Rachel Atherton Out of 2020 World Championships Race

Oct 5, 2020
by Sarah Moore  
Rachel Atherton floating over the Maribor roots in 2019.


6 times World Champion Rachel Atherton will not be travelling to Leogang this week following intense discussions with her medical team. Rachel wrote to her Continental Atherton team partners this afternoon to break the news.

bigquotesAs you know, this last year I have been rehabbing my ruptured Achilles tendon, an injury that has tested my mental strength to the limit! 

I knew it would be a long road back to the top, and after intense discussions with my physio of the last 10 years, Doug Jones of Altius Healthcare & long conversations with the rest of the team, I have taken the decision not to race at the World Champs this year because I am just not 100% since my Achilles rupture. 

This is a really hard decision to make, whenever I have been injured in the past I have rushed back quickly and returned to the top step within months, a gruelling task for the body but a task that I relish. I have been working so hard to be ready but unfortunately this time I am just not there yet, and I can’t risk further injury. 


My body has been through so much over the years. Now I need to listen to what it’s telling me and respect what it has allowed me to achieve by giving it time to fully recover before I do battle again! 

I will keep working hard, keep pushing forward and keep the fire burning.

This sport is a tough game and we must take the ups and the downs, there have been a lot of ups in my career, but also a lot of downs, injuries for me are part of the deal, so I will just keep on working till I’m ready again. 


I'd like to thank all of our team partners and all of the downhill fans who’ve sent me messages of support and encouragement over these last few months - I cant tell you how much it means to me

I wish all the British team the very best of luck, especially the women and our own Charlie Hatton, so gutted not to be with you – bring those medals home!
Rachel Atherton








62 Comments

  • 120 0
 Good on ya Rach! Smart girl!
  • 90 5
 Sounds like she wants to play it safe rather than compete in a year that is essentially a washout and with no prior racing to judge performance against competitors - Don’t blame her if so, she has nothing to prove.
  • 35 0
 Cant blame her for that, I'm disapointed not to see her race but I think its the right call.
  • 73 0
 Hope we get to see a 100 percent Rach v Vali battle at some point .
  • 36 0
 Same, and Tahnee!
  • 19 0
 And Pompon
  • 18 27
flag Mattntp (Oct 5, 2020 at 18:59) (Below Threshold)
 And Weatherly
  • 10 0
 Hopefully all the top women will be fit next year. It looks like a really interesting battle for the podium spots with Rachel, Miriam, Tahnee, Vali, Marine, Tracey and Nina all looking good when fit.
  • 21 4
 @Mattntp: to all those who downvoted this comment:

Regardless of your stance on the politics of transgender athletes, Kate is a fellow rider (and, hey, human being) who BROKE THEIR NECK riding.

If you're too f*cking bigoted to bring yourself to wish her good luck in her recovery shame on you. And f*ck you.

