USA Cycling has announced its 19-rider squad for the 2016 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Nove Mestro, Czech Republic, later this month. Four men will compete in the elite men's cross country event on Sunday, July 3, with seven women selected for the elite women's race one day prior.
Having defended his national marathon title last weekend, Todd Wells (SRAM-Troy Lee Designs) declined his automatic nomination for the Worlds.
Stephen Ettinger, 27, is currently the best ranked American male cyclist, while 23-year-old Howard Grotts, in his first season in the professional ranks, is the second -best ranked rider. Ettinger and Grotts are the best hopes for a medal in the men's race. Russell Finsterwald (SRAM-Troy Lee Designs Racing Team) and Spencer Paxson (Kona Bicycles Factory Team) complete the four-man team. Ettinger was the best-placed American at last year's Worlds in 36th place.
Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing), who is currently ranked 20 in the world cross-country standings, recently cracked the top-10 at the Albstadt World Cup round and will be looking to better her 10th place from the 2015 Worlds in Andorra. The 33-year-old was top-10 in all World Cup races she started in 2015 but is yet to replicate her run of results in 2016. Georgia Gould (LUNA Pro Team) and Chloe Woodruff (Stan's NoTubes-Pivot) have been top-20 in the first World Cup rounds of the 2016 season and will be looking for a high finish in the Czech Republic.
Rose Grant, who recently defended her USA Marathon Championships, has also been selected for the Worlds, along with Larissa Connors (Twenty16 Pro Cycling), Erin Huck (SCOTT 3 ROX) and Mary McConneloug (Team Kenda-Intense)
Kate Courtney, 21, is likely to be the best chance of a US medal considering her win in the Cairns World Cup earlier this year and will be out to better her ninth from last year's Worlds. The Specialized rider is the sole women's U23 representative, while Keegan Swenson (Cannondale-360fly p/b Sugoi) is the sole U23 men rider.
The US team is completed by the junior men's squad of Christopher Blevins (Whole Athlete/Specialized) and Matthew Tracy-Cook (Bear Development Team) and junior women's team of Rachel Anders (Summit-Competitive Cyclist), Haley Batten (LUNA Pro Team) and Kelsey Urban (Whole Athlete-Specialized Cycling Team).
The 2016 UCI MTB World Championships will be held in Nove Mestro, Czech Republic, between June 29 and June 3.
USA Cycling for 2016 UCI MTB World Championships
Stephen Ettinger (Ridebiker p/b Focus)
Russell Finsterwald (SRAM-Troy Lee Designs Racing Team)
Howard Grotts (Specialized Racing)
Spencer Paxson (Kona Bicycles Factory Team)