Queen of the Mountain: Rachel Atherton Wins In Norway - Clinches Second Career Overall World Cup Title
All she needed was a fifth place or better finish in Norway, but that’s not Rachel Atherton’s style. The British mountain bike star crushed a stacked field at the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup stop in Norway to claim the overall title for the second time in her career. Her win in Norway brought her season points total to 1450, putting her atop the women’s downhill mountain biking world once more. What’s even more impressive about Atherton’s season is that she was unable to compete in the first of seven World Cup stops due to a shoulder injury. Even with her absence in Pietermaritzburg, she was able to secure the season title.
Atherton was on point from the beginning of the Norwegian event, qualifying in first place, 6.9 seconds ahead of second place qualifier Manon Carpenter. Atherton’s main season long competition, Frenchwoman Emmeline Ragot qualified third, despite an almost costly mistake in one of the technical sections of the course. In the finals, Ragot owned the hot seat once the final three got their turn to ride. Carpenter fell during her run, leaving it Atherton’s race to win. Ragot’s first third of the course was more impressive than Atherton’s, leaving the final two thirds of the run for Atherton to make up some time. She did just that through the first major rock garden, claiming 1.1 seconds from Ragot’s leading time. In the final section of the course, Atherton doubled her lead; eventually finishing 2.2 seconds faster than Ragot, earning the Brit her fifth win out of the six World Cup events she was able to compete in this season. Her time of 4:01.545 was also enough to finish over eight seconds quicker than third place rider Morgane Charre.
“The track was ridiculously rad and reminded me of home,” Atherton said. “To win a world cup on such a cool track was an amazing feeling but to clinch the overall title at the same time was a dream come true. I’m still a little shocked after this World Cup season, a real battle, the way it should be!”
This was the first time that Norway had hosted a World Cup event. The riders, including Atherton were all thoroughly impressed by the course at the Hafjell Resort. It was described as diverse and very testing, making Atherton’s victory all the more remarkable. On the men’s side of competition in Norway, Oakley rider Steve Smith won his first ever World Cup event, beating out his teammate George Brannigan for the victory.
Atherton showed guts and determination to come from such an early season setback and claim the overall World Cup title. Oakley congratulates Rachel on her amazing accomplishment!