Brits rule the roost at Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup


The royal family of downhill mountain biking, the Athertons, ruled Fort William on Sunday 9 June as the sun set on the biggest, loudest and hottest Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup ever.

Rachel Atherton destroyed the elite women’s field to finally grab the victory she has craved her whole career – the closest competitor, fellow Brit Manon Carpenter, a whole 10 seconds behind. Rachel’s moment was made all the sweeter as older brother Gee rose above an incredibly close field to win the elite men’s competition.

Not only was there praise in abundance for the athletes, but fans came in their thousands to bask in the sunshine and record the biggest party Fort William has seen in the event’s 12-year history.

Having won every other title on the World Cup circuit except Fort William until now, Rachel Atherton was ecstatic with the victory. She said: “To finally do it here at Fort William is amazing, and after trying for so long, it’s incredible to share this moment and the podium with Gee. I didn’t think about doing the double with him until he crossed the line. The crowd here at Fort William is better than ever, maybe they should come and travel the world with us.”

Brother Gee added: “This weekend has been my favourite ever World Cup. I couldn’t have asked for a better result than to share this win with my sister – it’s just incredible.

“The crowd have surpassed my expectations. You could feel the roar of the crowd on the track and for me it doesn’t get any better. It’s impossible to block out the crowd – that many people spurs you on and fuels you. I belted it down the track because of the support I got from the crowd every step of the way.”

In the junior men’s competition, Swiss rider Noel Niederberger edged out Britain’s Michael Jones to take first place.

On taking top spot on the podium, Niederberger said: “I’ve never won such a big title. The crowd here are amazing and this was very unexpected. I worked hard but didn’t expect to come away with first place.

“It’s a huge achievement for someone my age because I’m only 17. I look forward to seeing what the future will bring.”

Soaring temperatures and a fiercely competitive field of riders brought in the biggest crowd to ever grace the Aonach Mor course.

Mike Jardine of World Cup organisers Rare Management, said: “This weekend has been the best Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup since 2002. The fans came in their thousands to enjoy some fantastic racing and the riders delivered with three British winners out of four titles on offer. We look forward to welcoming everyone back next year.”

1. Gee Atherton GBR (4:36.712)
2. Brooke MacDonald NZL (4:37.854)
3. Steve Smith CAN (4:38.073)

1. Rachel Atherton GBR (5:08.846)
2. Manon Carpenter GBR (5:18.985)
3. Emmeline Ragot FRA (5:20.219)

1. Noel Niederberger SUI (4:49.931)
2. Michael Jones GBR (4:53.395)
3. Dean Lucas AUS (4:53.590)