Rachel Atherton remains the fastest woman in the world, securing her sixth, record-breaking title on the slopes of the La Bresse downhill course last week. The Trek Factory Racing rider claimed victory in three rounds this season on her way to overall glory, piloting the super-speedy Trek Session throughout the year.
How the title was won
Atherton may have only needed a top four performance to secure her sixth overall World Cup title, but – true to character – flew down the wet and rough course in La Bresse to take the overall in style. She stopped the clock at 51.421 seconds, beating up and coming talent, Tahnée Seagrave, by a mere 0.638 seconds. The win in La Bresse notched up a third round for Atherton, adding to her victories in Leogang, Austria and Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, earlier in the season.
The British duo of Atherton and Seagrave engaged in a fierce duel throughout the season, both taking three rounds apiece on their journeys to 1st and 2nd overall. The one-two for Britain continued the dominating run for the nation, 15 podium positions at the UCI Downhill World Cup since 2011. While the two remain rivals on the trails, there is undoubtedly a friendly bond between the pair – veteran Atherton preparing to pass the mantle to the younger Seagrave as she enters the twilight of her own career.
The pair will face each other, as well as France’s Myriam Nicole and Australia’s Tracey Hannah, at the upcoming UCI Downhill World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland this Sunday. If Atherton takes her fifth title this weekend, she’ll break yet more records and become the most decorated rider in downhill mountain bike history.
Form seems to suggest that the Trek Factory Racing rider will take the title, and with no downhill event in the upcoming Olympics, this a do-or-die situation for Atherton, a race she describes as, “our Olympic final”. She’s won on this track twice in the past and will be eager to rag her Trek Session to gold this Sunday, retribution for her injury marred World Championships last time around.
The record-breaking bike
Aboard the proven race-winner, the full-carbon Trek Session 9.9, Atherton has been treated to some of the very best downhill tech on the market this season. Taking advantage of the longer and more aggressive geometry of the Session, Atherton was able to attack the pedals with her classic no-frills, powerful style, adding even more speed to her death-defying runs.
The Session comes equipped with a practical Mino Link feature and adjustable headset system to allow each rider to fine-tune their ride between every run. Getting the feel of a course is essential for posting a fast time, but being able to fine-tune your bike’s angles is the answer to winning races – just ask Atherton.
Atherton fully customises her Trek Session, switching to durable and reliable Hope, Renthal and MRP components for the 2018 session. In the suspension department, she opts for a twin tube DHX2 matched with a 2019 Grip2 Fox 40 that offers sublime rebound and compression adjustment in the front and rear. Slapping on a pair of Bontrager G5 downhill tyres, Atherton is assured confident traction no matter the wet terrain under her wheels – her recent win in La Bresse testament to this.
Atherton’s baby blue chassis is adorned with purple accents to create a stunning aesthetic, even when plastered with mud and grime. It’s the envy of many on the downhill scene and may just receive a new, rainbow inspired paintjob in the coming weeks to keep those heads turning.
If ragging trails at high-speeds and channelling your inner Atherton is on your to-do list, make sure you check out our full downhill range to find your own, perfect rig. Rainbow bands sold separately.