Manon Carpenter Welsh mountain biker confident ahead of new season

By Dafydd JonesBBC Sport Wales
Manon Carpenter
Mountain biker, Manon Carpenter, is from Caerphilly

Welsh downhill mountain biker Manon Carpenter says she's feeling better than ever ahead of the new race season.

The 2014 World Champion will ride for new team, Radon, when the 2017 Downhill World Cup starts in Lourdes, France on April 29-30.

"I feel I'm in as good a place as ever and training's been going really well at home which is really positive," Carpenter told BBC Wales Sport.

"I've been on a new bike for a while. I was comfortable with it straight away."

Carpenter added: "You always want to be 100% ready but there's always a little more you could have done."

The 24-year-old finished 2016 with a broken a collarbone following a crash at the World Championships in Val di Sole in Italy.

"A lot of work has gone into rehab and getting myself back to full fitness which has gone really well," Carpenter said.

"As always with a new year, you don't really know what everybody else has been up to and with the first race we'll see if it's all been working."

Pleased with a top three finish

Carpenter has not won a major race since her 2014 World Championship victory, with Wales-based Rachel Atherton totally dominant on a 13-race winning run.

"Obviously I'd really like to win again and it's just figuring out how to do that and it's easy when you're winning and doing really well," said Carpenter.

"When things don't happen and you have some crashes and you have to think about how it was a few years ago,

"You can get distracted by thinking about the end result and I just want to ride as best I can."

She is hopeful of winning at least one of the nine World Cup rounds and improving generally on results which have seen her finish second overall in the series in 2015 and 2016.

Carpenter added: "This first race I'd be happy with a top three finish I think.

"I'll be targeting wins at Fort William especially and Andorra and they're venues which suit me best I think,

"But you can surprise yourself and get some good results on tracks you might think won't suit you well."

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