She’s been untouchable all year, she’s raced with every fibre of her being, and now Rachel Atherton is your reigning UCI World Champion for 2016.
When it was first announced that Rachel and her band of brothers were moving to Trek, we were all a little curious to see how the 2015 World Champion would handle the move, and of course, the new Trek Session 9.9.
It wasn’t long into the race season before we could comfortably sit back in our chairs after seeing Rachel’s winning rides in Lourdes and Cairns. It was after round 4, in Leogang, where Rachel broke the World Record for the female with the most consecutive wins, having secured the World Cup top spot 10 time in a row.
The World Champ has been on top form all year, winning each of the UCI World Cup rounds with seconds to spare – except in the case of Lenzerheide, where young Tahnée Seagrave was a hair breadth behind the champ.
Having won every round of the UCI World Cup, Rachel had one race to go – The World Championships. With unimaginable pressure on the World Cup Champion to complete the perfect season, we eagerly took our places for the day’s spectacle. Taking place in the Italian Alps of Val Di Sole, the athletes had their work cut out for them on the killer downhill track.
The Val Di Sole track was a short 2.2km of rodeo riding, as we saw racers just trying to make it down the track more than anything. Some sandy sections on the steepest of tracks with hefty rocks, roots and ruts to throw off the riders – literally.
French rider, Myriam Nicole had a fab run on this brutal track. After suffering serious injuries earlier this year, Nicole has only been able to race 2/7 rounds of the UCI World Cup. Although she looked back on form after a solid run, crossing the line with the time of 4:23.301.
Tahnée Seagrave was hot out the start gate. Recovering from a bash up in Andorra, we knew Seagrave wasn’t feeling her physical best for this event. With less aggression in her riding today, she managed to survive the track, and cross the line in a time of 4:45.486.
Next up to ride was Australian, Tracey Hannah. With an blasting start, Hannah lost vital seconds in the techy tight switchbacks with the rutted out track. She sailed through to the finish with a time of 4:29.640.
The penultimate rider to make her way down was 2014 World Champion, Manan Carpenter. Carpenter’s season has been somewhat patchy, as it looks as though she’s been struggling to find the aggression to attack the track. Within the first few turns of the track, Manon went down hard. The front wheel of her Saracen Myst washed out on the loose dusty track, sending Carpenter straight over the bars and into a tumble, and unable to complete the course.
Last rider out was Rachel Atherton, and man did she send it. After the season she’s had, the coveted rainbow stripes almost seemed to belong to her before the race even began. Atherton sailed down the course without so much of a wobble, and making it look so effortless. She steams ahead and into the finish area with a winning time of 4:20.187.
- Rachel Atherton (GB) – 4:20.187
- Myriam Nicole (FR) – 4.23.301
- Tracey Hannah (AUS) – 4:29.640
- Marine Cabirou (FR) – 4:44.694
- Tahnée Seagrave (GB) – 4:45.486
That’s one hell of a perfomance from Rachel Atherton this year, but she’s not the only one who’s caught our eye. British rider Tahnée Seagrave was the closest to catch Rachel, but secured 2nd position in 3 of the World Cup rounds this year. Myriam Nicole returned from injury and took 3rd place in both rounds she race, and secured 2nd place today in the World Champs.
Until next season…
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