Pietermaritzburg – April 12, 2014 – After much anticipation, the 2014 season got underway last week under sunny skies and blazing heat for an exciting race in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Home of the 2013 World Championships, the course saw a few changes for 2014 to add more technicality for the riders. Awkward man made rock gardens, blown out dry soil, big jumps, 60+Km/h speeds, and a huge pedaling effort proved to be a challenging race course for everyone.

There is much more…so click on the entire story.

Team Norco International had a great start to the year, with Jill Kintner placing on the podium for 3rd, Bryn finishing 23rd after a nasty spill in practice, Lorenzo 26th, and Isak Leivsson 31st.

“ South Africa is a good venue for me. I have come 4th here for the past couple years, and for qualifying I was 4th again. My goal was to improve upon what I did last year so I was calm knowing that my fitness has improved, power is up, and pedalling is my forte. To finish 3rd, which is a personal best in World Cup Downhill, is exactly how I wanted to start this year. It feels good to work that hard in the off-season and see it pay off . Big thanks to the Team and all he people who have helped us get to this point! It was a really fun week.”

Jill coming into the high speed gully to reach 61km/h.

“ I am really happy to get a shake down race before heading to home soil in Australia. My bike felt good all weekend in South Africa, and after a bad crash and a concussion, I was relieved just to be able to race. This was a good result all things considered. Bring on Australia.”

Bryn over the hip jump near the finish line.

“The season is long, so finishing 26th at the first round is a solid result to build on. I was a bit tense before both quails and finals, with first race willies, so it’s nice to get that out of the way. All in all I am going into the next race knowing I have some speed left in the bag and I’m confident I can do better. Pretty excited for Cairns!”

Lorenzo bringing it home for Italy.

“Great first race with the team, really a lot of help. Although I felt I had more speed at the top for the finals, I was happy with my effort, and that was a pretty good result coming back from my broken femur last August.”

Isak steezing into the “Bomb hole”

Brill, celebrating.

1. Mannon Carpenter – GBR
2. Rachel Atherton – GBR
3. Jill Kintner – USA
4. Myriam Nicole – FRA
5. Emmeline Ragot – FRA
6. Tracey Hannah – AUS
7. Tahnee Seagrave – GBR
8. Morgane Charre – FRA
9. Emilie Siegenthaler – SUI
10. Fionn Griffiths – GBR

1. Aaron Gwin – USA
2. Mick Hannah – AUS
3. Greg Minnaar – RSA
4. Loic Bruni – FRA
5. Troy Brosnan – AUS
6. Sam Blenkinsop- NZL
7. Sam Dale- GBR
8. Neko Mulally – USA
9. Sam Hill – AUS
10. Gee Atherton – GBR

23. Bryn Atkinson – AUS

26. Lorenzo Suding – ITA

31. Isak Leivsson – NOR

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