The first race of the iXS European Downhill Cup is now history, dominated by bad weather on race day it took a unusual twist of fate for Miss Atherton
As usual the year for the iXS races starts at Monte Tamaro in the Swiss Rivera. This year’s course was changed only slightly from last years being 2.5 k in length with a vertical drop of 640, which makes it one of the longest courses in the series. It wasn’t only the topography that made this track tough the course was littered with roots and rocks that put the riders all on edge as they tackled the tough track. The field of starters included some big names with a number of favourites for the podium.
After the weather conditions had been perfect for the official training on Friday and the seeding run on Saturday, things changed on Sunday as thick fog and rain made it impossible to secure the course. As a consequence the race had to be cancelled, as any attempts to rescue riders with the help of a helicopter would have been impossible. Therefore the results of the seeding run were declared as final results.
This played into GT Factory Racings hands as Rachel Atherton had taken the win in seeding giving her the title in the women’s elite class, finishing almost 12 seconds in front of the current world champion Emmeline Ragot . The course seemed to suit her well and although reluctant to push 100% she still managed to shine above the strong field.
Rachel’s next event sees her up in Fort William, Scotland for the 2nd round of the British Downhill Series where she will be looking to continue this momentum on on another brutal track.
Photos: © Thomas Dietze