Mountain Bike World Cup: Rachel Atherton starts title defence with win

Rachel Atherton
Rachel Atherton now has 27 wins in World Cup races

World champion Rachel Atherton started the defence of her Mountain Bike World Cup downhill title with an opening-round win in France on Sunday.

Atherton, who won a fourth World Cup in August, led home a British one-two-three in the elite women's event.

Tahnee Seagrave was second, with Manon Carpenter taking third in Lourdes.

"I knew I was going to have to ride as well as I could and maybe crash. It's gnarly how hard we have to push," said the 28-year-old.

"It's been one of those weekends - all or nothing."

Atherton, who also has three World Championships wins to her name, finished more than four seconds quicker than Seagrave.