Atherton is Laureus Action Sportsperson of the Year 2017.

Four-time world champion Rachel Atherton was crowned as the Laureus Action Sportsperson of the Year 2017 at the ceremony in Monaco last night.

Atherton won every round of the UCI Downhill World Cup series in 2016, topping the season off by winning the world champion title for the fourth time. This latest award follows on from her winning of BT’s Action Woman of 2016.

British Cycling’s president Bob Howden: “In what has been yet another remarkable year for Rachel, it’s fitting that she has been awarded the Laureus Action Sportsperson of the Year award. Her unprecedented results on the bike have made Rachel a true inspiration to many and her achievements are greatly valued by British Cycling.”

But instead of tripping down the red carpet tonight Rachel was hard at work with Coach Nick Grantham at the team’s training camp in California.

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Rachel said: “I was gutted not to be able to make the ceremony; we looked at every available flight, about 100 different sets of scheduling but we just couldn’t make it work.

“I can’t quite believe this is real and I am so delighted that my success this season and the sport of downhill mountain-biking as a whole has been recognised in the wider world of sport. I really thank the Academy members for giving me this honour, it makes it even more special that the award is voted for by the real legends of the sport, all of whom I have admired and been inspired by; everyone of them knows exactly how many hours go into finally achieving your goal. What Laureus stands for and the work Laureus does to help young people around the world really means a lot to me, I fully believe that sport changes your life and gives you the tools to overcome anything. Thank you so much Laureus, I will carry this award with pride and I will use it to inspire all the future mountain bikers out there.”