8 Jul 2019
Rach takes the win at brutal Andorra!
It's time to celebrate the 39th Rachel Atheron win in the DH World Cup! The suer blown out Andorran track made setting up the bike difficult, but both rider and bike prevailed to clinch the big win.
Andorra is renowned as “one of the gnarliest tracks on the circuit” and this year it was also the driest to date. Racing was characterized by heat, dust and a lot of crashes!
Every practice run created deeper ruts in the already rough course, making the track even tougher on both the bikes and riders. and perhaps the most severe test yet for the Atherton Bikes.
In the Women’s Elite race, overall leader Tracey Hannah had crashed multiple times in qualifications andunfortunately for her Finals, it was the same story (Tracey finished 3rd despite the offs!). 3rd place qualifier Rachel had ridden the fastest top split in her quals run and she followed this up with the early race lead. Rach carried a lot of pace through the next sections, still up 0.7 at split 3; she had a close call right after the split but nevertheless maintained her lead at split 4. She rode the entire course extremely straight and remarkably clean, staying in control to cross into the lead in 5.00.62.
2nd qualifier Marine Cabirou was 3.6 back at first split, but put on the pace to close the gap to 0.4 at split 4. The Atherton Bike team collectively held their breath. but Marine lost some time at the bottom to cross in 2nd.
At this point, only Nina Hoffman was left on course and 2.6 seconds back by the 2nd split. She had a very close moment in the woods and then another, before crashing and losing her shoe – she bravely rode down on her sock, but no podium today.
This victory represented Rachel’s 39th World Cup win, at a track where she and brothers Dan and Gee had taken an emotional triple World Cup victory back in 2008.
Rachel said “Everyone was going superfast! I was riding on the edge – I can’t believe I stayed on! I always favour the top section here, I just tried to send it and make a big gap – it was probably one of the hardest races I’ve ever done!”
Rachel's win closes the gap in the Overall to 60 points from Tracey Hannah’s series leading 790.