Britain’s Rachel Atherton says she has nothing left to prove as the world champion prepares to start the defence of her UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup title in Lourdes.
The 29-year old begins her world cup season on 29-30 April in France having completed a perfect campaign in 2016.
Atherton won all seven rounds of the series - to set a new record of 13 consecutive victories in the competition - before completing an invincible season with a fourth world title in Val di Sole.
No one races forever
“I want to soak it all up because no one races forever,” Atherton said.
“Of course, I still want to win but not at all costs anymore. I’ve got nothing left to prove to myself and that I believe is the hardest thing to achieve.”
The Trek Factory Racing star last failed to top the podium at a world cup in Lourdes, back in 2015 when was she was second.
But Atherton thinks a second consecutive perfect season is near impossible.
“Almost 100% not,” she said. “The last two years have been unreal.
“In 2015, I was second at round one in Lourdes. If I had won that first race that would be two perfect seasons.”
British out in force
Atherton will be joined by Manon Carpenter and Tahnee Seagrave in the elite women’s contest.
World champion Danny Hart, Gee Atherton and Laurie Greenland spearhead the British challenge in the elite men’s competition.
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2017 UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup dates
Fort William, Scotland
Val di Sole, Italy