(Aug. 1, 2014) -- USA Cycling announced Friday the 25-member cross-country and 16-member downhill teams to compete at the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, which will run Sept. 2-7 in Hafjell, Norway.
Todd Wells posts up after his convincing Pro Cross-Country National Championship win. (photo by Todd Leister)
Five elite men received invitations to compete at the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships with automatic bids coming for Stephen Ettinger (Bozeman, Mont./BMC Mountainbike Racing Team) and Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized Factory Racing), and discretionary selections coming for Russell Finsterwald (Colorado Springs, Colo./SRAM-Troy Lee Designs Race Team), Spencer Paxson (Bellingham, Wash./Kona Factory Team) and Kerry Werner (Banner Elk, N.C./BMC Project Dirt p/b KMC).
Recipients of discretionary selections, Finsterwald’s second-place effort at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, Calif., fourth-place finish at the Pro XCT’s Mellow Johnny’s Classic on March 1 and eighth-place finish at the Cross-Country Mountain Bike National Championships earned a nod, while respective second- and fifth-place finishes at the National Championships for Paxson and Werner were enough to make the roster.
Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt./Specialized Factory Racing), Erin Huck (Boulder, Colo./Tokyo Joes-VCGraphix.com) and Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./LUNA Pro Team) lead a strong group of elite women to the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships with automatic bids thanks to international success, and Evelyn Dong (Park City, Utah/Backcountry.com), Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass./Team KENDA-Stan’s NoTubes) and Chloe Woodruff (Tucson, Ariz./Backcountry.com) impressed in 2014, earning discretionary bids to compete at the event.
Davison rides her 2014 Cross-Country Mountain Bike National Championships win, as well as her 29th-place UCI ranking, into Norway, where she will be joined by fellow automatic bid winners Huck, who finished second in the Pro XCT standings, and Gould, who is ranked 30th in the UCI standings.
Dong took third at the Cross-Country National Championships, McConneloug finished third at the 2014 Pan American Championships, March 27-30 in Londrina, Brazil, and fifth at the 2014 Cross-Country Mountain Bike National Championships, and Woodruff placed third at the Mellow Johnny’s Classic and fourth at the Missoula XC on June 21 in Missoula, Mont., to earn discretionary selections.
Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Specialized Racing XC) and Keegan Swenson (Park City, Utah/Cannondale Factory Racing) earned U23 men’s automatic bids, while Sepp Kuss (Durango, Colo./RMCF-Devo) and Casey Williams (Big Bear City, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized Cycling Team) rounded out the group with discretionary selections.
Swenson earned a men's U23 men's automatic bid to the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. (photo by Todd Leister)
Grotts’ nod came on the heels of his Missoula XC win and third-place result at World Cup #4 in Albstadt, Germany, June 1, while Swenson punched his ticket with his National Championships win and 10th-place effort at World Cup #1 in Pietermaritzburg, Russia.
Kuss placed third at the National Championships and seventh at the WORS Cup in Portage, Wis., on July 12, and Williams finished fourth at the National Championships, sixth at the Specialized Catamount Classic, July 26, in Williston, Vt., and 17th at the WORS Cup to earn discretionary roster spots.
On the women’s side, Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif.) earned the lone U23 automatic bid, and Kaylee Blevins (Durango, Colo./Bear Development Team) and Shayna Powless (Roseville, Calif.) earned discretionary bids.
Courtney’s bid came after winning the National Championship, recording a fourth-place finish at World Cup #2 in Cairns, Australia, a ninth-place result at World Cup #3 in Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic, and a 10th-place finish at World Cup #4 in Albstadt.
Taking similar routes to their discretionary selections, Blevins earned bronze at the 2014 National Championships and finished 18th at the Missoula XC, while Powless picked up silver at the National Championships and placed 10th at the WORS Cup.
Three juniors men picked up automatic bids to the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, as Neilson Powless (Roseville, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized), Sean Bennett (El Cerrito, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) and Landen Beckner (Helena, Mont.) used World Cup and UCI success to earn roster spots. The three automatic bids were joined by discretionary selections Carson Beckett (Benton, Ky./Wood-N-Wave) and Garrett Gerchar (Boulder, Colo./Boulder Junior Cycling-Tokyo Joe’s Jr.).
Powless’ top-10 performances at World Cup #3 and World Cup #4 gave him the automatic pass, while Bennett’s National Championship and eighth-place effort at World Cup #3, and Beckner’s 54 UCI points collected from three North American Juniors UCI races met the auto bid criteria.
