USA Names 24 Rider Squad for Leogang World Champs

Sep 18, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
Aaron Gwin crushing rocks on his last practice run

The USA has named the 24 athletes it will be sending to the World Championships in Leogang in October. The squad is made up of 11 XC riders and 13 downhill riders.

The XC squad will be pinning its hopes on 2018 World Champion and 2019 World Cup Overall Champion Kate Courtney alongside US National Champ Keegan Swenson. Christoph Belvins will also be a medal hope in the Under 23 men's event after earning a silver medal in 2018.

In the downhill, Aaron Gwin will be chasing after the Rainbow Stripes that have eluded him throughout his successful career and he will be joined by a super-strong team of elite male riders that all have World Cup podiums in their palmares.

Jim Miller, USA Cycling’s Chief of Sport Performance, said: “We’re bringing a highly focused team and a group of medal capable athletes competing against the best in the world. Some of the athletes have done only a handful of races this year, for others this will be their first of the season. Regardless of the challenges many have faced this year, we believe we are bringing one of the strongest teams we have ever had. For the Cross-Country racers, many have their eyes on the Olympic Games in 2021 with this race being a big factor in the qualification process.”

The Team USA roster is as follows:


Elite Men
Keegan Swenson (Park City, Utah; Stan's-Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis)

Elite Women
Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif.; SCOTT/ SRAM Racing)
Hannah Finchamp (Altadena, Calif.; Orange Seal Off-Road Team)
Erin Huck (Boulder, Colo.; Stages Cycling-Scott)
*Lea Davison and Chloe Woodruff have both been nominated to the team, but declined their spots.

U23 Men:
Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo.; Specialized Factory Racing)

U23 Women:
Haley Batten (Park City, Utah; Specialized Factory Racing)

Junior Men:
Riley Amos (Durango, Colo.; Bear Development Team)
Bjorn Riley (Boulder, Colo.; Bear Development Team)

Junior Women:
Ruth Holcomb (Durango, Colo.; Bear Development Team)
Madigan Munroe (Boulder, Colo.; Trek Factory Racing)
Haley Randel (Mill Valley, Calif.; Bear Development Team)

Elite Men:
Aaron Gwin (Murietta, Calif.; Intense Factory Racing)
Charlie Harrison (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.; Trek Factory Racing)
Neko Mulally (Pisgah Forest, N.C.; Intense Factory Racing)
Dakotah Norton (Knoxville, Tenn.; Unior Devinci Factory Racing)
Luca Shaw (Hendersonville, N.C.; Santa Cruz Syndicate)

Elite Women:
Mazie Hayden (Pittsfield, Vt.; Defiant Racing)
Anna Newkirk (Riehen, Switzerland; SRAM Young Guns Racing)

Junior Men:
Austin Dooley (Yucaipa, Calif.; Commencal)
Christopher Grice (Brevard, N.C.; Specialized Factory Racing)
Dante Silva (Chula Vista, Calif.)
Matthew Sterling (San Jose, Calif.; Giant Factory Off-Road Team)

Junior Women:
Ella Erickson (Hayden, Idaho)


  • 53 1
 Gwin has been such a machine over his career, I feel like he deserves a World Championship but man, he's really going to have to stand up and earn it.
  • 34 0
 Where else if not in Leogang...? He won there without a chain on his bike, right?
  • 13 0
 @easy: Leogwin. Definitely his place to take it.
  • 17 3
 Does he race in the last month like the Frenchies did?

Bruni, Iles or Vergier will take it!
  • 5 0
 @dh-corn: I agree, he hasn’t been racing. Not sure how many Americans will be in form, but the US team is stacked this year
  • 6 0
 @slayersxc17: I think Luca/Neko have been getting after it still from what I can see on social media, but yeah will be interesting see some these guys essentially go 0-100 for a weekend.
  • 2 0
 @pbfan08: Luca has been over in them parts with his girl and syndicate, I believe, getting in some races. Very true Neko, and Dak have been doing the local races for sure.
  • 3 0

Neko and Dak are currently no podium riders at WC imho. Syndicate and Team Specialized are well prepared. Danny Hart is never to be despised.

Pierron will be missed!

Gwin is a wonder bag this year but he really really deserves it!
  • 1 0
 @dh-corn: This is the correct question. The crankworks summer series did wonders for Jesse. So hard to go from zero the 100% gas after a normal season brake.

Going to be interesting for sure.
  • 1 0
 @dh-corn: Sadly, I agree with you about Neko and Dak. We just literally ride the same trails in our national forest. Just really pulling for them.
  • 1 0
 Noun. palmarès m (uncountable) prize list; list of winners. record of achievements.

