Manon Carpenter wants mountain bike world downhill crown

Manon Carpenter in action
Manon Carpenter says the World Cup is "definitely not wrapped up yet"

Manon Carpenter hopes to succeed fellow Welsh competitor Rachel Atherton as winner of the Mountain Bike World Cup.

Carpenter, 21, of Caerphilly, is leading the nine-event seriesexternal-link by 160 points with two races left.

Atherton, 26, who won the series in 2012 and 2013, currently lies third.

"It's all been cool, pretty brilliant and quite exciting. It's nice to have a bit of breathing space, but it's definitely not wrapped up yet," said Carpenter.

The next round takes place in Windham in the Catskill Mountains of New York state from 7-10 August

That is followed from 21-24 August by the final event of the 2014 series in Meribel, France.

Having narrowly won last weekend at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, Carpenter says she will remain focused on simply winning rather than defending her series lead.

Rachel Atherton congratulates Manon Carpenter in Canada
Rachel Atherton congratulates Carpenter in Canada last weekend

"I've had a few people asking me 'Are you going to go steady in your races , trying to hold on to the points lead?'" said Carpenter.

"I don't think you could really think about that in this sport.

"If you think about backing off or anything you can have a crash. I was going to try and do what I've been doing all year, going as fast as I can down the hill."

Carpenter admits she has always admired north Wales-based Atherton.

"I've always kind of looked up to Rachel and she's always been at the top of women's mountain biking in Britain and in the world," she said.

"Obviously I've been winning this year so I guess when it's someone you've looked up to for so long, and all of a sudden you're in the mix with them, it's pretty cool."

Carpenter says the Windham course may not suit her, adding: "This weekend is possibly one of my weaker tracks on the circuit.

"I'm just going to try and carry on winning races and hopefully the overall [series] will take care of itself."

However, winning in Canada underlined Carpenter's credentials.

She added: "It was a really good weekend last weekend. Everything's going well for me this year. It's awesome.

"I was just trying to improve on what I was doing the year before and maybe focusing that little bit more.

"I've got two team-mates in the elite men's race so I try and chase them down the hill as well, getting up to speed."