Friday Jun 06, 2014

INTERVIEW: Manon Carpenter chasing second World Cup win

Manon Carpenter is targeting her second World Cup win of the season on one of her favourite tracks in Fort William this weekend – but she will have to defeat defending champion Rachel Atherton again to do it.

The 21-year-old has had plenty of success in the Scottish Highlands after winning the first leg of the British Downhill Series in 2012.

However, she has not reached the top step since then, finishing second in two other British Downhill races and as runner up to Atherton at the World Cup last season.

Carpenter has had a brilliant start to the 2014 season though, beating fellow Brit Atherton in the opening race in South Africa to record her first ever elite World Cup win, and coming second at a wet and muddy Cairns, Australia.

It’s not impossible to beat Rachel Atherton 

And she is confident those results, and her knowledge of the tricky Fort William track can inspire her to another victory over 19-time World Cup winner Atherton.

“I wanted to win in South Africa and I’d like to win here,” said Carpenter. “Those are the two races that I really wanted to have a good race at.

“I knew that track in South Africa suited me and I really enjoy riding it and I knew I had a good chance.

“I’ve had good races here in the past and I enjoy the track. It’s good fun and it’s the kind of track that suits me.”

“It’s good to be back and I’ve been looking forward to this race. I’m really happy with my first and second races, it was a really good way to start the season and I hope that it carries on.”

Fort William has been a World Cup host since 2002 and as a result riders like Atherton are also very familiar with the track but Carpenter believes that gives them both an advantage.

 Carpenter after a messy run in Cairns where she finished second 

The Madison Saracen rider will return to the top of the overall standings with victory on Sunday and she will need to topple Atherton, who won here in 2013 on the way to back-to-back World Cup titles.

But Carpenter believes she and her fellow challengers can give the reigning champion a run for her money this weekend.

“I beat Rachel in South Africa and Emmeline [Ragot] won a couple last year so it’s not impossible to beat her obviously,” she added.

“It’s exciting when it’s a close race. Hopefully we’ll all be up there having a good battle. Emmeline will be going well and Tracy [Hannah] is on form.

“The first two World Cup’s we’ve had have been very different and we’ll have to see who does well at this one."

Channels: Mountain Bike