Downhill Mountain Bike Star Rachel Atherton Takes Val Di Sole By Storm
The downhill mountain bike circuit has been without one of its most prominent figures for most of the past two seasons. Rachel Atherton (GT Factory Racing) had been nursing a shoulder injury for much of that time, but this weekend at the second round of the Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy, she proved she is back and that she means business. The twenty-four year-old dominated the rough, technical course, finishing 4.485 seconds faster than any other woman on the course.
Atherton was the second to last rider to hit the dusty course, followed by the world champion Emmeline Ragot (MS Mondraker). Ragot had qualified first, but in the end could not contend with Atherton, finishing over eight seconds behind the winner for third place. Myriam Nicole of France (Commencal/Riding Addiction) was the first to break the four-minute barrier on a course that featured areas of soft dirt reaching levels as deep as 30cm in some places. Nicole’s lead didn’t last long. Atherton quickly followed with a weekend best 3:49.436.
“I still can’t quite believe it,” said Atherton. “The track here is so insane, it’s so long and physical and wild. I knew that if I was going to win it I had to put everything on the line. I had a pretty good run and nearly crashed a few times, but you’ve just got to risk it, and I wanted to win.”
Because Atherton did not compete in the first round of the World Cup, she sits in fourth place in the World Cup standings, behind Ragot in first, first round winner Tracey Hannah (Hutchinson United Ride) in second, and Nicole in third.
Congratulations to Atherton on an impressive performance in Italy and good luck the rest of the season!
1 Rachel Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing 0:03:49.436
2 Myriam Nicole (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction 0:00:04.485
3 Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Ms Mondraker Team 0:00:08.083
4 Floriane Pugin (Fra) Scott11 0:00:15.446
5 Morgane Charre (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr 0:00:20.301