Unique brother-sister duo to compete in UCI World Cup

2014-03-29 00:00

MTB fans are gearing up to welcome the unique British brother and sister combination of Rachel and Gee Atherton, who come into the UCI World Cup from April 11 to 13, ranked number one in the world in their respective downhill categories.

The siblings, who live in Wales, return to the three kilometre Pietermaritzburg downhill track with different perspectives, with Rachel returning to the scene of her dramatic world title clincher last year, while her brother Gee is keen to master the layout that left him out in the cold at last year’s World Champs.

After finishing outside of the top five, getting back into the swing of things in Pietermaritzburg is an important goal for Gee and having ended the season as the top-ranked downhill rider in the world, he will want to carry that form into the new season. “It is pretty important for me to start strong,” the GT Factory Racing star said. “From a good start you just have to build momentum throughout the season.”

Rachel echoed the sentiments of her brother about a good start to the season and felt that after their double victory at the Fort William leg of the 2013 season, they gained a lot of momentum and maintained it for the majority of the season.

Rachel has raced once in Pietermaritzburg and rode to a convincing World Championship win in 2013, so she is confident that the course suits her style of riding, and is pretty happy that she can handle it just as well this year. “The course is brilliant, a bit scary in places but it is great,” she mentioned enthusiastically. “It is a lot of hard work but the jumps in the midsection help us carry some speed and if you get some good speed up then you will be rewarded, but in saying that peddling in the midsection is brutal.”

The competitive nature of the siblings means that winning in Pietermaritzburg is the ultimate goal, and having won their last season Rachel is confident she can replicate that. However, for Gee getting onto the top spot of the podium is going to be slightly more difficult considering he has to get past hometown hero Greg Minnaar first.

“Having only raced there once and winning means that I feel that the Pietermaritzburg course is my course and I really want to repeat that in the World Cup series,” Rachel mentioned.

“It’s always great racing in South Africa and the atmosphere is always great and the people are always welcoming and friendly. I have had top five finishes there in all of the World Cups I have raced there so it has been good, but I would really like to win there,” Gee added.

It has been a busy offseason for the Athertons and their GT Factory Racing Team, who have been all over Europe in the build-up to what should be another exciting season for them. Getting back into racing shape has been a focus area for Gee, who went through some minor procedures in the offseason. “The offseason has gone really well. I’ve been training with the full team, DH and Enduro riders on warm weather training camps that we’ve held in Spain and the Canary Islands and riding a lot of our local tracks as well. The team Coach Alan Milway hasn’t let up on us for a minute.

“It has been even busier but I am now fit and ready to go — I had a minor elbow op just before Christmas and some work on my ankle back in October but they’re healed up better than ever,” Gee added excitedly.

It has been a far more scalpel-free winter for Rachel, who is fit and raring to go for the upcoming season and feels that maintaining her fitness and avoiding injury is vital. “It’s my second injury-free winter so I’ve been able to ride, train and ride some more. I’m absolutely loving it and feeling strong.” More information can be found at www.mtbworldcupsa.co.za.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.