Haley Batten qualifies for Tokyo Olympic Games

Haley Batten was third in the Albstadt World Cup 2021
Haley Batten was third in the Albstadt World Cup 2021 and second in Nove Mesto (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Haley Batten is the second rider from the US, alongside former world champion Kate Courtney, to qualify for the women's mountain bike event at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The American secured the automatic spot after finishing second in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Nové Město na Moravě on Sunday.

Batten, who comes from Park City, Utah, and races for Trinity Racing, has had an extraordinary run of success during the opening two rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. 

The 22-year-old moved up to the elite women’s category a year early and has quickly shown that she is one of the best riders in the world.

She opened her account with a bronze medal at the World Cup in Albstadt two weeks ago, finishing behind French duo; winner Loana Lecomte (Massi) and world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Absolute-Absalon-BMC), while her US compatriot Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM) finished fourth.

"I honestly didn't know what I was capable of," Batten said. "So, to start the season like this is pretty incredible."

Batten went on to win the short track event on Friday at the second round of the Mountain Bike World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, ahead of Lecomte and Jenny Rissveds of Sweden. 

Following that victory, Batten secured the silver medal in the women's cross-country event behind winner Lecomte, and ahead of bronze medallist Rebecca McConnell (Primaflor Mondraker XSauce).

It was this performance, as the only US rider to finish in the top-8, that secured her a spot on the three-rider team for the elite women's mountain bike event at the Olympic Games this summer.

Batten joins Courtney as one of the two women to automatically qualify for the mountain bike team headed to Tokyo. That leaves one more starting position for the USA which will be determined by the discretionary selection criteria, according to a press release from USA Cycling.

The US men's team have earned a single starting position in the mountain bike event, leaving the discretionary selection between Christopher Blevins and Keegan Swenson.

The final Olympic Team will be announced by USA Cycling on June 10, 2021.

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Kirsten Frattini
Women's Editor

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.