World Cup Women: Rachel Atherton

Apr 11, 2015
by Pinkbike Staff  
Women of the World Cup


Age: 27
Nationality: Great Britain
2014 rank: 2nd
Experience: 10 years elite
Current Team: GT Factory Racing

The 2013 World Champ came into 2014 looking to maintain her position and dominance on the circuit, but would end up facing several challenges over the course of the year. After starting the season sick in Pietermaritzburg, winning in Cairns, and then getting sick again, Rachel’s health took a serious blow right when it was rather inconvenient. Struggling mid-season to shake the lingering after effects of a run-down immune system, she didn’t get back to her full form until round 7 in Meribel, where she finished out the series with a win. It was the rainbow stripes that she was looking to hold onto though, but come race day, she would be just off the pace required to claim the top step. With 2014 now in the rearview mirror, and a solid off season of training under her belt, Rachel is focused coming into this year stronger, healthier and hungrier than ever.

PB: 1: Where and how have you been spending your off-season?

bigquotes Resting up, training, resting some more, training... I've ridden a lot near my new home in Dyfi which is AWESOME. Coach Alan Milway ran some kind of crazy boot camp in California. We've been testing with Fox in Malaga and then a month in New Zealand riding the tracks around Queenstown. I raced Crankworx DH at Rotorua and won so it's feeling like the off-season was well-spent. - Rachel

PB: 2. What was the highlight of your 2014 season and why was it so significant to you?

bigquotesWinning at Cairns with Gee was awesome, it's always amazing to share a victory with one or both of the brothers, but Cairns was extra special because it was so damned hard! I felt really drained after getting ill at Pietermaritzburg, and there was so much mud. Meribel was amazing after a really hard season to finally feel my strength coming back. - Rachel

SVEN MARTIN PHOTO - AthertonRacing Pre Season Riding Camp Queenstown New Zealand.

PB: 3. Was there a moment or period you considered to be your season ‘low’ and for what reason?

bigquotes Being so ILL! It was ridiculous how long it took to feel strong again, trying to train and ride when you are so debilitated is no fun at all. - Rachel

PB: 4. Are there changes you are looking to make to your approach mentally or physically for 2015?

bigquotes Always. As a team we are very rigorous about analyzing the season past to see how we can improve. I've found that a more holistic approach is good for me so while the boys are sweating in the gym I might do some yoga while I'm watching the sunset. - Rachel

PB: 5. How have you split your time between ‘on’ and ‘off’ the big bike training?

bigquotes Well actually we've had loads of time together riding as a team this winter which has been awesome. There's nothing like having Taylor Vernon on my back wheel to make me up my game. - Rachel

Rachel Atherton with her first win of the year and for the first time in history received equal prize money as the men s field. Well done Crankworx.

PB: 6. When inspiration has run low lately, to whom or what have you turned to kick your motivation levels up a gear?

bigquotes We've travelled a lot this winter and the new environments, new types of tracks (and of course the sun!) are big kicks of fun and excitement, but it also makes coming home and riding the local trails with my friends here and Angus dog especially sweet. - Rachel

Rachel wants to keep the rainbow stripes in the Atherton family and still looked like the one to beat out on track today.

PB: 7. What bit of kit are you looking forward to using most at the races?

bigquotes My GT Fury with its special teal-coloured paint-job just for me - it's beautiful. - Rachel

PB: 8. Which rider do you see as the biggest threat to the 2015 title?

bigquotes Gee Atherton! Once the bruising goes down from Queenstown he's gonna be unstoppable. - Rachel

PB: 9. Which race or single moment of the coming season are you most excited for?

bigquotes It's too hard to chose one! Fort William is always epic because of the crowd, and I'm so happy that Val di Sol is back as it's one of my favourite tracks ever with such good memories for me. And Worlds in Andorra of course... - Rachel


PB:10. Complete the sentence: ‘I won’t be racing a single World Cup without....'

bigquotesMy team! They really are the best. If anything is possible it's because of those guys. - Rachel

MENTIONS: @GTBicycles / @redbullbike


  • + 8
 I'm going to start wearing eyeliner so my eyes will 'pop' from behind my goggles just like Tracy and Rachel.
  • + 5
 Would be funny to have some comedy bulging eye glasses on under your goggles for shits and giggles.
  • + 1
 If it will it make me as good of rider as them I'm willing.
  • + 5
 Rach FTW on every round I think !
  • + 4
 too be honest I think she will I don't want to sound like a dick but if Rachel would have been 100% last year manon wouldn't have stood a chance look at the side by side go pro footage of leogang Rachel was faster on most of the track but due to illness manon with faster on the pederly sections
  • + 25
  • + 16
  • - 3
 'Pedally'. You're welcome.
  • + 1
 When she is on form she is unstoppable. Its going to be interesting this year with none of the normal injuries (or illness) for the top riders to excuse poor performances with.
  • + 2
 Funny, when asked who is the biggest threat for the title, she mentions a man...
  • + 7
 and she should have said rat boy
  • + 7
 Well , even if I do not like Gee very much we must admit that he is in the top five at the end of the day Smile He's very capable , his clarity and experience add well to his consistency so at the end of the day he's on the podium ... I would go with Sammy ,Gee or Aaron for that season and some thoughts for Bruni , Brosnan and Mulally
  • + 3
 Hi mister peanut butter. Been a while.
  • + 2
 imagine if she says ben reid
  • + 0
 Let me explain one thing for you: this game is all about politics, and the last thing any one of these athletes is going to do would be to start drama with any other riders they not only respect, but who they see on the circuit and around the scene every year. The chips fall where they may and what counts is who's the fastest on the day, which is why Gee also mentioned Rach as the biggest threat in his article ("She's mad.") and why the men also didn't drop any fellow riders' names when asked the question of 'biggest threat'.

This isn't a gender issue, so stop being trying to make it into one. #f*ckingduh
  • + 0
 I like orange juice
  • + 0
 I like trains
  • + 2
 In the case of some women riders...the men ARE the biggest threats...they suck up all the purse money for really no better reason than they're male...and in the case of riders like Rachel or Anne-Caroline... are often slower.
  • + 3
 I can't tell if she's taking the piss or not on Q4
  • - 1
 I think shes a great rider and no doubt has proved shes one of the best but i still think Manon will take the win again this year shes found her stride. Both are bang tidy though Smile
  • + 2
 I just noticed that all the Athertons have exactly the same teeth.
  • - 2
 One would hope/think that she could afford an orthodonics program. Silly not to really.
  • + 2
 Lucky Taylor Vernon ! I think Rachel is going to smash it !!!
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