- Bikes & Gear
- Training & Nutrition
- Ride Maps
The fifth round of the Downhill World Cup kept spectators guessing as to who would be the champion until the final rider sped down the course and across the finish line. And with just one more race left this season, riders knew they had few opportunities left to increase their standings in the fight for the series title. Rachel Atherton (GT Factory) took her fourth victory of the season to extend her lead in the women's overall standings, while Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) took his second win in the men's category, and narrowed the gap on overall leader Gee Atherton (GT Factory) to a mere 17 points.
After sunny weather and dry, dusty conditions in the week leading up to the races, the weather turned overnight to cold, wet and windy, with intermittent rain throughout the day. The slippery, muddy course meant that no one had a clean run, and it caused more than a few crashes.
2012 World Champion Morgane Charre (MS Mondraker) was the first to go under four and a half minutes for the women, and her time held up until the final four riders started. Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen) finally knocked .8 seconds off the leading time, and neither Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Riding Addiction) nor round-four winner Emmeline Ragot (Lapierre Gravity Republic) could beat her. However, there was still one rider remaining; Rachel Atherton, who, except for round four in Mont-Sainte-Anne, has been unbeaten this season. Atherton once again showed why she is the best in the world: at the first split she had a 4-second advantage over Carpenter and she increased that to more than 7.5 seconds at the finish.
"I was so nervous before the race," admitted Atherton. "We had two runs this morning in the rain and it was lethal, so sketchy. You've got no idea how fast to hit stuff. I don't know if anyone saw, but I had a few moments up there, a few wild moments, where I thought I was going down. I didn't know how fast I was gonna go, so I just held on."
Atherton has now built a significant lead going into the final round, with 1,085 points to second-placed Ragot's 925. Carpenter remains in third, but has closed the gap to Ragot and now sits just 45 points back.