Rachel Atherton Wins Downhill World Championships


Australia’s Tracy Hannah took an early lead with a good time of 4.40.438, she held on to the hotseat through the next ten riders as nobody else got close. In the top 6 Myriam Nicole rode a great technical top section but wasn’t fast enough to podium, 15 seconds behind Hannah. Floriane Pugin was 7 seconds off the pace then Morganne Charre the current World Champion was on course. Charre was 3rd at split 1 but dropped off in the mid-section to finish 6th. Everybody agreed that once the tough technical top section was done the key to this track was to have the strength to smash the pedally mid-section – and to keep the momentum through a series of big jumps. Manon Carpenter has both strength and technical ability in spades so expectation was high but she crashed in the top section which left her 34 seconds back at split 1.

Only Emmeline Ragot and Rachel were left on the mountain. Ragot gave 110% in a brave ride that saw her destroy Hannah’s time by almost 4 seconds but her stay in the hotseat was to be brief as Rachel tore down the hill. Already 1.73 seconds up at split 1 she powered through the brutal mid-section to clock 8.1 seconds clear at split 2, crossing the line at 4.28.03 – 12.395 seconds up on Hannah and 8.632 seconds up on Ragot.

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Rachel said “It hasn’t sunk in yet, I’m exhausted, I was wondering if I’d ever win this World Championships again but I so wanted those stripes. In the middle section the crowd were roaring and I was just saying to myself, dig, dig, dig. So I dug!”

The Brit hasn’t won the Championship title since 2008 but today stamped her authority on the sport with her second senior World title while leading the World Cup Series that runs in conjunction with the World Championships.