Beckett’s bronze at the 2014 Cross-Country Mountain Bike National Championships and seventh-place result at the U.S. Cup Pro Series stop in Fontana, Calif., on March 22 were enough to leverage him into a discretionary selection, as were Gerchar’s National Championships silver medal and three top-25 UCI race finishes.
Ksenia Lepikhina (Boulder, Colo.) earned the lone juniors women’s automatic roster spot, and Shea Chavez (Flagstaff, Ariz.) took the division’s only discretionary spot.
Lepikhina won the 2014 National Championship and compiled 94 UCI points from three North American Juniors UCI races to take her guaranteed spot, while Chavez earned her discretionary slot thanks to a bronze-medal performance at the National Championships and a 16th-place finish at UCI race #1.
Seven men were selected in the elite division with automatic bids coming for Aaron Gwin (Wildomar, Calif./Factory Specialized), Neko Mulally (Pisgah Forest, N.C./Trek World Cycling) and Kevin Aiello (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./KHS Bicycles), while Logan Binggeli (Saint George, Utah/KHS Bicycles), Eliot Jackson (Westlake Village, Calif.), Kiran MacKinnon (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and Max Morgan (Duluth, Ga.) earned discretionary selections.
Aaron Gwin is one of three elite men to earn automatic bids for the downhill competition. (photo by Philip Beckman)
Gwin received the automatic nod after winning the 2014 Gravity Mountain Bike National Championships on June 22 in Angel Fire, N.M., taking top-five finishes at the first three World Cups of the season and for being ranked second in the UCI World Cup overall rankings as of Aug. 1. Mulally’s automatic selection came after placing third at World Cup #2 in Cairns, Australia, April 25, and for being ranked ninth overall in the UCI World Cup rankings as of Aug. 1. Aiello earned his automatic selection because he leads the men’s Pro Mountain Bike Gravity Tour (GRT) rankings as of Aug. 1 with 153 points.
Receiving discretionary selections, Binggeli placed fourth at the 2014 Gravity Mountain Bike National Championships, while Jackson took 25th at World Cup #2 in Cairns, 35th at World Cup #3 in Fort William, Scotland, on June 7, and 45th at World Cup #4 in Leogang, Austria, June 15. McKinnon took top-10 results at the 2014 Gravity Mountain Bike National Championships, the April 13 Sea Otter Classic and the Pro GRT Plattekill Gravity Open in Roxbury, N.Y., May 21-25.
Also receiving automatic bids are Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash./Team Norco Intl.) and Alison Zimmer (Lincoln, Vt. VT/Gravity Racing-Xprezo), who are the lone U.S. elite women’s selections for the 2014 Mountain Bike World Championships.
Kintner nabbed her automatic bid after taking the win at the 2014 Gravity Mountain Bike National Championships, placing third at World Cup #1 in Pietermaritzburg, Russia, April 12, taking fifth at World Cup #3 and being ranked sixth in the UCI World Cup Rankings as of Aug. 1. Zimmer’s automatic bid came from being ranked first in Pro GRT rankings as of Aug. 1.
Three juniors men took automatic bids to the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, as Luca Shaw (Hendersonville, N.C./SRAM-Troy Lee Designs), Shane Leslie (Birmingham, Mich.)and Chase Nelson (Littleton, Colo./Trek Southridge Racing) accomplished enough in 2014 to get the nod, while Charlie Harrison (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) and Matt Branney (Littleton, Colo.) were granted discretionary selections.
Jill Kintner looks to continue a strong 2014 campaign at the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships (photo by Philip Beckman)
Shaw took the win at World Cup #1 and placed third at World Cup #4 to punch his ticket, while Leslie recorded the fastest junior time at the 2014 Gravity Mountain Bike National Championships to earn the automatic bid. Nelson recorded the fastest junior time among the Pro GRT rider pool at the event.
Earning discretionary selections, Harrison took second at the 2014 Gravity Mountain Bike National Championships as well as at the fifth Pro GRT competition, the July 20 Bikes, Brews and Views in Beach Mountain, N.C., while Branney recorded top-five finishes at the Pro GRT’s NW Cup April 19-20 in Port Angeles, Wash., the Plattekill Gravity Open, May 21-25, in Roxbury, N.Y., and at Bikes, Brews and Views, as well as a seventh-place result at the Gravity Mountain Bike National Championships.
Michelle Pederson (Los Alamos, N.M./Bike n Sport Racing) notched the lone juniors women’s automatic bid after winning the Junior National Championship, while Taylor Allison (Woodstock, N.Y.) got the discretionary nod for taking third at the Plattekill Gravity Open.