It’s the perfect end to the perfect season and Rachels fifth World Championship!
In a break from World Cup traditions World Champs doesn’t feature a qualifying round so riders take to the hill in reverse order of their UCI Ranking.
In timed training Rach scored first place in 4.20. 191 despite a mistake in the top section but Tracey Hannah (2nd in the rankings) was just 0.59 seconds behind , French rider Myriam Nicole was in 3rd (9.7 seconds back with Brits Manon Carpenter and Tahnee Seagrave 4th and 5th respectively, 10 and 12 seconds back.
The weather has been dry in the run up to todays Finals and the track was rougher and more blown out than the riders had ever seen it before. The track is ridiculous steep, technical and even though there’s barely any pedalling it’s a massive test of fitness.
First up of the top 5 was Pompon, starting uncharacteristically early after a broken collar bone this season depressed her expected place in the World Cup rankings, she was up 12.6 seconds at the first split, which increased to 23 seconds up by split 2 , she crossed in 4.23.301 ( 3 seconds outside Rach’s time yesterday and 25.7 seconds clear of the field.)
With 4 riders left on track Tahnee Seagrave was straight on the gas, she made it through the first turns with a lot of speed but she was 13.16 back by split 1, 20 secs down by split 2, back 22 seconds 4.45 Then Tracey Hannah was on course, she in touch 4.11 back at split 1 that had stretched to 7 by split 2, crossing into 2nd .
Manon Carpenter went down hard in the first turn when her front wheel was grabbed by the dust.
Rachel must have seen her GB team-mate go down but she didn’t look like she was taking it any steadier just 0.637 ahead at the first split 3.154 at the second, there was a heart stopping moment as she almost stalled in the dust but she held it and crossed the line 3 seconds clear of the field.
Rach said “ I cant believe it, I felt sure that Tracey would go faster she’s been riding so well in the dust, I’m still nervous talking to Peaty and he’s up at the top ready and waiting to sweep, and I was thinking oh no – he’ll be sweeping me!! The track was so mad, like a controlled fall all the way. But this feeling now it’s the greatest, I want everyone to experience it. Thanks to everybody who’d helped me and supported me – I couldn’t have done it without you all.”
1 Danny Hart GB 3.32.484
2 Laurie Greenland GB 3.35.411 +2.927
3 Florent Payet FR 3.37.531 +5.047
4 Troy Brosnan AUS 3.38.573 +5.877
5 Bernard Kerr GB 3.39.123 +6.089
1 Rachel Atherton GBR 4.20.187 2 Myriam Nicole FR +3.114 3 Tracey Hannah AUS + 4 Marine Cabirou FR +24.507 5 Tahnee Seagrave + 25.299
Men: Danny Hart, Greg Williamson, Brendan Fairclough, Josh Bryceland, Laurie Greenland, Adam Brayton, Bernard Kerr Elite
Women: Rachel Atherton, Manon Carpenter, Tahnee Seagrave, Katy Curd.
Junior Men: Matt Walker, Charlie Hatton, Elliott Heap, Kaos Seagrave, Joe Breeden, Joe Parfitt, James Purvis
Junior Women: Aston Tutt
Pictures: Sven Martin