Eight years after a chance meeting in Hafjell, Norway, Mille Johnset will be moving on from Atherton Racing for 2022 and beyond.
From meeting Rachel Atherton in Norway to World Cup podiums and first wins, Mille Johnset’s time with Atherton Racing has grown from promise to potential. The team have announced that she’ll be moving on for 2022.
Read the full press release from Atherton Racing below.
8 years of race wins and unsuitable footwear as Atherton Racing wave goodbye to Mille Johnset
We first met Mille at Hafjell in 2013. She was supposed to be course sweeper but when the organisers ruled that she was too young she got to give out the timing chips instead… A start-hut meeting with Rachel was the beginning of a pathway that would see Mille develop from a talented tween to World Cup winner and see her take her first Elite podium in the 2021 World Cup Series.
12 year old Mille had already been racing for a year and had won the 2012 Norwegian Championship. Rachel said “Even aged 12 or 13 Mille was so strong! And so mature, for a couple of years I kept an eye on her Instagram, I remember how sorted she was, how she presented herself, her posts gave a real sense of the fun she was having riding her bike. We started to chat and to talk about how we might support her…”
Mille said. ‘I was already hooked on racing – even though often I was the only one in my category! Rachel and I talked about this a lot, knowing that she had been in the same position so many times was really encouraging”
Part of the ethos of the Atherton Academy is to provide a pathway to World Cup success without the pressure of young riders having to deliver results or be too much in the public eye, so we took things slowly – at first Mille was still skiing competitively and riding in the summer months. But after her 2016 season, when she took the British Downhill Series Overall and charged to the win at Red Bull’s Foxhunt, it was clear that word was out!
Mille looks back on that time with the Atherton Academy fondly,
“At first it was me and Kade (Edwards), then Jamie Cable and Luke Williamson joined too. It was at that point I decided that I needed to quit skiing and really commit to racing Downhill. There were some awesome training camps with the Athertons and Taylor Vernon then Muddy (Graeme Mudd, Trek Factory Racing 2017). And there was an amazing Academy camp in Dyfi where Affy was coaching and helping us out – I still think about those pointers all the time. It was raining and snowing – and so cool! One of the best weekends ever!”
Mille graduated to our full factory team and in 2019 she got to ride the Atherton Bike for the first time. Mille said “It was such a crazy time, when I signed the contract for 2019 I hadn’t even see the bike but I knew it would be good. By the time I got to ride it was only a few weeks to the World Cup but I felt at home right away, this bike made me feel safer, more confident. For the first time I understood the difference that a few mm, or a few extra psi can make – it’s definitely made me a better rider and to take my first World Cup at Val di Sole was unreal!”
2021 saw Mille’s first Elite podium ( 4th at Les Gets) and will be her final season with the team.
Mille said “ I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities that Atherton Racing gave me and for all the memories. I have learned, grown and overcome, there have been endless different experiences over these years and I wish the team all the very best for the upcoming season and into the future.”
Atherton Racing’s Team Director Dan Brown said “We’re always proud and excited to launch our Atherton Academy riders into the next stages of their career. Mille is the latest success story out of a programme that started in 2012 with Taylor Vernon and Martin Maes. We wish her all the luck and look forward to watching her go from strength to strength.”
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