Rachel Atherton and Amaury Pierron stormed into first place at the UK leg of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at a wet and wild Fort William this weekend.
In the women’s final, Rachel Atherton set a blistering time of 5:15.560 to claim the 2019 title by two seconds, her fourth at Fort William World Cup events and her first on the new Atherton bike.
The men’s event was also full of drama as flying Frenchman Amaury Pierron retained his Fort William crown in a thrilling performance which saw him edge out Australian Troy Brosnan and fellow countryman Loris Vergier by just over 3.5 seconds.
The hotly anticipated competition saw the world’s elite downhill riders battle it out for the Fort William crown. As the event celebrates its 18th birthday, spectators flocked to the finish line to witness their favourite riders fly down a turbulent track on the famous Aonach Mòr mountain.
With over a fifth of the elite field made up of British riders, the home fans amongst over 22,000 strong crowd had plenty to cheer as Rachel Atherton’s victory in the women’s elite race was followed by strong performances from Danny Hart and Matt Walker who finished fifth and seventh in the Men’s Elite respectively whilst Luke Mumford took second in the Men’s Junior event.
Once again, the Fort William fans provided a phenomenal atmosphere sending their noise and passion echoing through the mountains across the weekend.
On claiming her fourth Fort William title, Rachel Atherton said: ”It’s been a real team effort over the weekend. This track pushes you right to the edge, Fort William is hard enough without the wind and rain battering you. To have claimed a first win on the Atherton bike here at Fort William is really special, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet."
Speaking after claiming his Frenchman Amaury Pierron said: “It was beautiful to win here again. The crowd were insane, Fort William is always one of the best tracks on the circuit and I want to thank everyone who cheered us on this weekend. To win for a second time at this track where the margins are so fine is something I will never forget.”
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, said: “Fort William once again provided the perfect stage for an epic weekend of mountain bike action and it was fantastic to see the crowds out in force supporting the event. The Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is hugely important for the Highlands and for Scotland, contributing over £40million to the economy to date. Given the important role events play in our visitor economy, EventScotland is proud to be a long-term supporter of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Fort William.”