“It’s been such a great time back home catching up with family and friends, but I’m looking forward to get it all going again,” he said.

Three-time World MTB Downhill Champion and multiple World Cup medallist Greg Minnaar has kept himself rather busy off the bike during his time at home, but is looking forward to getting going at the first UCI Downhill World Cup in Lourdes, France, on 29 April. Credit: Santa Cruz Syndicate

Minnaar has had a great break during the off-season, but has by no means been resting. He said: “It’s been a very busy few weeks. I have been in the process of building a new house, so that has been quite stressful. I’ve also been doing some filming with three various TV crews so that also took up quite a lot of my time – so I’ve been doing a lot.”

He has also been busy with the launch of his re-vamped family bike shop in Pietermaritzburg, Greg Minnaar Cycles. “It’s been very exciting seeing it all come together, but also super busy. I guess you could say I’m pretty good as a site manager now,” he laughed.

Minnaar has also been pushing hard to develop a new bike. “I’m busy with the prototype now, and really excited to have it all done and revealed really soon,” he added.

South African Downhiller Greg Minnaar has been in Portugal for bike testing for a week ahead of the first UCI Downhill World Cup in Lourdes, France, on 29 April. Credit: Santa Cruz Syndicate

When chatting about the new Santa Cruz Syndicate Team roster, Minnaar said: “So we have Luca Shaw (USA) and Loris Vergier (France) who have joined us, and it’s all very exciting for the team. We spent a week in Italy bike testing with them, which was the first time that we all got to do some real riding together. They are both great guys and we’re having a good time together already.

“Of course it’s going to be different with new team riders, but we are going to try and replicate what we had before as much as we can, because it was a great recipe.”

With Team Manager Kathy Sessler and Mechanic Jason Marsh still on board, Minnaar is confident that the two new recruits will add some fresh flare to an already epic concoction.

Minnaar has been in Portugal for some bike testing for a week ahead of the first World Cup, and says: “I’m really happy to get to do the testing, it’ll be the time I need to get myself really focused on the downhill bike because I haven’t been spending as much time on it as I could be. But having said that, fitness-wise I’m feeling good, and strong. I don’t have too many seasons left in me, so I have to give it my all.”