80 mountain bikers, including 50 men and 30 women, will represent 35 total nations in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games in August after the UCI announced the final national spots per Criterion 2, based on the 2007 Continental Championships, of its selection procedure. Choices in accordance with Criterion 1, based upon UCI rankings from 2006 and 2007, were announced earlier this month.
32 nations will be represented in the men's race while 22 nations will appear in the elite women's race. Considering Criterion 1 alone, the number of qualified countries jumped from 22 to 24 for the men and from 14 to 18 for the women when comparing the 2004 Athens Olympic Games to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The increase is due to efforts to modify the qualifying system to encourage greater international participation.
The additions per Criterion 2 include Namibia, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Costa Rica, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Hungary and Turkey for the men and South Africa, Chile, Japan and Australia for the women.
By June 20, all national Olympic Committees are expected to have confirmed the filling of their places. A commission including representatives of the IOC, ANOC, and UCI would meet to award any unclaimed places.
On Friday, the UCI also released on its website a map and profile of the 4.190km course (with 224m of elevation change) as well as 30 photographs.
Men's nations for the Olympics: France, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Germany (sending three riders each); United States, Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Great Britain (sending two riders each); Czech Republic, New Zealand, Australia, Poland, Russia, Colombia, Ukraine, Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Ireland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Costa Rica, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, Turkey (sending one rider each).
Women's nations for the Olympics: China, Germany, United States, Canada, Norway, Poland, Russia, Switzerland (sending two riders each); France, Czech Republic, Spain, Slovenia, Netherlands, Austria, New Zealand, Italy, Sweden, Brazil, South Africa, Chile, Japan, Australia (sending one rider each).