Skip to main content

Two more World Cups to determine Olympic MTB participation

Image 1 of 4

Julien Absalon (Orbea Racing Team) and Nino Schurter (Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team)

Julien Absalon (Orbea Racing Team) and Nino Schurter (Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 2 of 4

World Champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) nails down second place

World Champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) nails down second place
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
Image 3 of 4

Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry) finished 5th

Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry) finished 5th
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 4 of 4

Current UCI World Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) tackled the challenging Pietermaritzburg course on a full-suspension Specialized S-Works Epic 29er.

Current UCI World Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) tackled the challenging Pietermaritzburg course on a full-suspension Specialized S-Works Epic 29er.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)

In just a few weeks, mountain bike fans will know exactly how many athletes each nation will send to the 2012 London Olympic Games. What happens in the meantime are two back-to-back UCI Mountain Bike World Cups, one in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic on May 11-13 and one in La Bresse, France on May 18-20.

On May 23, 2012, the UCI will establish the UCI Olympic Qualification Ranking, and by June 1, it will have confirmed the number of qualifying spots for each nation.

The final rankings are based the total number of points a nation has for the combined periods of 2010-2011 as of May 23, 2011 and 2011-2012 as of May 23, 2012.

Men

For the men, the top five ranked nations will send three athletes each while nations ranked sixth through 13th will send two athletes each. Nations number 14 through 24 get one rider each.

Here is how it looks as of May 1:

Countries likely to send three male mountain bikers
Switzerland
France
Czech Republic
Germany
Spain

Countries likely to send two male mountain bikers
Italy
Netherlands
Austria
Poland
Belgium
South Africa
United States
Canada

Countries likely to send one male mountain biker
Australia
Japan
Great Britain
Sweden
Argentina
Brazil
Hungary
Russia
Denmark
Portugal
Cyprus

The five top-ranked powerhouse nations are no surprise and are not too likely to change. The division between sending one and two male riders is much tighter with just 200 points separating Canada (sending two as of current rankings) and Australia (sending one as of current rankings).

Countries like New Zealand are not too far below the cut-off for sending one rider, but if they do not qualify by this primary criterion, they may be able to send a rider by a second qualifying criterion. If a nation does not already qualify athletes via the aforementioned international rankings system, it can send one male athlete each if it is in the top two ranked nations in the continental regions of Africa, American, Asia or Oceania.

Women

For the women, the top eight ranked nations get to send two riders each while those ranked ninth through 18th send one each.

Here is how the women's standings look as of May 1:

Countries likely to send two female mountain bikers
Canada
France
Switzerland
Poland
Slovenia
Norway
Germany
United States

Countries likely to send one female mountain biker
Russia
Czech Republic
Italy
New Zealand
Ukraine
Austria
Great Britain
Sweden
Netherlands
Denmark

In the women's rankings most of the powerhouse mountain bike countries are ranked about where expected although Australia and Spain are not qualified as per current nations rankings per criterion one. However, per criterion two, the top ranked nation, not qualified by virtue of nations rankings above may send one female rider each if ranked first in Africa, American, Asia or Oceania.

The United States women have reason to be nervous about whether they will get to send one or two women to London. They sit perched just on the two-women side of the cut-off currently, but places sixth through ninth in the rankings are all within 500 points of each other.

What happens next

Once the nations rankings are finalized, countries have until June 15, 2012 to confirm they will use all earned spots and if there are any unused spots, they will get re-allocated on June 29, 2012. Entries are due to the London 2012 Organising Committee by July 2, 2012.

Complete nations rankings as of May 1, 2012 are below.  See also the Cyclingnews guide to Olympic Mountain Biking.

Nations Rankings as of May 1

Elite men nations ranking as of May 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Switzerland4987pts
2France4659
3Czech Republic4139
4Germany3347
5Spain3223
6Italy2750
7Netherlands2418
8Austria2090
9Poland1912
10Belgium1888
11South Africa1826
12United States1797
13Canada1754
14Australia1554
15Japan1342
16Great Britain1329
17Sweden1239
18Argentina1129
19Brazil1092
20Hungary1038
21Russia1023
22Denmark1002
23Portugal948
24Cyprus894
25Ukraine879
26New Zealand826
27Greece780
28Turkey660
29Norway654
30Chile604
31Finland578
32Estonia562
33Slovakia554
34Israel520
35Colombia503
36Iran471
37Serbia465
38Mexico457
39Costa Rica438
40Kazakhstan391
41Slovenia342
42Namibia310
43Venezuela308
44Malaysia306
45China295
46Ireland294
47Latvia288
48Hong Kong, China286
49Puerto Rico285
50Croatia281
51Romania278
52Georgia275
53Lesotho273
54Zimbabwe270
55El Salvador270
56Bulgaria220
57Indonesia220
58Thailand135
59Korea60
60Brunei Darussalam60
61Guam55
62Guatemala47
63Ecuador28
64Nepal24
65Bolivia22
66Singapore21
67Chinese Taipei17
68Lebanon12
69Mongolia2
70Belarus1

Elite women's nations ranking as of May 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Canada4480pts
2France4091
3Switzerland3745
4Poland3230
5Slovenia3101
6Norway2989
7Germany2791
8United States2572
9Russia2513
10Czech Republic2374
11Italy2267
12New Zealand2209
13Ukraine2016
14Austria2013
15Great Britain1907
16Sweden1796
17Netherlands1765
18Denmark1696
19Hungary1489
20Australia1230
21Spain1184
22Turkey1107
23Japan957
24Slovakia873
25Mexico799
26Brazil760
27Argentina686
28Israel666
29Estonia584
30Chile573
31Belgium561
32China550
33South Africa549
34Portugal546
35Serbia544
36Colombia535
37Costa Rica488
38Finland414
39Malaysia405
40Cyprus402
41Venezuela326
42Ireland317
43Puerto Rico300
44Latvia292
45El Salvador270
46Greece270
47Croatia269
48Namibia200
49Ecuador179
50Zimbabwe110
51Lesotho110
52Bulgaria110
53Korea105
54Vietnam85
55Chinese Taipei75
56Thailand60
57Dominican Republic45
58Nepal45
59Romania38
60Malta25
61Lithuania12