How she does it, we may never know, but Rachel Atherton has had an incredible race season this year. Scooping up every top spot in the UCI World Cup, Rachel has smashed records and secured herself an eternal place in the MTB Hall of Fame.
There's always an air of uncertainty when an athlete signs with a new team, and when Rachel Atherton and her posse signed with Trek, we were all a little hesitant. Not only does the rider have to get familiar with a new bike, but there may - or may not - be additional mental pressures to perform.
Fortunately, Rachel Atherton took her move to Trek all in her stride as we saw her in Round 1 at Lourdes, she was sailing her new Trek Session downhill rig to the finish line, effortlessly.
Getting off to a flying start, it was in Leogang this year that Rachel broke the record for achieving 10 consecutive World Cup wins. With a number of rounds to go, we all wondered if this would be a perfect season for the star, or would young Tahnée Seagrave nab a win in the closing rounds.
... and she nearly did! The Lenzerheide round of the UCI World Cup had us all sat on the edge of our seats, and holding our breath as Tahnée and Rachel went head to head for the coveted 1st place. Tahnée, who's had an incredible season nipping at Rachel's heels, was on fire as she crossed the finished line less than a second behind the World Champion.
The closing 7th round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup took place in Vallnord, Andorra at the weekend. After some crashes in qualifiers, athletes were commenting on the difficulty and dusty conditions of the track.
On race day, it was ultimately Rachel's show to secure herself the win with a 7 second lead over Tracey Hannah. The final round results were:
- Rachel Atherton (GB) - 4:52.783
- Tracey Hannah (AUS) - 4:59. 351
- Myriam Nicole (FR) - 5:00.757
- Manon Carpenter (GB) - 5:01. 594
- Tahnée Seagrave (GB) - 5:04.876
With that win under her belt, Rachel Atherton had won the UCI Mountain Bike championship after a perfect season. With incredible perseverance, determination and skill, Rachel is not only a talented athlete, but an inspiring one for women's cycling.
Can Rachel keep the momentum this weekend for the UCI Mountain Bike World Champs this weekend in Val Di Sole?
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