Race Preview: UCI Downhill World Championships 2017, Cairns, Australia.

6th September 2017

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It’s World Championships! The 2017 season hasn’t been an easy one for the team but for Gee, Rach and Kade there’s a high note to finish with selection for the GB team in Cairns. They are gutted that Aussie team-mate Muddy didn’t make the cut to race his home country but big bro Dan Atherton has promised to keep him fully occupied in the Dyfi!

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Junior rider Kade will be repping his country for the first time while Gee has been World Champion twice before, in 2008 and 2014 and Rach has been Junior World Champ in 2005, Senior World Champ in 2008, 2013, 2015 and 2016, of course she goes into this race as reigning Champion but will her return to fitness be far enough advanced to allow her to defend her title?

Cairns has some positive associations for the team – there was a joint victory here in 2014 (when Gee famously borrowed a spectators shoes trackside so he could ride flats) and Rachel took the 2016 win by 7 seconds – even after “Running down the hill after her bike” in quals!

Riders: Gee Atherton, Rachel Atherton and Kade Edwards

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Mechanics:Joe Krejbich, Piotr Michaliszyn
Support Team: Dan Brown, Tim Morris (Podium Catering) Matt Staggs (videographer)
Bikes:Trek Session 9.9 see our facebook for full gallery of the rad new custom paint jobs
Race guide: 327m descent across 1.9km of tropical rainforest! There will be rock gardens, some very tricky roots which caused havoc in the wet Saturday of 2016 and a super-tough pedal section which will seem all the crueler in the tropical heat! The bottom section of the track gets super-tight and rooty right up to the fast sprint to the finish!

Weather:
 Hot (27 degrees) and partly cloudy – rains aren’t looking too likely so its going to be super-dusty out there – unlike previous “peanut butter fests!”

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History : In 2014 both Atherton siblings dominated World Cup Round 2 taking their wins by huge margins with 11 seconds clear for Rachel in the Women’s Elite and 4.2 seconds for Gee in the Men’s. The race was won on the flatter bottom section in a massive show of strength as the siblings “rode through glue” But this year looks dry! 2016 was dry for Finals but Rach showed she can boss this track in all weathers!

Val Di Sole, UCI MTB,

Current Perspectives:
Rachel: Cairns is lush, the last few days have been like an amazing holiday but I cannot wait to get racing!!!
Gee: It’s a bit different to the Dyfi but I’m buzzing to get out there!
Kade: Its been awesome, all the ceremonies and a rad new look for my bike – “letsavew!”

Catch all the action on Red Bull TV and the BBC Red button, remember Cairns is 9 hours ahead of BST so Kade’s race run will be sometime after 1am Sunday morning with Gee and Rach up after 4am and 5 am respectively!

Pics: Sven Martin

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