Despite the global financial crisis the International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced mountain bike team registrations are only down marginally on last year's figures. Some 90 squads from America, Europe and Oceania have registered for 2009, down by six on last year's figures.
One breakthrough comes from Ireland having registered a UCI Mountain Bike Team for the first time, while Australia makes a comeback this year with two new teams. In all some 18 nations are represented by the 90 squads.
"The Olympic cross-country teams once again make up an important part of the overall number of UCI Mountain Bike teams: 57 percent compared with 36 percent for the downhill and 4X teams," read a UCI release. "The remaining seven percent are mixed teams in which Olympic cross-country specialists rub shoulders with downhill-4X riders."
While this year's figures are marginally down on last year, the sport has maintained its phenomenal growth from the past decade. The number of registered squads is three times higher than those which registered in 2000, the first year of UCI Mountain Bike Teams.
See the full list of registered squads at the UCI's website.