Today was one for the archives with a spectacular win for Rachel and a nail-biting second for Gee that shows he’s right back where he should be. The juniors both podiumed in third, Charlie put yesterday’s qualification tension behind him with solid 29th place and we were team of the day – 2nd in the tem overall!
Racing from La Bresse today was savage. The course is the shortest on the circuit this year but the first rainy race of the season was absolutely brutal! Luckily the team’s training in the harsh Welsh environment stood them in massively good stead!
First up was Mille who said “ it was good, I wasn’t taking any risks after yesterday’s crash , keeping control, but I was just happy to be racing and getting down safe!”
She finishes the season 5th overall.
Then Kade, first qualifier yesterday took another third place and finishes his final season as a junior in third overall.
Then it was time for the Women’s Elites.
In “one of the hardest races” of her career; through fog, rain, and standing water Rachel laid down the power to take her 37th World Cup win. It was her 3rd win of the 2018 season and enough for her 6th World Cup Overall title – more than any other female rider in the history of the sport.
Rachel had qualified second to Tahnee Seagrave and she knew that today’s race would require something extra special. She said “I tried to think strategically – maybe I should have played safe and focused on the overall – I needed to come 4th or maybe 5th today to clinch the title but as soon as I’m in the start-gate I just want to race! Tahnee had such an epic run in qualis that I knew I’d have to go full blast!
Rachel was aggressive from the start, extending her lead every split to cross the line 11.66 seconds clear of the field. Only Tahnee Seagrave was left on course.
Tahnee fought valiantly but crossed the line 0.6 seconds back leaving Rachel to claim the spoils.
Charlie improved hugely on yesterday’s quals to finish a solid 29th.
Could it be a fairytale ending for the team? Gee had qualified first but the new rules meant that he started well down the field. When he came on track our friend and Atherton Academy graduate the Enduro star Martin Maes was in the hotseat after an absolutely spectacular run.
Gee went into the green by split 1, he dabbed a foot but extended by split 2 to 1.77 seconds clear, then he lost a little time and slip-slided through to the finish 1.39 back on Maes. It was a pattern that would be repeated all afternoon.
The team held their breath as rider after rider failed to get in touch with either Martin Maes or Gee, second place today for Gee and into the top 10 of the overall rankings at number nine.
Gee said “Massive congrats to my brother Martin Maes for that win, so stoked to finish the World Cup season on full charge!”
Pics : Sven Martin photo
1 Vali Holl 2.56.14
2 Paula Zibasa Sram Young Guns Racing 3.13.71 +17.56
3 Mille Johnset 3.14.62 +18.47
1 Thibault Daprela Commencal/Vallnord 2.34.29
2 Henry Kerr Propain Dirt Sixpack 2.35.01 +0.72
3 Kade Edwards Trek Factory Racing DH 2.35.04 +0.75
1 Rachel Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 2.51.42
2 Tahnee Seagrave Transition bikes/Muc-off 2.52.05 +0.63
3 Myriam Nicole Commencal/Vallnord 3.03.08 +11.66
4 Tracey Hannah Polygon UR 3.03.45 +12.03
5 Katy Curd 3.06.53 +15.11
1 Martin Maes GT Factory Racing 2.26.84
2 Gee Atherton Trek Factory Racing 2.28.23 + 1.39
3 Brook Macdonald MS Mondraker team 2.29.96 +3.12
4 Remi Thirion Commencal/Vallnord 2.30.62 + 3.78
5 Bernard Kerr Pivot Factory Racing 2.31.0 4.16