USA Cycling selected 17 riders to represent the United States at the 2013 Pan-American Continental Mountain Bike Championships in Tucuman, Argentina, on April 3-7.
"Compared to previous years, we are bringing a small, but very strong team this year to the Pan Am Championships," USA Cycling Mountain Bike Program Director Marc Gullickson said. "We certainly have good chances to win in all categories, and I expect we will bring home some medals as well as international race experience."
Four riders will represent the United States in the elite men's cross country race. Defending national champion Sam Schultz (Trek Factory Racing), who also represented his country at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, is the lone automatic nomination to the team as he is the second-ranked American in the UCI's rankings as of March 1.
Schultz will bejoined by a trio of discretionary selections, including Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven-Stan’s No Tubes), Colin Cares (Kenda-Felt) and Mitchell Hoke (Kenda-Felt).
Broderick's wife and 2004 and 2008 Olympian, Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-Stan's No Tubes), is the third-ranked American woman in the UCI's standings as of March 1 and has earned an automatic selection. Joining McConneloug will be a discretionary selection, Erin Huck (Tokyo Joe’s).
Three burgeoning stars will represent the United States in the U23 men's category as discretionary selections. Defending national champion, Russell Finsterwald (Trek Factory Racing) will be joined by Kerry Werner (BMC U23 Mountain Bike Development Team), who finished third in the cross country mountain bike race at the 2012 Pan American Championships, and Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing). Swenson, who won the junior men's 17-18 national championship in 2012, earned a silver medal as a junior rider at the Pan American Championships in 2012.
Shayna Powless (BMC Mountain Bike Development Team) is the lone representative for the Americans in the women's U23 category. Powless, a discretionary selection, placed second in the women's U23 race at the national championships and placed fifth in two UCI World Cup races in 2012.
The Americans are strong in the juniors category as well. Automatic selection Kate Courtney (Whole Athlete-Specialized), who is the top-ranked American in the UCI's rankings, will contest the juniors women's race. Lucas Newcomb (Whole Athlete-Specialized), who finished second to Swenson in the juniors men's 17-18 race at the 2012 US National Championships, is a discretionary selection to compete in the juniors men's race.
Five discretionary selections will contest the elite downhill categories. Two-time defending Pan American downhill champion, Jacqueline Harmony (A Culture of Speed) is the lone American elite women's rider. Matthew Branney, Dante Harmony, Max Morgan and Graeme Pitts (Turner Bicycles-One Industries-Smith Optics-Hay) are the four who will don the red, white and blue in the elite men's category.
Competition is slated to begin Friday, April 3, in Tucuman, Argentina.
US MTB Team for the 2013 Continental Mountain Bike Championships
Elite men cross country
Sam Schultz* (Trek Factory Racing)
Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven-Stan's No Tubes)
Colin Cares (Kenda-Felt)
Mitchell Hoke (Kenda-Felt)
Elite women cross country
Mary McConneloug* (Kenda-Seven-Stan's No Tubes)
Erin Huck (Tokyo Joe's)
U23 men cross country
Russell Finsterwald (Trek Factory Racing)
Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing)
Kerry Werner (BMC U23 Mountainbike Development Team)
U23 women cross country
Shayna Powless (BMC Mountainbike Development Team)
Junior men cross country
Lucas Newcomb (Whole Athlete-Specialized)
Junior women cross country
Kate Courtney* (Whole Athlete-Specialized)
Elite men downhill
Graeme Pitts (Turner Bicycles-One Industries-Smith Optics-Hay)
Elite women downhill
Jacqueline Harmony (A Culture of Speed)
* indicated automatic selection