Great Britain's Rachel Atherton won the elite women's downhill World Championships today for the fifth time in her career ©Getty Images

Britain's Rachel Atherton won the International Cycling Union elite women's downhill title at the Mountain Bike World Championships for the fifth time, finishing a full 10 seconds clear of her compatriot Tahnee Seagrave in Switzerland, as France's Loic Bruni defended the men's title.

British star Atherton, who began riding at the age of 11 and is also the overall World Cup winner this year, took the title in emphatic fashion in the mountain resort of Lenzerheide.

As the favourite for the title Atherton went last, having just seen her British team-mate Seagrave set the time to beat of 3min 25.721sec.

Atherton was faster right from the off, however, crossing the first time check three seconds faster than Seagrave and eventually finishing in 3:15.738.

The home nation's best chance at a medal came through Emilie Siegenthaler, but having just come back from an elbow injury she suffered in July, the Swiss was only able to finish sixth, 10 seconds outside the medals.

Bronze went to Myriam Nicole from France who finished in 3:26.414.

In front of huge crowds which adorned the mountainside all day, Frenchman Loic Bruni then defended his men's title to claim his third World Championships gold in all. 

Unlike Atherton in the women's competition, Bruni did not go last, but those that followed him were unable to surpass his time of 2:55.114.

Coming closest to doing so was Belgium's Martin Maes, whose time of 2:55.327 won him the silver. 

Danny Hart, the 2016 world champion, ensured Britain were represented on the men's podium as well as the women's, taking the bronze with a time of 2:55.419.