Cyclist Manon Carpenter admits facing tough battle in World Cup series

By Dafydd JonesBBC Sport Wales
Manon Carpenter
Manon Carpenter is second in the World Cup series

Manon Carpenter admits she faces an uphill battle to reclaim mountain biking's Downhill World Cup title.

Carpenter, 23, lies in second place in the standings after three of the seven rounds, 190 points behind 2015 world champion Rachel Atherton.

The Welsh 2014 world champion and World Cup series winner says it would be unlikely for Atherton to slip up.

"It would take a string of bad races form Rachel for her to be reachable," Carpenter told BBC Wales Sport.

She continued, "If she continues the way she goes she's probably got it all wrapped up but you never know with mountain biking.

"I'd love to get on top of the podium at a World Cup and I'd like to finish at least second overall."

Atherton, the three-time world champion, is closing in on history after equalling Anne-Caroline Chausson's record of nine consecutive wins with victory in Fort William.

"Rachel is very dominant this year and we're trying to close the gap on her the best we can," Carpenter added.

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"I'm just trying to get as close as I can and see where I end up. Hopefully I'll close the gap a little bit over the season and try to find some extra speed to take into the World Championships.

Carpenter had qualified fastest in round three of the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup at Fort William, but crashed as she attempted to match Atherton's time as she eventually finished third.

"I guess it's a race I really want to win and I've had mishaps and problems," Carpenter said.

"I was doing everything I could to carry speed and it didn't work out for me but it's another race to learn from."

The focus will now turn to round four in Leogang, Austria, on 11-12 June where the Welsh rider has experienced mixed fortunes.

She claimed victory in Leogang in 2014 before being disqualified there in 2015.

"If it's windy or you're slightly off line then you'll go through the tape and it's doesn't take much to slip up," she said.

"It's about finding that line between fast and not out-of-control fast."

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