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Nations rankings updated for Olympic MTB qualifying

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Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) leads the women's field up the first big climb

Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) leads the women's field up the first big climb
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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No one could match Nino Schurter's technical skills on the cross country course in Czech.

No one could match Nino Schurter's technical skills on the cross country course in Czech.
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
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The elite men charge uphill on the first lap in Houffalize, Belgium

The elite men charge uphill on the first lap in Houffalize, Belgium
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)

Thanks to CanadianCyclist.com for permission to post this article.

The UCI has published updated standings for nation rankings to include last weekend's World Cup in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. While the official qualification period does not end until after this weekend's World Cup in La Bresse, France, the nation rankings are unlikely to change in any meaningful way - meaning how many Olympic spots each nation receives. Note that none of the following is official until the UCI and IOC publish the "official" standings in a few weeks.

The ranking is based on a combination of the combined points for the top-three riders of each nation for the periods May 23, 2010 to May 22, 2011 PLUS for the period May 23, 2011 to May 22, 2012. The UCI has just published updated rankings as of May 15, 2012 for the current qualifying period.

For the women, the top eight nations get two spots, and 9 through 18 get one spot. For the men, the top five get three spots each, 9 to 13 ranked get two spots and 14 to 24 each get one spot. Of course, this does not include positions that are qualified through winning Continental Championships (more on that below).

The table below provides the full breakdown. Canada is ranked number one in women, and is 280 points ahead of second place Switzerland, so it is not going to lose any positions, no matter what the outcome of the races this weekend. The United States will also be sending two athletes, despite the loss of points-getting machine Willow Rockwell after she retired, because all of her points from 2010-2011 still count. Similarly, the last of the top-eight - Norway - has 358 points on Russia, so it is safe. In the last qualifying spot is Denmark, with a comfortable buffer of 118 points over 19th place Hungary.

Now, as mentioned above, this does not include Continental Championship results, which shuffle things a bit. For example, New Zealand won the Oceania Championship, but they already have qualified through nation rankings, so that spot goes to the next nation in the Continental Championships, which was Australia (which didn't qualify anyone through nations ranking).

On the men's side it is similar, with the top-five - led by powerhouse Switzerland - all getting three spots on the start line. Fifth place Germany has over 1000 points on sixth ranked Italy, so it are all safe. Six through 13 in the rankings get two spots, and that includes both the United States (8th) and Canada (11th). Belgium is the final nation to get two spots, and 14th place Olympic host Great Britain is 443 points in arrears to them, so the Brits won't be making that up. In the final one spot group, Cyprus gets the last opening under nation ranking, and it is 118 points ahead of Portugal, so it is also pretty safe.

As with the women, the Continental Championships will add some missing nations, such as New Zealand, which didn't qualify through nation ranking, but were the second nation in the Oceania Championships, behind already qualified Australia. In the Americas, Todd Wells won, but the United States is already qualified, so it goes to Argentina, who had a rider finish second at the Pan Am Championships (and is not qualified through nation ranking.

Clear? Well, it still isn't done, because some nations may turn down some of their spots, for example, if it receives two spots and only one rider meets its national criteria. In that case, the UCI/IOC will re-allocate any such spots to nations next on the list, under a complicated formula.

Update with correction

Andrea Bianco, the Colombian team manager, pointed out a mistake in the analysis of the Continental Championship spots awarded for the Olympic mountain bike races after the initial posting of this article. The results of the 2012 Championships were used; however, the criteria actually uses the results of the previous year (ie, 2011) to determine which countries get those spots.

For the Oceania Continental Championships, it actually makes no difference - Australia won the men's but New Zealand gets the spot since Australia qualified through nation rankings, and the reverse for the women.

However, as Bianco pointed out, it is different in the Americas standings. In 2011, Colombia won both the men's and women's Continental Championships. Colombia will take the women's spot for the Olympics, since it didn't qualify through nations ranking.

Bianco explained the men's situation concisely. "The second place for the Olympics available in the men's race went to Argentina because Canada and USA qualified by nation ranking. But now it gets interesting... Argentina is qualifying even by nation's ranking (22nd) and [its] Pan-American place is going to Brazil. Brazil also is qualifying by nation ranking as well (19th) , so the Pan-American second place is going to Costa Rica. Paolo Montoya of Costa Rica is waiting and hoping that Argentina remains among the 24 nations in the Olympic ranking."

Both Argentina and Brazil are pretty comfortably placed in the nation rankings, so it would appear that Costa Rica is going to get that spot.

Thanks to Bianco for noticing and correcting this error.

Standings

Olympic nations rankings for women as of May 17, 2012
#NationPoints & # of Spots
1Canada7661 pts2 spots
2Switzerland73812
3France66652
4Poland60762
5United States59222
6Slovenia55332
7Germany54702
8Norway48882
9Russia45401 spot
10Italy40931
11Czech Republic40611
12Austria39571
13New Zealand34731
14Netherlands34731
15Great Britain31861
16Ukraine31841
17Sweden30221
18Denmark29271
19Hungary28090 spots
20Spain22500
21Australia21050
22Turkey21040
23Japan20950
24Slovakia18820
25China16940
26Brazil15840
27South Africa15300
28Israel14220
29Argentina12910
30Estonia12770
31Mexico12590
32Colombia11500
33Belgium11440
34Portugal9870
35Chile9650
36Costa Rica8630
37Serbia8400
38Venezuela7820
39Latvia7320
40Ireland6850
41Finland6810
42Greece6390
43Puerto Rico6340
44Croatia5640
45El Salvador5400
46Cyprus5040
47Malaysia4750
48Korea3650
49Namibia2950
50Ecuador2610
51San Marino2540
52Romania2330
53Vietnam1650
54Zimbabwe1100
55Lesotho1100
56Bulgaria1100
57Dominican Republic1010
58Chinese Taipei750
59Thailand600
60Nepal450
61Malta360
62Peru120
63Lithuania120

Olympic nations rankings for men as of May 17, 2012
#NationPoints & # of spots
1Switzerland9838 pts3 spots
2France78663
3Czech Republic76373
4Spain61353
5Germany58443
6Italy48192 spots
7Netherlands42902
8United States38772
9Austria37722
10South Africa36892
11Canada35032
12Poland33142
13Belgium32232
14Great Britain27801 spot
15Sweden25251
16Australia24321
17Japan23071
18Ukraine20241
19Brazil20071
20Russia19041
21Hungary18601
22Argentina18211
23Greece17791
24Cyprus16871
25Portugal15690 spots
26Denmark15380
27New Zealand14600
28Turkey14330
29Finland11840
30Chile11500
31Norway11420
32Slovakia10980
33Colombia10670
34Estonia10320
35Namibia9860
36Israel9480
37Serbia9380
38Costa Rica8020
39Iran7630
40Venezuela7460
41Mexico7430
42Hong Kong, China6800
43Slovenia6780
44China6720
45Puerto Rico6710
46Kazakhstan6220
47Ireland6120
48Croatia6090
49Latvia5680
50Romania5560
51Georgia5540
52El Salvador5500
53Lesotho5430
54Malaysia3670
55Zimbabwe3180
56Korea2830
57Thailand2600
58Indonesia2600
59Bulgaria2380
60Rwanda1790
61Chinese Taipei770
62Nepal740
63Ecuador680
64Mauritius600
65Brunei Darussalam600
66Philippines550
67Guam550
68Guatemala470
69Montenegro460
70Vietnam400
71Luxembourg320
72Bolivia220
73Singapore210
74Lebanon120
75Dominican Republic100
76Cuba60
77Mongolia20
78Belarus10