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Thirty-five racers headed to South Africa
USA Cycling announced on Wednesday the 35 riders that will represent the United States in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, at the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships from August 26 to September 1, and the three riders competing for the US at the 2013 UCI Four Cross Mountain Bike World Championships, to be held September 20-21, in Saalfelden Leogang, Austria.
The three-man elite men's cross country team features two automatic selections - Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team) and Todd Wells (Specialized Racing XC) - and one discretionary selection - Michael Broderick (Kenda-Stan's No Tubes).
Ettinger earned his automatic selection by winning the elite men's race at the 2013 US Cross Country National Championships at the Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, Pennsylvania., on July 20. Wells secured his spot by being in the top three of the US Professional Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) men's standings. Wells topped the final standings with 1,560 points.
Broderick, who also represented his country at the 2013 UCI Marathon World Championships in Kirchberg, Austria, on June 29, placed 25th in the men's race at the 2013 Pan American Continental Championships. He also placed 60th at the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.
The elite women's squad features three automatic selections (all Olympians) and a pair of discretionary choices. Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing XC), who earned an automatic nomination after winning the elite women's national championship, recently finished first in this year's Pro XCT women’s standings and is also sitting in 21st in the UCI’s overall ranking. Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team), who finished third in the elite women's race at the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, is sitting in 16th in the UCI overall ranking. The third automatic selection was earned by Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Stan's No Tubes), who is holding 28th place in the UCI overall rankings. Davison represented the US at the 2012 Olympic Games along with Gould, who also was a member of the 2008 US Olympic Team. McConneloug competed in the 2004 Games.
Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club) and Judy Freeman (Crankbrothers Race Club) are two discretionary selections after each performed well in Macungie. Woodruff, who finished second in the women's standings of the Pro XCT, finished fourth in the elite women's cross country race while Freeman placed 38th at the second UCI Mountain Bike World Cup race in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. Freeman also finished seventh in the national championship race.
Howard Grotts (Specialized Racing), Kerry Werner (BMC Mountain Development Team) and Russell Finsterwald (Trek Factory Racing) lead the four-man U23 men's contingent. Those three automatic selections are joined by 19-year-old Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing) as a discretionary selection. Grotts earned his automatic selection by placing seventh in the U23 men's contest at the second UCI Mountain Bike World Cup race in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, and by winning the race at the Missoula XC at Marshall Mountain in Missoula, Montana. Werner earned his selection when he rode away from the other two riders to win the U23 men's race at the 2013 Mountain Bike Nationals. Finsterwald finished fifth in the Subaru Cup Day 1 cross country in Mt. Morris, Wisconsin, to secure an automatic selection. Swenson recently placed 13th in the U23 men's race at the recent World Cup race in Vallnord, Andorra, and was a factor in the U23 race at nationals in Pennsylvania.
Shayna Powless (BMX Mountain Bike Development Team) and Kendall Ryan (Team Jeep South Africa) will represent their country in the U23 women's race. As the winner of the U23 women's national championship race, Powless earned an automatic selection. Ryan, who is a discretionary selection, is leading the South African cross country series and is sure to be a local favorite.
Lucas Newcomb (Whole Athlete-Specialized) is the lone automatic selection among the junior men. He earned his spot by winning that group's national championship race in Macungie and by winning the juniors men's 17-18 race at the US Cup Fontana City National in Fontana, California. Newcomb will be joined by three discretionary selections. Luke Vrouwenvelder (Cycle Youth), Sean Bennett (Whole Athlete/Specialized) and Neilson Powless (Folsom Bike-VW-Raley's), who placed second, third and fourth in the juniors men's 17-18 race in Pennsylvania.
Kate Courtney (Whole Athlete/Specialized), who was an automatic selection, and Kaylee Blevins (Durango Devo) will represent America in the juniors women's race in South Africa. Courtney recorded a pair of top-five results at UCI World Cup races this year, placing third in Albstadt, Germany, and fifth in the second world cup race in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. Blevins was the runner-up to Courtney in the juniors women's 17-18 cross country national championship race in Pennsylvania.
The Americans' downhill contingent is led by Jill Kintner (Team Norco International-Red Bull) who collected a pair of Stars-and-Stripes jerseys at the 2013 US Gravity National Championships in Angel Fire, New Mexico. Kintner earned automatic nominations to contest the downhill and the four cross in Austria in September after winning the downhill and dual slalom national championships in New Mexico.
Joining Kintner in red, white and blue in South Africa as automatic nominees to the elite women's downhill squad are Jacqueline Harmony (A Culture of Speed) and Anne Galyean (Integrity Racing-Deity). Harmony is ranked 26th in the UCI Downhill World Cup rankings. Galyean earned an automatic nomination by being the top-ranked rider in the Pro GRT women's rankings.
