RACHEL Atherton has pulled out of the Great Britain squad for the forthcoming World Downhill Championships.

The Llangynog star was set to join Llanfyllin’s Tahnee Seagrave in representing Britain in Leogang in Austria.

However she has taken the decision to withdraw, citing injury concerns.

She said: “This last year I have been rehabbing my ruptured Achilles tendon, an injury that has tested my mental strength to the limit.

“I knew it would be a long road back to the top, and after intense discussions with my physio of the last 10 years, Doug Jones and the rest of the team, I have taken the decision not to race at the World Championships this year because I am just not 100 per cent.

“I cannot give less than 100 per cent of myself in a race.”

“This is a really hard decision to make, whenever i have been injured in the past I have rushed back quickly and returned to the top step within months, a gruelling task for the body but a task which I relish and enjoy.

“I have been working so hard to be ready but unfortunately this time I am just not ready yet, and I can’t risk further injury.”

Atherton vowed to fight back and return to the saddle in the near future.

She said: “This time I need to listen to my body and respect what it has allowed me to achieve over the years, by giving it time to fully recover before I do battle again.

“This sport is a tough game and we must take the ups with the downs, there have been a lot of ups in my career, but also a lot of downs, injuries for me are part of the deal of winning.

“Thanks to my incredible sponsors who are there for the wins and also the injuries.

“I want to thank every one of you who has sent me a message or reached out in some way over the last year and indeed over all the years,”