Gee Atherton heads up British contingent heading Down Under

World Champion Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal) rides to fourth place.

World Champion Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal) rides to fourth place. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/

Gee Atherton is among the 28 riders selected by British Cycling  to travel to Canberra in Australia for the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships on September 1-7.

As current World Champion, Atherton will be aiming to retain his title in the downhill.  His toughest competition may come from his own teammate, Steve Peat, who is second place in the downhill World Cup competition after six rounds.  Last year's junior world downhill champion, Josh Bryceland will be racing in the senior ranks this time around.

Commonwealth Cross Country Gold medallist Liam Killeen has also made it onto the men's cross country team.  He and Oli Beckingsale will be two riders to watch on the circuit in Canberra.

Great Britain will field a strong crop of youngsters at the event, including Annie Last who has shown fantastic form recently when she beat champion Sabine Spitz twice and finished second overall in the recent Tour de l'Ain. Junior downhill rider Danny Hart, currently leading the junior World Cup series, has also made it onto the squad along with current junior European Downhill Champion Bernard Kerr.

Missing from the squad is defending downhill World Champion Rachel Atherton, who been sitting out all competitions as she recovers from a shoulder injury sustained in an accident with a vehicle during training earlier this year.

British National Team for 2009 UCI World Mountain Bike Championships
Elite men cross country: Oli Beckingsale, Liam Killeen
Elite women cross country: Sue Clarke

Under 23 men cross country:
David Fletcher, Scott Thwaites
Under 23 women cross country: Annie Last, Lily Matthews

Junior men cross country:
Kenta Gallagher, Steve James

Elite men downhill:
Gee Atherton, Marc Beaumont, Josh Bryceland, Brendan Fairclough, Steve Peat
Elite women downhill: Fionn Griffiths, Tracy Moseley

Junior men downhill:
Gareth Brewin, Arran Gannicott, Danny Hart, Harry Heath, Bernard Kerr

Elite men four cross:
Dan Atherton, Gee Atherton, Scott Beaumont
Elite women four cross: Fionn Griffiths

Elite men trials:
Andrei Burton, Daniel Butler, Ben Savage, Ben Slinger

Junior men trials:
Joe Oakley, Sam Oliver

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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.