a crucial component for racing success during the week for both disciplines.

The Assegai on Nina's bike

First up was the short track (XCC) race. Ronja Blöchlinger of Liv Racing has had a dominant year on MaxxSpeed tires, taking yet another XCC win in U23 Women. In the Elite Women’s race, Ghost Factory Racing’s Anne Terpstra had a great day, finishing on the women’s podium in fifth place. Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) continues her impressive season, landing a bronze medal. Nino Schurter (Scott SRAM) rolled to a second-place finish in Elite Men, adding to his impressive medal collection from 2023.

Ronja winning the XCC Andorra

Next was the Junior DH World Cup. The course was loose and dry for these up-and-coming riders, and they put on a show. Valentina Roa Sanchez (Transition Factory Racing) has been acquainted with the podium quite a bit this year and took another silver medal in Junior Women. Sacha Mills (KWT Imports) followed close behind in fifth place. In Junior Men, Christian Hauser (UNION) showed his raw speed once again and sped to a second-place spot on the podium.

Junior Women DH podium

By the time the Elite DH race rolled around, the skies were darker, and the rain had arrived. Thankfully, it wasn’t a full-on mud fest, but the course was definitely affected, especially near the top where riders were most exposed to the elements. The Assegai and DHR II combo was the most popular for this track, and it propelled Santa Cruz Syndicate rider Nina Hoffmann to her first win of 2023. Marine Cabirou (Scott Factory DH) also represented Maxxis on the podium with a strong fourth-place run.

Nina on her way to victory

Nina on the podium

The Elite Men’s race was wild, with times coming down rider after rider. Although there were many impressive race runs, the most talked-about was Greg Minnaar’s (SC Syndicate). The 41-year-old blazed down the Andorra track, taking second place in front of racers who are nearly 20 years younger than he. Minnaar proved doubters wrong and clearly showed he still has what it takes to get on a World Cup podium.

Greg styling on a jump

Syndicate on the podium

The XCO races wrapped up the week in Andorra. Ronja Blöchlinger continued her success with a second-place result in U23 Women, and Luca Martin (Orbea Factory Team) was on the podium in third in the U23 Men. Puck Pieterse was the best-finishing Elite Woman in seventh place, and Nino Schurter in Elite Men came in twelfth.

Nino charging

Severe tire in Andorra

It’s been another thrilling week of World Cup action in Andorra, and we can’t wait for the next round in Loudenvielle this weekend!