Our worst fears have been confirmed and Rachel Atherton will sadly be out for the next three to four months due to surgery on her shoulder that she injured in the Winter training accident. She will miss most of the 2009 season but there is a chance she will be fit for the September World Championships in Canberra. All at Dirt wish her a speedy recovery.

Here's the official word from Commencal team manager Dan Brown:


Animal Commencal team director Dan Brown has confirmed that Rachel Atherton is to have surgery on her injured shoulder.

The current women’s Downhill World Champion sustained nerve damage to her left shoulder during pre-season training camp in America and is expected to be out of action for the next three to four months.

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

However fans will still see Rachel on the circuit as she’ll be joining the Animal Commencal team and enjoying a temporary role as race commentator on the Nissan UCI World Cup Series for Freecaster.

Animal Commencal team director Dan Brown said: “The nerve in Rachel’s shoulder has seen little improvement over the past four weeks so the surgeon has taken the decision to operate. We’re hoping Rachel will be back in training in around three to four months so there’s still a chance she will compete at the World Championships in August.

Follow Rach’s recovery via her blog.

Fellow Animal Commencal riders Dan (27) and Gee (24) Atherton are looking to stamp their authority on the 2009 season.

Both riders have enjoyed some overseas training recently with Dan staying Stateside after the Sea Otter Classic and Gee enjoying the terrain in Italy.

Dan will be looking for his first 4-Cross win of the season this weekend (1-3 May) at Houffalize, Belgium.

Meanwhile, current Downhill World Champion Gee recently clocked up a win in AE, Scotland and will be looking for top spots in the DH in France and Andorra where he won World Cup Rd 2 last year.

Join the Atherton ‘Extended Family’ at www.athertonracing.co.uk to stay in touch with all the latest news from team Animal Commencal.

downhill mountain bike star Rachel Atherton to undergo surgery to her injured shoulder