Thx Google
  • 6 7
 PSA: Gwin loves his Ben Shapiro conspiracies so wouldn’t be surprised if the guy shows up without mask.
  • 1 0
 @slayersxc17: Dak is a beast. Love his style! But not good enough atm (For WC Podium). We will see what the future will bring for him.
  • 2 0
 @dh-corn and @slayersxc17 Dak does have 1 podium in Losinj 2018 and backed that up with some solid splits in Ft Bill (despite a mechanical in his run) and then a 6th in Leogang that year... He may not spring to mind on the list of podium contenders but has proved that he can be
  • 1 0
 I kind of hope Gwin wins this race because he deserves a world title to go with all his world cup wins. He has been the best rider of the past decade. It will be a tough one though. I have previously stated that I don't think he will win another top level race in his career, but that was kind of to gee up Gwinner fanbois. I only half meant it. If he wins another, it could be this one - he's definitely got a chance and I hope he does it to be honest. He's a good guy.

Who else has the pedigree at Leogang? No one really that I can think of. Has anyone else won it more than once? Minnaar?
  • 1 0
 @jaame: I tend to agree honestly. Between the injuries and the appearance that he doesn’t get along too well on the Intense bike I wonder if he has any wins left in his career. Hopefully he feels better the new bike they are working on, but it makes me wonder if the ownership deal going forward clouded his feelings on the bike. Can’t fault him for looking out for his future.
  • 1 0
 @Mattysville: Business is business. I would have done everything the same as him had I been in that position. He’s loyal to the game.

Best of luck to him anyway. I really want him to win. Hopefully it doesn’t get cancelled.
  • 1 0
 @dh-corn: gwin will be quick!
  • 2 1
 @Batipapo: Maybe worry less about Gwin and his personal life and more about not letting your city become the laughing stock of the world.
  • 2 0
 @Batipapo: stop eating the trash.
  • 1 0
 @SvenNorske: it pretty much already is
  • 2 0
 @SvenNorske: says the guy from Minneapolis....
  • 1 0
 @Batipapo: Throwing stones from your glass throne in Portland... priceless.
  • 64 24
 they will bring the plague!
  • 50 6
 Most dangerous racers at the race!
  • 45 1
 With the resurgence of the virus across many parts of the EU, I suspect the race will be cancelled unless we see a dramatic turn of events in the next few weeks. No need to worry.
  • 10 3
 @diegosk: can't see this going ahead, given infection rates that are way higher than when all the world cups were cancelled. Let's not get our hopes up however much we want this.
  • 19 2
 @diegosk: Yeah the Frenchies and Spaniards have manages to surpass us (in new cases per capita) at this point, we're number 3, we're number 3!
  • 3 0
 It's already there.
  • 30 11
 @roma258: trump will find a way to change that again. number 1 or nothing! usa! usa!
  • 61 3
 @Sethimus: Look at me, la di da, my chancellor has a doctorate in Chemistry and uses some dark magic called "science" to look out for the "well being" of my citizens. Sounds like communism to me.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 That comment was so wrong yet so right. LOL
  • 2 0
 @roma258: ROFL. On point. @sethimus, I appreciate the criticism. It's well deserved. We need to get our shit together.
  • 8 8
 @Sethimus: I have no intention of defending the actions of my government because there’s not much to defend. Things are constantly changing in these times and we don’t fully understand what we’re dealing with when it comes to this virus. While I recognize that Germans have dealt with this better than other parts world thus far, some humility would serve you well instead of your recent string of proud comments... people [who didn’t vote for Trump] are still dying. Plus it’s not like Germany has a perfect track record of leadership either...
  • 1 0
 I am just glad that the opportunity to race is back on. I am glad the US and other countries get to go because we all want to see racing again. Yeah it may get cancelled and some may not be able to compete but I would rather we try to press forward with caution than have nothing. I believe the racers feel the same.
  • 5 0
 @diegosk: Bro, relax - it was funny. He is very good at humor, especially for a German.
  • 1 0
 @diegosk: hmmm... Ambiguous. Shroedinger's Godwin's law?
  • 17 2
 I'd like to try to provide a little insight in the current SARS CoV 2 situation here in Austria, based on numbers.

So back in March we had a lockdown due to a rapid rise in CoViD-19 cases. If you look at the numbers from back then, we were doing about 5000 tests per day, up until about the mid of June. We saw a peak of positive reults at about 1000 cases per day near the end of March (I know, rookie numbers in this racket), and a decline from thereon. The measures, whatever you may think of them, did have an effect.

From the mid of June onwards we had a more or less linear increase of testing capacity, to the point where we are at about 15000 test per day today. What we are seeing, however, is a stronger than linear increase of positive reults! shows the epidemiological curve illustrating the actual increase in the number of people who tested positive.

Keep in mind that it's just the positive cases, no weighting against the number of test is applied. Like I said, from the mid of June onwards we had a more or less linear increase in tests, but the trend is increasing steeper than linear. Some say we're seeing the second wave.

