Manon Carpenter Retires From Downhill Racing

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Manon Carpenter is retiring from downhill, say her current team Radon Factory Racing.

Manon became downhill world champion in 2014.

In a statement released by Radon Bikes today, Manon said:

“The decision for me to withdraw from racing has come about quickly, but the reasons have been there for a while. Over the races this year I’ve been finding it harder to face up to difficult situations – high consequence sections or changing conditions – and during National Champs weekend I came to the conclusion that I just didn’t want to take the risks involved with racing at 100% anymore. Racing Downhill is gnarly and you have to have the confidence to commit to whatever is put in front of you, whereas I’ve become more aware of the consequences of crashing and, as much as I’ve tried to put this out of my head, it’s stopped me from enjoying racing as I would like to.

“I’ve had everything I needed to prepare myself as best I could for racing this year with a great bike, sponsors and support from Radon Factory DH Team. Everyone has put their best efforts into helping me and I wanted to finish the season with Radon, as I know I made commitments to them, but quickly realised that World Cup racing isn’t something I should force myself into if my head isn’t in it.

“Racing on the World Cup circuit has been an amazing and unexpected opportunity for me. After racing as a Junior years ago I set out to race in Elite for a year to see what I could do before starting Uni, but my first season showed promise and everything else went on hold. I wanted to race until I got as far as I could, or until I injured myself, so I’m happy to have made it this far relatively in one piece!

“There have been some huge highlights and I feel like I’ve given as much as I had, now I’m looking forward to having time to enjoy riding at home and to see what else there is for me to do. I’m very grateful to everyone who has followed, supported and believed in me over the years of racing and to those who have been supportive of this decision so far.”

manon carpenter singletrackworld singletrack magazine
Manon Carpenter left Saracen for Radon in November 2016.

Radon Factory DH team manager Joost Wichman also gave a statement:
“From the first conversation I had with Manon, Crankworx 2016, I was convinced that this girl had it in her to challenge every single female rider on the World Cup circuit for the top spot on the box. I am still convinced about this, this girl can ride a bike like no other. The whole Radon crew was stoked to get the confirmation that she would start the 2017 season on our Radon Swoop200. After a good winter of training and testing we started the season with a podium spot, the first ever World Cup podium for Radon. A great starting point to build from, followed by podiums in Fort Bill and Leogang.

“I do not know many athletes who work as professional as Manon. Going through suspensions settings with her Mechanic Gavin, getting feedback from her lines-scout Andi and going over GoPro footage together to find the best lines on track. Leaving nothing to the unexpected.

“As the season continued we noticed she got more and more insecure and more tight up on the bike. We talked a lot about this, searched for solutions and tried to eliminate all uncertainties, but as Manon said above, after National Champs she came to the conclusion that she’s not up for the risks anymore.

“As team manager you’re shocked, but you also see it coming. You try to find solutions to change her mind-set, but in the end you can’t send a rider up the hill who is not confident to race, you have to respect this. Of course I am sad, as the whole team is, but we are also proud and blessed that we had the opportunity to work with Manon, and that we achieved several world cup podiums together. I would like to thank Manon and wish her all the best of luck in her career after racing”

Manon Carpenter at Fort William
Manon at Fort William this year (photo: Irmo Keizer).

Carpenter was notably absent in Mont-Sainte-Anne earlier this month; not racing there and subsequently announcing this retirement must have been enormously difficult decisions. Whatever’s next, we thank Manon for years of entertainment, and wish her the absolute best.

Comments (10)

    What a shame. She’s done the right thing though, a World Cup DH track is nowhere to be if your head’s not right and you’re full of self doubt.

    When you look at the crashes she’s had, wow, many a lesser rider would have given up before now! If eve there was a sport that you should stop when it’s not fun anymore it’s DH racing….

    (I reckon Rachael might also quit at the end of this year… (LAR, Life After Rachael will be interesting in womens DH)

    Sad news but I think Manon’s made the right decision. If you don’t feel comfortable you only risk your own safety so making such a tough decision is the best thing to do.

    Good luck Manon, and keep enjoying riding.

    Ahhh gutted for her.

    She’s my DH girl crush…. Sad to see her go but hopefully she’ll go back to just enjoying riding and having fun instead

    Good luck Manon

    Shame to see her go, but I’d not want to race WC DH if I wasn’t 100%. Making a living out of riding bikes started from having fun and once that’s gone it’s probably game over.

    Hopefully she won’t be list to the industry because she’s still got a lot to offer as an ambassador or whatever.

    Looking at how some races this year have not been moved forward to avoid weather, severity of tracks etc I hope this causes the UCI to reappraise how the approach the risk in this excellent but potentially dangerous sport.

    Fair play to Manon, I look forward to seeing what this talented rider does next.

    Perhaps a switch to Enduro racing? Would be interesting to see some downhill racers take on Cecile Ravanel, as she has bossed the women’s competition this year. A bit more competition for the top step would be nice to see.

    Such a shame but seen it coming,shes not been confident on the bike for sometime & won,t be switching to enduro instead will be heading to further her education .it is still a logistical nightmare jonny to try to switch up the schedule trying to dodge the weather given that most tracks have a different climate from top to bottom too and whilst i agrea sonething can be done to help its a difficult task to find what will help.

    Rach also has another season in her then will retire from racing to switch to enduro
    Therek deal also coincides with this and won,t be renewed for the athertons once the current deal ends.

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