Carpenter wins women's downhill World Cup in Pietermaritzburg

Madison Saracen Factory Team star Manon Carpenter produced the run of the day as she powered her way to her first-ever World Cup win in the women's downhill at the first UCI Mountain Bike World Cup ahead of fellow Brit and current world champion, Rachel Atherton at the Cascades MTB Park on Saturday, ending a week of total domination of the women's downhill competition.

With a major challenger in Emmeline Ragot picking up a puncture during her run, effectively ruling her out of contention, it was always going to be a race between the two British riders and it was the young Welshwoman that was too fast for Atherton - who was battling with illness all week.

"I couldn't have asked for a better start to the season because I was really stressed coming into this race so I am just really glad that I managed to pull it off today," an elated Carpenter said.

"I was feeling good after practice yesterday and then it got really loose at the top and bits were getting blown out so I was nervous and I had a few moments so I said that I didn't want to do that in my race run but I'm just glad I got a smooth run in."

Having missed out on a chance at the world championships at the same venue last year following an unfortunate crash, Carpenter was determined to make up for that when she returned this week and she produced the performance of the weekend to claim the series leader's jersey by four seconds.

"I really like this track, I crashed at the world champs last year which I was gutted about because I thought that I had a chance so I was looking forward to coming back here and it is nice that it is the first race and a nice one to start on so I feel good for the rest of the season!" the Swansea resident said.

Having been on a drip a day before qualifying, GT Factory Racing's Rachel Atherton bit the bullet and rode to a determined second in the women's downhill final after she was a doubtful starter earlier in the week.

"I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to be able to race this weekend, the doctor here was amazing and he really sorted me out," a satisfied Atherton said. "It has been a tough fight and a long weekend but I am absolutely stoked that I could come away with second place it is beyond what I imagined I could do and it completely blew my mind!"

Atherton proved her pedigree after she battled the flu during the week and only having one day of training again proved that she is a deserved world champion after having to rely a lot on her memory of the course from the only other time she had ridden it seven months ago.

"Having missed that first day of practice and then going into the qualifying yesterday just thinking that I have to ride the track that I know what I am doing and just kind of pretend a little bit and I remembered the course so well from world champs last year so I just went out there and just had to do what I had to do!" she said.

American Jill Kintner finished third.

With her win, Carpenter became the first World Cup series leader of 2014.

Full Results

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Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Manon Carpenter (GBr) Madison Saracen Factory Team0:04:34.900
2Rachel Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:03.908
3Jill Kintner (USA)0:00:09.118
4Myriam Nicole (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction0:00:09.728
5Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Lapierre Gravity Republic0:00:09.739
6Tracey Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson UR0:00:13.122
7Tahnee Seagrave (GBr) FMD Racing0:00:17.362
8Morgane Charre (Fra) Evil Vengeance Tour0:00:17.477
9Emilie Siegenthaler (Swi) Gstaad-Scott0:00:23.194
10Fionn Griffiths (GBr)0:00:26.050
11Danielle Beecroft (Aus) Green To Gold Race Development0:00:40.820
12Micayla Gatto (Can) Pivot Factory DH Team0:00:46.189
13Diana Marggraff (Ecu)0:00:47.247
14Steffi Marth (Ger)0:01:02.624
15Tegan Molloy° (Aus)0:01:03.475
DNFJaclyn Paaso (USA)
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Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Madison Saracen Factory Team82pts
2Lapierre Gravity Republic78
3Hutchinson UR71
4Specialized Racing DH68
5GT Factory Racing68
6Commencal / Riding Addiction56
7Santa Cruz Syndicate47
8Giant Factory Off-Road Team37
9Trek World Racing32
10Ms Mondraker Team25
11Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof22
12Fmd Racing18
13Gstaad-Scott18
14Evil Vengeance Tour16
15Unior Tools Team11
16Green To Gold Race Development10
17Pivot Factory DH Team9
18Kona Factory Team6
19Devinci Global Racing2
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Elite women World Cup standings after one round
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Manon Carpenter (GBr) Madison Saracen Factory Team250pts
2Rachel Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing200
3Jill Kintner (USA)165
4Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Lapierre Gravity Republic140
5Myriam Nicole (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction137
6Tracey Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson UR115
7Tahnee Seagrave (GBr) FMD Racing94
8Morgane Charre (Fra) Evil Vengeance Tour86
9Fionn Griffiths (GBr)65
10Emilie Siegenthaler (Swi) Gstaad-Scott60
11Danielle Beecroft (Aus) Green To Gold Race Development50
12Micayla Gatto (Can) Pivot Factory DH Team50
13Diana Marggraff (Ecu)40
14Steffi Marth (Ger)35
15Tegan Molloy° (Aus)30
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Team World Cup standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Madison Saracen Factory Team82pts
2Lapierre Gravity Republic78
3Hutchinson UR71
4Specialized Racing DH68
5GT Factory Racing68
6Commencal / Riding Addiction56
7Santa Cruz Syndicate47
8Giant Factory Off-Road Team37
9Trek World Racing32
10Ms Mondraker Team25
11Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof22
12Fmd Racing18
13Gstaad-Scott18
14Evil Vengeance Tour16
15Unior Tools Team11
16Green To Gold Race Development10
17Pivot Factory DH Team9
18Kona Factory Team6
19Devinci Global Racing2

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