What I'd like to say is, stay healthy and remain cautious Smile
  • 1 0
 Yeah, Austria does look to be spiking. Any word on the %positive rate change? That seems to be the best indicator, from what I understand.
  • 4 0
 @roma258: Must be fake news as we live in the woods for ages now. It's kinda social distancing by nature :-D
  • 3 13
flag pbfan08 (Sep 18, 2020 at 7:19) (Below Threshold)
 It's almost like the more you test/the better your numbers are the worse it "looks"(hint say what you will but America has been testing like crazy the whole time). Mortality rates and average age of mortality still are the most important metrics to look at IMO.
  • 6 1
 @pbfan08: It's almost like you didn't read what I just wrote.
  • 1 0
 @Rodeodave: I read it, I just don't get your point. Do you think the race should be cancelled because no one in the age range of who'd be at the race is really threatened by CoVid?
  • 1 2
 @pbfan08: bruh your more stupid than your leader
old matey @Rodeodave never mentioned the age range once
  • 1 0
 @jackheat: your right he didn’t, which is why I mentioned that I think it’s the one of the most important metrics to watch. And also why I asked what the point of his post was, it’s reading like he thinks the event should be cancelled?

But yeah orange man bad or something, just out of curiosity where are you from?
  • 9 1
 I think it's interesting that the downhill boys have more east coast riders than west coast. And nobody from PNW, in contrast to Canada. Beast coast stand up! But seriously, goes to show the importance of developing a riding culture and support system, even when the terrain might not be 100% optimal.
  • 10 1
 I think Neko, Dak, and Luca might argue that "the terrain might not be 100% optimal"
  • 5 1
 The SE is great for year round, and during the summer they’re normally away racing anyway. That’s why they live there more than likely, not for the exceptionally steep terrain. (Windrock maybe being an exception)
  • 2 0
 For what the PNW has in terms of ridership and infrastructure this is surprising to me as well. Ella Erickson the lone PNW rep. I'd expect this to change in the next 3-5 years especially in the Women's DH juniors cat.
  • 3 0
 I’d agree, though the SE has as good trails as anywhere in the world, though just nowhere near the number of them that other regions might have. And they can ride those trails every week of the year.
  • 1 0
 The PNW did produce the Junior Women pick, Ella Erickson, out of North Idaho.
  • 1 0
 @normar: I very much agree with this. The PNW is producing very fast Jr women.
  • 5 0
 Hope they don't cancel the event, my son (Bjorn Riley) is racing as one of the two Junior XC men. These guys have trained all year for this and have to deal with the mental anguish of not knowing if the training was all for naught. Go get em Bjorn and all the USA team!
  • 3 0
 Men’s Elite DH is stacked!

And what a terrible position to be in for Chloe and Leah. Both such great racers, but I totally understand their decision to sit this one out.
  • 3 0
 This is me Holding my breathe
  • 2 0
 Time for Gwin to lay it on the line!
  • 1 0
 I think Dak has it in him to be the top American in DH this year. Will be interesting to see how it plays out.
  • 2 0
 Go Ella! The PNW is rooting for you.
  • 1 0
 Umm - regarding @mnorris122 comment, not sure I understand either:
  • 6 5
 Aren't Americans banned from Austria at the moment?
  • 8 0
 no, why should they?
  • 3 6
 @gleiser: Ehhh I mean probably? You guys are having a bit of a spike now, but might as well not make it worse.
  • 14 0
 Us Ski Team has been in Austria training for a few weeks. Luca Shaw has been in Europe training and racing for a couple of months. You just have to follow protocols and you can get into Europe without much hassle. Testing on arrival or a negative test within 72 hours of arrival or a quarantine if you don't test.
  • 3 0
 Austria has made an exception for professional athletes. They will need to provide a negative COVID test result within 72 hours of travel and then again upon landing. Perhaps again during the course of the event, too. My daughter is, Ella Erickson, the Jr Women team member. She will travel with the team and remain in a “team bubble” throughout the event. My wife and I will not be able to attend the event.
  • 1 0
 We wish her luck @freerider1971:
  • 2 1
 Maybe 10 or 14 days Quarentine?
  • 1 0
 I thought UCI said they had to have a factory team? Many of these don’t.
  • 1 0
 No. That is not a UCI rule. That was the policy of Cycling Canada, and adopted by several other countries. Canada was going to prohibit all riders from entering, but made the exception to allow riders on teams because they will have more support.
  • 1 0
 The big question, will this be broadcast in the states or no???
  • 2 0
 VPN buddy. Look into it. I use my companies server in a country that broadcasts it....
  • 1 0
 RedBull TV
  • 2 0
 @billreilly: last year you couldn’t watch champs on redbull tv in the United States.
  • 1 0
 Matt Sterling is gonna show up guns blazing!
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