In September 2013, Great Britain’s Rachel Atherton clinched the World Cup downhill title for the third time, finishing in second place in the final round in Leogang, Austria. Riding for GT Factory Racing, it completed her best ever season, with victories also coming at the World Championships and National Championships.
However, everything has not always gone so swimmingly for Rachel - after winning the World Cup and the World Championships in 2008, a freak accident with a truck put her out of racing for the entire 2009 season. She came back strongly in 2010 with World Cup glory at Maribor, and finished fourth overall in 2011 with victories at Fort William and Windham. She took the overall series win in 2012 for a second time.
Born on 6th December 1987 in the small English city of Wells in Somerset, Rachel followed her older brothers Gee and Dan into professional mountain biking. She began by racing BMX at the age of eight, and soon moved on to mountain bikes, picking up junior level wins wherever she raced. From those early days, it was clear that Rachel had a special talent.
Rachel combines the physical and mental strength that characterises her family with a unique blend of femininity and toughness. “Riding with the boys is the best thing I could do,” she says. “Seeing them do things gives me the confidence to try things for myself." And her appeal stretches beyond mountain biking, demonstrated by her victory at the Sunday Times Young Sportswoman of the Year awards in 2005.
- Age: 26
- Height: 1.70m
- Weight: 65kg
- Nationality: England
Vote for Rachel Atherton: BT Action Woman of the Year
15th January 2014