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Rachel Atherton

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Nationality: British
Birth Date: 6 December 1987
Birth Place: Wells, UK
Resides: Llanrhaeadr, Wales
Height: 1m 73
Weight: 66kg
Nick Name: Rachybox
Discipline: Downhill

Rachel Atherton is the most awarded British mountain-biker in the history of the sport. As well as 9 UK National titles she is 5 times Downhill World Champion, 5 times Downhill World Cup Overall Champion, twice European Champion and the proud owner of 33 World Cups.  As we head into 2017 she is enjoying a well-earned breather in the midst of a record-breaking run of 13 consecutive World Cup wins!

2015 and 2016 were vintage years for Rachel who dominated the women’s downhill field.  In 2015 only long-time rival Emmeline Ragot got close to Rachel all season with her victory at Lourdes, Round 1, (Rachel was second) After that there was no looking back as Rachel went on to secure  6 out of 7 World Cup Rounds, the Overall Series title and a World Championship win.

2016 saw Rachel continue her triumphant progress to take mountain-biking’s first ever “Perfect Season” with 7 wins out of 7 World Cup rounds as well as the World Championships. The icing on the cake came in the form of the BT Action Sportswoman of the year Award when Rachel secured a landslide victory with 63% of the public vote – putting Downhill Mountain-biking firmly on the mainstream media map.

But it hasn’t all been plain-sailing. Rachel has proved her physical and mental strength in overcoming adversity countless times since she began racing BMX  at 8 years old and mountain-bikes when was 11 By the time she was 20 she had already won the World Cup Series Overall and a World Championship but a freak accident with a truck put her out of racing for the entire 2009 season, and led to a series of seven painful operations that left her with reduced power in her right shoulder.

But perhaps the hardest trial of all came in 2014 when she picked up a glandular fever type illness at Round 1 of the World Cup in South Africa. The infection lingered through the season, taking its toll on Rachel’s famous strength. She finished second overall in a season including a UK National Championship and 2 World Cup wins and finished 2nd by a cruel 0.08 seconds in the World Championships. Rachel was distraught but she came back harder and stronger than ever.

Rachel’s femininity, toughness and her honesty on issues such as body image mean that her appeal stretches beyond Mountain-biking.  She has done more than any other UK rider to put Downhill on the mainstream media map. She has been awarded Sunday Times Young Sportswoman of the Year, BBC Midlands Sportswoman of the Year, In 2015 she was named 23rd most influential woman in UK sport by the Independent and in 2013 and 2016 she was named BTSport Action Woman of the Year.

Rachel believes that nothing on earth compares with the feeling of “conquering a mountain” and has pledged to do all that she can to encourage other young women to try this awesome sport. In 2015 she began sponsoring the British Downhill Series Junior Women’s category and this relationship will continue into 2016.

Anytime not spent on her bike this year is likely to be spent practising yoga, undertaking vast DIY projects with boyfriend Olly at their new house in the forest or relaxing with her dog, a GSP called Caio.




Career Highlights

2016  WC DH Series Winner
 WC DH Rd 1 Lourdes 1st
 WC DH Rd 2 Cairns 1st
 WC DH Rd 3 Fort William 1st
 WC DH Rd 4 Leogang 1st
 WC DH Rd 5 Lenzerheide 1st
 WC DH Rd 6 Mount St Anne 1st
2015 WC DH Series Winner 1st
WC DH Rd 2 Fort William 1st
WC DH Rd 3 Leogang 1st
WC DH Rd 4 Lenzerheide 1st
WC DH Rd 5 Mont St Anne 1st
WC DH Rd 6 Windham 1st
WC DH Rd 7 Val di Sole 1st
World Championships, Andorra 1st
2014 WC DH Rd 2 Cairns 1st
WC DH Rd 7 Meribel 1st
2013 World Championship 2st
WC DH Series Winner 1st
WC DH Series team fastest overall 1st
WC DH Rd 1, Fort William 1st
WC DH Rd 2  Val Di Sole 1st
DH Rd 3, Vallnord 1st
DH Rd 5 Hafjell 1st
British National Championships 1st
2012 WC DH Series Winner 1st
WC DH Series team fastest overall 1st
WC DH Rd 7 Hafjell 1st
WC DH Rd 6 Val d’sere 1st
DH Rd 5 Windham 1st
DH Rd 4 MSA 1st
WC DH Rd 3, Fort William 2nd
WC DH Rd 2 Val di Sole 1st
Giant Air DH Crankworx Europe 1st
British Championships Moelfre 1st
2011 World Championships, Champery 2nd
WC DH Rd 5 Windham 1st
2010  2 x WC DH Maribor and Windham 1st
2008 WC DH Series Winner 1st
World Championship 1st

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