The United States will be represented by five men in the elite competition. Three of those - Logan Binggeli (KHS-LiveStrength-ISX Sports), Aaron Gwin (Specialized Racing DH) and Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing) - earned automatic selections to the squad. Gwin and Mulally qualified by being ranked 11th and 15th, respectively, in the UCI's Downhill World Cup rankings, while Binggeli tops the USA Cycling Professional Gravity Tour (Pro GRT) men's standings to earn his spot on the team.
Two discretionary selections fill out the remainder of the men's elite roster. Kevin Aiello (KHS Bicycles) finished fourth at the national championships in Angel Fire, New Mexico, and placed 68th in the elite men's downhill at the 2013 UCI Downhill World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy. Mitch Ropelato (Factory Specialized DH) also received a discretionary selection after he placed 37th at the world cup race in Vallnord, Andorra.
The junior men's downhill unit is comprised of six riders, including Luca Shaw (Specialized Gravity DH), who, with his brother Walker Shaw (Specialized Gravity USA) and Luca Cometti (Nema Nukeproof), received an automatic nomination. Luca Shaw received an automatic nomination by placing third in the juniors men's downhill at the UCI Downhill World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy. Walker Shaw received his automatic nomination after winning the 17-18 men's national championship in Angel Fire. Cometti earned his automatic nomination after steady performances in Pro GRT races coupled with a strong ride at the national championships. Jay Fesperman (Yeti Fox National Team) joins the team after placing 16th at the year’s first UCI Downhill World Cup in Fort William, Great Britain, and 42nd at the second World Cup in Italy. Richard Rude Jr. (Yeti-Fox Factory Racing) also received a discretionary selection after finishing 28th among the elite men at Fort William and 47th among elite men in Andorra. Cole Picchiottino (Trek-Southridge Racing) is another discretionary selection after finishing atop the juniors at the Reaper Madness DH at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada, and sixth at the Chile Challenge in Angel Fire.
Michelle Pederson (Bike n Sport Racing) topped the juniors women's 15-18 downhill podium at nationals after dusting her field by over two minutes to secure the Stars-and-Stripes jersey and earn an automatic nomination to represent her country at the world championships.
The United States will be represented in Austria by automatic nominee Barry Nobles (Airborne Cycles) and discretionary selection Blake Carney (Supercross BMX) in the men's four cross contest. Kintner received an automatic nomination to compete in the women's competition. Nobles, who represented the United States at the 2013 UCI BMX World Championships in New Zealand from July 27-28, topped the professional men's dual slalom field in Angel Fire the following weekend to earn his automatic nomination. Carney finished 18th in four cross at the 2012 UCI World Championships.
US team for UCI Mountain Bike World Championships
Cross country (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa)
Elite men: Michael Broderick (Kenda-Stan’s No Tubes), Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountain Bike Team), Todd Wells (Specialized Racing XC)
Elite women: Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing XC), Judy Freeman (Crankbrothers Race Club), Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team), Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Stan’s No Tubes), Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club)
U23 men: Russell Finsterwald (Trek Factory Racing), Howard Grotts (Specialized Racing), Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing), Kerry Werner (BMC Mountain Development Team)
U23 Women: Shayna Powless (BMX Mountain Bike Development Team), Kendall Ryan (Team Jeep South Africa)
Junior men: Sean Bennett (Whole Athlete-Specialized), Lucas Newcomb (Whole Athlete-Specialized), Neilson Powless (Folsom Bike-VW-Raley's), Luke Vrouwenvel (Cycle Youth)
Junior women: Kaylee Blevins (Durango Devo), Kate Courtney (Whole Athlete-Specialized)
Downhill (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa)
Elite men: Kevin Aiello (KHS Bicycles), Logan Binggeli (KHS-LiveStrength-ISX Sports), Aaron Gwin (Specialized Racing DH), Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing), Mitch Ropelato (Factory Specialized DH)
Elite women: Anne Galyean (Integrity Racing-Deity), Jacqueline Harmony (A Culture of Speed), Jill Kintner (Team Norco International)
Junior men: Luca Cometti (Nema Nukeproof), Jay Fesperman (Yeti Fox National Team), Cole Picchiottino (Trek-Southridge Racing), Richard Rude Jr. (Yeti-Fox Factory Racing), Luca Shaw (Specialized Gravity DH), Walker Shaw (Specialized Gravity USA)
Junior women: Michelle Pederson (Bike n Sport Racing)
Four Cross (Saalfelden / Leogang, Austria)
Elite men: Barry Nobles (Airborne Cycles)
Blake Carney (Supercross BMX)
Elite women: Jill Kintner (Team Norco International-RedBull)