Mountain biker

Greg Minnaar

Greg Minnaar starts his day around the same time that farmers get up, finishing in the saddle around 7pm. You would expect no less from a man who has won 16 world cups, three overall Downhill World Cup titles, been crowned American national champion twice and even holds the honour of being the “most podiumed rider” on the circuit. Sensing his destiny, Minnaar dropped out of Grade 10 to race mountain bikes in Europe.

It was a risky move that paid off. In 2001, barely out of his teens, Minnaar beat Nicolas Vouilloz, 10 times world champion and his idol, to win the world title. In March this year, 30-year-old Minnaar was swamped by adoring fans when he snatched another World Cup win in his hometown of Pietermaritzburg. With so many titles under his helmet, Minnaar is making good on his mantra “don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today”.

— Cat Pritchard

Twitter: @Gregminnaar