MTB Olympic Preview
Team USA

2021 UCI Mountain Bike XCO World Cup Preview

By: Angelina Palermo  May 06, 2021

What is at stake for the athletes trying to punch their ticket to Tokyo?

Team USA is gearing up for some critical events as they look ahead to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games set to begin on July 23, 2021. The first key event for the XCO Mountain Bike team is the season opener for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Albstadt, Germany on May 9. The event is quickly followed by the last automatic qualification opportunity for the Games at the World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic on May 16.

As we approach the World Cup season, several riders are trying to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif.; SCOTT-SRAM Factory Racing) is the only U.S. rider automatically qualified for the Mountain Bike event at the Games. She did so by finishing in the top-5 at the 2019 UCI World Championships.

The Nation’s Ranking determines the number of qualifying positions for each event in Tokyo; Elite Men and Elite Women. As the rankings currently stand, the U.S. women’s team is ranked in the top-2 nations, meaning they will get a maximum of three starting positions. With Courtney already qualified, that leaves two spots to be filled, with five women vying for those positions; Haley Batten (Park City, Utah; Trinity Racing), Lea Davison (Jericho, V.T.; Team Twenty24), Hannah Finchamp (Altadena, Calif.; Orange Seal Off-Road Team), Erin Huck (Estes Park, Colo.; Scott/ Stages), and Chloe Woodruff (Tucson, Ariz.; Stans Pivot Pro Team).

The US men have earned a single starting position leaving a battle between Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo.; Trinity Racing) and Keegan Swenson (Park City, Utah). The Final Olympic Team will be chosen from the Olympic Long Team, which will remain open for men and women until May 24.

As the selection criteria details, if an athlete, for both men and women, wins the Nove Mesto World Cup, they will automatically be nominated to the Olympic Games Team. If quota slots remain, then up to one athlete per gender who finishes in second through eighth place will be selected to the team. If more than one athlete meets this, then the highest placed athlete will earn the nomination. If no one automatically qualifies given these criteria, then the selection committee will utilize discretionary selections.

To learn more about how Olympic qualification and selection works, click here.

The detailed selection procedures, including automatic selection, discretionary selection, selection committee members, and other relevant information can be found here.

For questions related to selection criteria, please contact Jeff Pierce at