Published: 25 June 2015
Image: Sven Martin
World Champions Gee Atherton and Manon Carpenter turn their attention to round four of the British Cycling MTB Downhill Series this weekend in Rhyd-Y-Felin, Wales.
Both top the standings at the midway point of the series, but face world class opposition to secure their position going into the penultimate round.
Atherton took wins at the opening two rounds of the series, but rode a reserved race at the last round in Llangollen.
Held one week before the world cup series visited Fort William, Atherton had his mind on the bigger picture and didn’t want to take unnecessary risk on the steep and technical track.
Rhyd-Y-Felin follows the same pattern as round three of the British series – taking place one week before the latest round of the world cup series – and with a 164 point buffer over nearest challenger Josh Bryceland, Atherton can perhaps afford another solid, if not spectacular, result.
Bryceland – and round three winner Joe Smith – will need to beat Atherton to narrow the gap as the series reaches its conclusion.
Manon Carpenter leads the way in the elite women’s overall, having won rounds one and three. To date the series has been the only redeeming feature of a disastrous start to the world cup season.
A huge crash on the final jump at the Fort William and a disqualification in the final metres at the subsequent round has all but ended any hopes of defending her world cup title.
Meanwhile, Rachel Atherton is enjoying a return to her best. Two consecutive wins at the world cup series makes her the woman to beat – but she will need wins and more bad luck for Manon, having missed the opening two rounds of the series.