The UCI published on Wednesday the qualification system for mountain biking in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. This system is similar to that used for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Up to a total of 50 men and 30 women may compete in cross country mountain biking at the Olympics. The majority of the rider spots are allocated based on national rankings as tallied by the UCI. National rankings are compiled from the points of the top three best placed individual riders for each nation.
A nation's UCI Olympic Qualification Ranking will be calculated from a combination of the UCI national rankings as of May 23, 2011 and May 23, 2012. The UCI ranking by nation as of May 23, 2011 is based on results from May 23, 2010 to May 22, 2011. That means that results from UCI races starting later this month will begin counting toward Olympic qualification for 2012. The May 23, 2012 national ranking will be based on results from May 23, 2011 to May 22, 2012.
For the men, nations ranked first through fifth will send up to three mountain bikers to the Olympics. The sixth through 13th ranked nations will send up to two per nation while the 14th through 24th nations will send one rider each.
For the women, the top eight ranked nations will send up to two mountain bikers each. Ninth through 18th ranked nations may enter one rider.
African, American, Asian and Oceanic nations who do not qualify riders based on their country's rankings may qualify riders based on individual rankings from their respective 2011 Continental Championships. The top two ranked men and the top ranked women from each Continental Championship, if not already qualified through their nation's rankings, may go to the Olympic Games.
Any open Olympic spots not filled by the above criteria by June 15, 2012, may be filled by eligible nations which request invitations from the Tripartite Commission. Should remaining spots not be filled by the Tripartite Commission, additional rules specify how reserve rider will be selected.
The UCI will release the number of quota placements by nation on June 1, 2012, and nations will have until June 15, 2012, to confirm the places they intend to fill. Reallocation of unused selections per Tripartite Commission invitations and reserves is expected by June 29, 2012.
Olympic hopefuls will know their fates by no later than July 9, 2012, when entry forms are due to the London 2012 Organizing Committee. The 2012 Olympic Games are scheduled for July 27 to August 12.
The qualifications for Olymipc track and BMX disciplines were also released and the details for the road disciplines are expected soon.
For a complete summary of the qualification system, visit www.uci.ch.
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.