USA Cycling announced the 43 athletes that have been nominated to represent the United States at the upcoming 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra, Australia, Sept. 1-6.
In the first Mountain Bike World Championship event since the Olympic Games in Beijing, American cross country athletes will square off against rivals from across the globe in the only Olympic discipline of off-road cycling. Seven men and six women have been nominated to the elite cross country squad.
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Gary Fisher) received the only automatic nomination to the men’s team as USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike National Champion. He is joined by Adam Craig (Bend, Ore./Giant), Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized), Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont./Subaru-Gary Fisher), Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda), Carl Decker (Bend, Ore./Giant) and Sam Jurekovic (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sho-air-Specialized) who all received discretionary nominations.
On the women’s side, Willow Koerber (Asheville, N.C./Subaru-Gary Fisher), Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda) and Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Gary Fisher) were automatically nominated – Koerber and McConneloug by virtue of podium performances at UCI World Cup events earlier this season and Irmiger due to her win at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships.
Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna), Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Judy Freeman (Boulder, Colo.) all received discretionary nominations based upon international results.
In the gravity events, Aaron Gwin (Morongo Valley, Calif./Yeti) received the lone men’s downhill automatic nomination by virtue of his third-place World Cup finish and his national championship in that event. Kyle Strait (Riverside, Calif.), Duncan Riffle (Santa Barbara, Calif./Duncan Riffle Racing), Luke Strobel (Renton, Wash./Maxxis), Cody Warren (El Cajon, Calif./Decline), Brian Lopes (Laguna Beach, Calif./Oakley) and Joey Schusler (Boulder, Colo./Yeti-Fox Shox) received discretionary nominations to the elite men’s downhill team.
As the winner of the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships downhill contest, Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz./KHS) received the only automatic nomination to the elite women’s downhill squad. Kathy Pruitt (Santa Cruz, Calif./Jamis) will join her as a discretionary selection.
As the national champion, 17-year-old Mitch Ropelato (Ogden, Utah) received an automatic nomination to the elite men’s 4X squad. Mike Haderer (Concord, Calif.) and Blake Carney (Camarillo, Calif.) will join Ropelato on the men’s 4-cross squad as discretionary selections. Buhl and 2008 BMX Olympian Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash./Red Bull) both earned automatic nominations to the women’s 4X squad by virtue of multiple World Cup podium performances.
Eleven junior and U23 cross country athletes were also named to the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Championship squad that will represent the United States, along with five junior men’s downhillers. See below for the complete list.
Other U.S. Team Nominations:
U23 Men’s Cross Country
Colin Cares (Colorado Springs, Colo.)**
Rob Squire (Sandy, Utah)
Tad Elliott (Durango, Colo.)
U23 Women’s Cross Country
Amy Dombrowski (Boulder, Colo.)**
Chloe Forsman (Tucson, Ariz.)
Junior Men’s Cross Country
Russell Finsterwald (Colorado Springs, Colo.)**
Zach McDonald (Bainbridge Island, Wash.)
Seth Kemp (Campobello, S.C.)
Eric Emsky (Fall City, Wash.)
Junior Women XCO
Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo.)**
Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
Junior Men’s Downhill
Mitch Ropelato (Ogden, Utah)**
Kevin Aiello (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
Luciano Worl (Woodinville, Wash.)
Tom Neer (Arvada, Colo.)
Geoffrey Ulmer (Troy, N.Y.)
**denotes automatic nomination