Mountain biking’s 5 fastest females

Strap yourself in and prepare to meet the top five quickest female bike riders in the world.
By Ric McLaughlin
Live broadcast

Mountain biking is a physically tough, demanding sport which offers no shelter for the meek or thin-skinned.

The women currently stood atop of its leaderboards are some of the fastest and most impressive athletes in the world.

To celebrate International Women's Day then, here's our pick of the very fastest:

Rachel Atherton

Rachel Atherton during the finals of the UCI MTB World Cup: Stop 5- Fort William, June 5, 2016.
Rachel Atherton awarded prestigious Laureus award © Red Bull Content Pool

The two-time Laureus Award-winning princess of downhill had to be top of our list, especially after her undefeated assault on the 2016 UCI World Cup season. She won/retained the UCI World Championship title to boot and never once looked like slowing down.

Rachel Atherton is the alpha female of downhill racing, her ability to manage her speed and surroundings across a race weekend nothing short of remarkable. She's well on her way to becoming one of the true greats.

Catharine Pendrel

Catharine Pendrel became the 2016 UCI XCO World Cup champion at the final round in Andorra on September 4, 2016
Pendrel held onto third place throughout the race © Matthew DeLorme

What a 2016 season Catharine Pendrel had. The Canadian managed to stay cool under the white-hot heat of Annika Langvad’s assault on the early part of the UCI World Cup season to finish strongly and claim her third overall title.

At the Rio Olympics she crashed early on the first lap, but she showed the kind of grit that's typified her career and fought back to finish third.

Cecile Ravanel

Love the feeling of racing in front of the fans 🤙✊️🤘#sundayinspiration #haha

A post shared by Ravanel-MTB (@ravanel_mtb) on

For many people, Cecile Ravanel is the obvious heir to the throne of Anne-Caroline Chausson; she’s fast, French and devastatingly consistent.

In 2016 she clinched the Enduro World Series title, winning seven out of the eight rounds along the way. Her background in XCO and XCE racing provides the fitness, while a scintillating skill set provides the raw speed.

Tahnée Seagrave

Tahnée Seagrave standing with her Red Bull Helmet outside her home
Out with the old and in with the new for Tahnée © Dave Mackison

Although only 22 years old, Tahnée Seagrave, the 2010 UCI junior World Champ, is one of the youngest women in the sport's top 10, yet she's one of its brightest stars.

She was one of only a couple of women to out-qualify Atherton in 2016 and remains one of the bookies' tips to stand as one of her biggest challengers over the next few years.

Seagrave is remarkably gifted when things get technical, after years of residing in the French mountain bike resort of Morzine.

Rebecca Rusch

Rebecca Rusch sits down during a break in riding on Mount Kilimanjaro in March 2016.
Sitting down for some recovery time © Pat R. Notaro III

Puerto Rican-born Rebecca Rusch remains one of the toughest competitors that professional mountain biking's ever produced.

What really sets her apart from so many other legends, however, is her chameleon-like ability to morph and adapt her racing to so many disciplines.

The Chicago native cemented her title as ‘Queen of Pain’ by taking second place at 2016's Dirty Kanzo 200 and winning the 2014 Trans Andes Challenge.

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