Rachel Atherton wins World Cup Round 4
06.25.12 Rachel Atherton of GT Factory Racing battled a dry and dusty track to take the win at Round Four of the UCI World Cup Series in Quebec Canada.
The youngest of the Atherton siblings made her intentions clear in Fridays qualifying run when she flew down the rough and technical Mt St Anne track a good 4 seconds ahead of French pair Myriam Nicole and Emmeline Ragot.
Could Rachel carry this great form through to Sundays finals? Rain overnight on Friday and also on Saturday afternoon dampened down the dust and improved conditions.
It was always going to be one of the French riders who would push Rachel for the number one spot. First up was reigning World Champion and current World Cup leader Emmeline Ragot. Ragot rode well on the upper sections of the course but found herself without a chain for the final 40 seconds of the track. Despite the mechanical she managed to go fastest by a huge 6.3 seconds setting a tough time for the final two to beat. Second fastest qualifier Myriam Nicole rode next. 1.8 seconds slower at split one Myriam dug deep on the middle sector to pull a second back sneaking in front of Ragot on her final charge to the line with a time of 4.51:811.
Only Rachel was left on track. Interval one was good, 3.6 seconds up on Nicole. Rachel seemed to tire through the middle sector dropping over a second but kept her cool on the lower section to boost the last jump and dive for the line 1.8 up on Nicole.
Rachel Athertons second World Cup win of the year closed the gap to the Overall World Cup Leader Emmeline Ragot to just 40 points as the riders head into next weekends round in Windham, New York. Im made up with todays result, I rode the top really well and didnt want to throw it away on the bottom - thats why my bottom splits dropped right off. Next weekend will be interesting, the girls are riding quick right now, its good to have that, were all pushing our game commented a jubilant Rachel.
Rachels brother Gee suffered one of the biggest crashes of his career in Thursdays practice session. Proving once again that hes one of the toughest riders on the circuit he picked himself up for a sixth place qualifier the following day.
With his knee bandaged and his shoulder strapped Gee took to the start line for his final run. With Australian Sam Hill in the hot seat Gee was looking good at Interval 1, just a tenth up on Hill. A strong ride through the rocky middle section put Gee 1.4 faster at Interval 2, slipping out on the final corner he lost a second but still crossed in the lead with a time 4.17:082 . Kiwi duo Brook McDonald and Justin Leov couldnt better Gees time leaving only three riders still on the track. Third seed Danny Hart pushed Gee hard all the way to the line and was paid off with a 4.16, South African Greg Minnaar went one better to clock a 4.15 with only fastest qualifier and current World Cup leader American Aaron Gwin left to ride. Gwin continued his dominant form with another win, clocking 4.14:022.
Im just happy to get through this weekend with a podium spot. Its going to take a while before I dont feel the effects of that crash said a sore Gee.
Pushing for another podium was team-mate Marc Beaumont. Qualifying 11th meant that he was in touching distance of making that happen but a mistake in the first rock section saw him hit a tree loosing valuable time and momentum. Marc was disappointed to finish in 21st but is even more motivated for next weeks round.