Rachel Atherton has been named BT Sport’s Action Woman of the Year following a season entirely unbeaten.
Recognising Atherton’s outstanding achievement, the gong marks a fitting end to a season where she won every single UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup – the first rider in history to do so – before going on to take the world title in September.
That world title was one of a total of five won by four cyclists shortlisted for the award, while in total, Britain’s female riders also won five Olympic and 11 Paralympic medals in Rio.
Three further cyclists made the shortlist: Laura Kenny, Dame Sarah Storey and Kadeena Cox, and Atherton’s success follows hot on the heels of Kenny being named Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year last week.
British Cycling said this morning that it hopes to up the ante on bringing through female talent, outlining a target of one million more cycling by 2020.
In July, it was announced that there has been a 70% increase in the number of trained female coaches since the organisation’s strategy was launched in 2013.
Also this summer, British Cycling’s Breeze programme celebrated both its fifth birthday and attracting its 100,000th participant. Breeze rides are local, fun, social rides led by female volunteers – ‘Breeze champions’ – which give women the chance to get out and enjoy cycling with like-minded riders.
You can watch Atherton scoop the award here.