Smart choice Rachel, heal up soon!
  • 1 1
 Agree but I think it was written to troll so you could argue the downvoting was for that reason @alexhyland:
  • 2 0
 @enduroNZ: Hard to discern intent in comment or reactions really. That's down to them.
  • 40 4
 Classy professional woman. We are all behind you and your decisions. You are a role model and know how to act like one. I am sure it was a tough decision, but I think you made the right call. I dont think anyone doubts that you will be at the top again whenever you are ready.
  • 11 70
flag murfio (Oct 5, 2020 at 13:31) (Below Threshold)
 Simp
  • 20 3
 @murfio: imagine being 39 and using words like simp and bragging about how many downvotes you get. You little rebel you!
  • 3 44
flag murfio (Oct 5, 2020 at 14:00) (Below Threshold)
 @chris-adam-media: Who put 20p in you?
  • 15 2
 @murfio: weey there he goes again! ya got me you big silly goose!
  • 18 4
 @murfio: Lol, you called me that before too. This isn't IG and professional female athletes aren't models... @pinkbikeaudience... ban this idiot!
  • 13 0
 You have nothing to prove. Straight up legend
  • 10 0
 Respect you so much for this decision. You will heal strong and you will be back!
  • 6 0
 I also had an achilles tendon tear and even if you feel good, even 100%, you still have to give it time to heal completely. Riding bike is one of the worst sport to do, as there is constant pressure on your tendon/calves. It was stictly forbidden by my surgeon for a full year. But now I have a 500% super mega tendon that will never fail me again. Smart decision by Rachel. I totally respect that
  • 5 0
 She's been through so many tough injuries and has always bounced back so incredibly well, I don't doubt she can do this again. But her body deserves the time and respect she is giving it now. She's a perfect role model in every possible way. Working hard to follow her passion, supporting the younger generation, expressing fun and love for whatever she does, pushing hard when it counts and now, backing off when she should. In this sport that has applauded the "tough cookies" in the past, the shift to a more healthy and sustainable approach is much appreciated and Rachel is setting the right example here. I only got more respect for her!
  • 5 0
 Skipping this year is really smart. This is a waste year anyway and risking another rupture isn't worth it. Next year she will be 100% and go back to her dominate ways!!
  • 6 1
 Oh man I hope the 2021 season isn't a write off, would be so good to see Rachel come back and rule again!
  • 34 30
 Sounds like injuries are her Achilles heel. Hope to see her back racing soon enough
  • 40 7
 its time for you to go now
  • 5 0
 That's a great decision Rachel! Cheers!
  • 3 0
 Good call since Achilles injuries are no joke, so it's best to sit out and heal completely then to reinjure it and have to sit out 2x as long.
  • 1 0
 As a fan of ball sports I was always a little shocked by the timeline. Typically it is a year of recovery and rehab until you are cleared to play then another year after that until you look anything like you did pre injury, if you ever even get back to that level.
  • 3 0
 Smart Rachel. You'll be back stronger and fitter, so enjoy the time & R&D with your company!
  • 5 1
 Could be a rookie elite female world champ.
  • 3 0
 Definately worth a penny bet.
  • 2 0
 Cry

Sad for us fans and no doubt a hard decision. Looking forward to Rachel at 100% vs that stacked field next season! Gonna be great.
  • 3 0
 This is the same reason I'm not racing world's, my body just isn't ready...... ????????????
  • 3 0
 Take the time off, heal up more
  • 3 0
 Best of luck on a FULL recovery. Fingers crossed for next year.
  • 1 0
 good on you Rach! heal up well, next year will be much kore onteresting with you up there ps. an injury that bad couldn't have had better timing
  • 1 0
 Yeah in some ways she got lucky I guess. Nasty injury though. I did mine a few years back and it takes ages to heal, and for me the treatment caused it's own issues. My hips and other leg got screwed up compensating for the injured one. Maybe a year before it was fully ok. But I was back on the bike while I still had a boot on lol.
  • 1 0
 i rupturedv my Achilles tendon at the same time last year ,,it's hard for recovery ,,this injury is very bad for the athlete ...
  • 1 0
 As a physio I honor and support that decision! Downhilling is so mentally challenging you have to be 100% not only physically but mentally.
  • 1 0
 Respect girl....This is why you have win so many things in your carrer....Inteligent decisions...the hard ones like this os where we see the Champions....you are a champion
  • 1 1
 Does she gave anything left to prove? I guess she is at the upper age of female DH, or any DH riders now. Personally I think she won't be back although happy to be proven wrong.
  • 2 1
 Did she have a setback? Seemed to have been putting out a ton of riding content recently.
  • 21 0
 Riding a trail bike is a bit different than hammering a dh bike for a world title
  • 1 0
 Wise decision! I'm hoping for more years of watching you race. Best of health!
  • 1 0
 Didn't we just see some Instagram posts of her boosting to the moon recently? Crazy world.
  • 2 0
 Waiting for injuries to heal is the hardest part but works patience
  • 1 0
 Achilles rupture is about as bad as it gets for length of healing time required and re-injury potential. Heal up RA!
  • 2 0
 Full pro!
  • 1 0
 Get 100% and kick some arse next year! Legend!
  • 1 3
 I'd be afraid to race Vali also....

j/k 100% respect to that decision. She wants to be rippin and ready for next season. She's an extremely dominate force in the industry so I'm stoked to see her next year.
  • 1 1
 Take it she watched crankworks then
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