From DH to XC, from 4X to Freeride, there are loads of legends in women's mountain biking. But who takes the crown as Queen of Mountain Biking? In the end, it wasn't a hard choice...
No one comes close to our chosen rider. In fact, she very nearly claimed our ‘Greatest mountain biker of all time‘ title back in 2019. Narrowly losing out to Tomac purely due to his XC strengths.
And your winner is…
1. Anne-Caroline Chausson
The results speak for themselves…
Junior downhill World Champion x 3
Senior downhill World Champion x 9
Senior dual slalom World Champion x 2
Senior four-cross World Champion x 2
World Cup downhill series winner x 5
World Cup dual slalom series winner
World Cup four-cross series winner
BMX Olympic Champion
We’re going to dispel with numbering the runners-up in this list. They’re all too close to call. Continuing in a purely alphabetical way, next up is Rachel Atherton. 37 World Cup wins. 6 World Cup Overall series titles. 5 times World Champ. All the Junior, National and European DH titles you can think of. Although she hasn’t retired yet, perhaps her lasting achievement will be her total domination on 2016. The so-called perfect season where she won every World Cup round and also the World Champs. Whilst doing so she even beat Anne-Caro’s record for consecutive World Cup wins (a mind-blowing 10 in a row).
Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja
Arguably the greatest XC racer of all time. She began racing in the mid nineties and only officially retired in 2018. Olympic champion. Four time XC World Champion. Six times World Marathon Champion. Four times XC Overall World Cup Winner – with 30(!) XC World Cup wins. Six times XC European Champion. She was also twice European Marathon Champion.
She may well have only raced for six short years but Juli Furtado was an instant legend. Furtado once held the Guinness World Record for most career wins in mountain biking. Her total number of wins exceeded the combined total wins of the most successful man and next most successful woma. And yes, the Juliana Furtado is named after her. As are all of Santa Cruz’s women’s models.
Volvo-Cannondale era Missy Giove is one of the iconic periods of mountain biking. She did everything on her terms. And sure, she had something of a colourful life off the race-track which helped boost her profile but let’s not forget her racing results: 11 DH World Cups and Missy twice won the WDH orld Cup overall. She was also the World Champ in 1994.
Are we too early with this? After all, Holl’s only just about started racing at senior level and that senior level racing has seen serious disruption due to Covid pandemic globally and ill-timed injury for Holl personally. Are we too early to include Holl in this illustrious who’s-who of MTB? Nope. She’s head and shoulders above everyone else in her peer group.
Jill Kintner was a consummate professional bike racer who excelled in pretty much all forms of dirt cycling at the very highest of levels: BMX, 4X, slalom, enduro, even winning an Olympic medal. But the real reason Kintner is on this Top 10 greatest list is… she has always looked totally effing rad on a bike. And that matters.
Tracy Moseley is the UK’s most successful female gravity rider. A former DH world champion and World Cup winner, she then switched to EWS and took three titles in a row. She now runs T-MO racing team and works for Trek Factory Racing MTB teams, as well as still riding and racing her bike.
Casey is not in this list for her event results. She’s not here because she is a proven multi-discipline performer either. She’s in this list because she can – and has – changed people’s perceptions of what female riders could and should do on a mountain bike. Will she be the first ever to compete at Red Bull Rampage? Possibly. Possibly not. Will she be involved in the instigation of women’s freeride events? Probably. Very probably.
Total domination is the only way you can describe Ravanel’s EWS campaigns. Clean sweeping her way to overall title after overall title, the French Commencal Vallnord rider made short work of the competition. Only her fellow countrywoman Isabeau Courdurier could get within anything resembling touching distance. There are just some racers who you expect to win. And some who you expect to wipe the floor with everyone else. Ravanel is such a racer.
There are many more amazing women riders out there that didn’t make this list, but are pretty awesome in our book. Riders such as Jolanda Neff, Alison Sydor, Rebecca Roush, Veronique Sandler… we could go on.