USA Cycling selected 43 athletes to represent the United States at the upcoming 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra, Australia, on September 1-6.
In the first mountain bike World Championship event since the Olympic Games in Beijing last summer, American cross country athletes will square off against rivals from across the globe in the only Olympic mountain bike discipline. Seven men and six women have been nominated to the elite cross country squad.
National cross country and marathon champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher) received the only automatic nomination to the men's team. He is joined by short track national champion Adam Craig (Giant), Todd Wells (Specialized), Sam Schultz (Subaru-Gary Fisher), Michael Broderick (Kenda), Carl Decker (Giant) and Sam Jurekovic (Sho-air-Specialized), who received discretionary nominations.
On the women's side, Willow Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher), Mary McConneloug (Kenda) and national cross country and marathon champion Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Gary Fisher) were automatically nominated. Koerber and McConneloug won spots by virtue of podium performances at UCI World Cup events earlier this season and Irmiger secured hers with her nationals win. Georgia Gould (Luna), Katie Compton and Judy Freeman all received discretionary nominations based upon international results.
In the gravity events, Aaron Gwin (Yeti) received the lone men's downhill automatic nomination by virtue of his third-place World Cup finish and his national championship in that event. Kyle Strait, Duncan Riffle (Duncan Riffle Racing), Luke Strobel (Maxxis), Cody Warren (Decline), Brian Lopes (Oakley) and Joey Schusler (Yeti-Fox Shox) received discretionary nominations to the elite men's downhill team.
As the winner of the national downhill championship, Melissa Buhl (KHS) received the only automatic nomination to the elite women's downhill squad. Kathy Pruitt (Jamis) will join her as a discretionary selection.
Seventeen-year-old national champion Mitch Ropelato received an automatic nomination to the elite men's four cross squad. Mike Haderer and Blake Carney will join Ropelato on the men' four cross team as discretionary selections.
Defending World Champion Buhl and 2008 BMX Olympian Jill Kintner (Red Bull) both earned automatic nominations to the women's four cross squad by virtue of multiple World Cup podium performances.
Eleven junior and under 23 cross country athletes and five junior men's downhillers were also named to the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Championship squad.
US team for 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships
Elite men's cross country
Elite women's cross country
Under 23 men's cross country
Under 23 women's cross country
Junior men's cross country
Elite men's downhill
Junior men's downhill
Mitch Ropelato **
Elite men's four cross
**denotes automatic nomination
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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.