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The Dirt: USA Cycling names MTB worlds team

USA Cycling picks 41 riders for world mountain bike championships, Leadville Stage Race wraps up, and more.

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Welcome to The Dirt, the weekly news round-up on what is happening in the worlds of gravel, mountain biking, and all things rough and dirty.

USA Cycling named 41 riders to represent the United States at the UCI World Mountain Bike Championships, September 5-9 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

Five-time World Cup series winner Aaron Gwin (YT) is most likely to win a medal in the elite races as one of the world’s top downhillers. He was third at worlds last year in Cairns, Australia and sits eighth overall in the World Cup rankings.

On the cross-country side of the team, Kate Courtney (Specialized) has been riding consistently well in her first season as an elite. She’s ridden to top-10 finishes in the last four XC World Cups.

In the under-23 cross-country races, Christopher Blevins (Specialized) and Haley Batten (Clif Bar) both have a shot at finishing with medals. Blevins, now the elite U.S. national short track champion, was fifth at the Val di Sole under-23 World Cup. Batten was seventh at Val di Sole and eighth in the Andorra World Cup the next weekend.

2018 U.S. world mountain bike championships team

Junior women downhill:
Kaytlin Melvin (Sammamish, Washington; Sweetlines Racing)
Anna Newkirk* (Riehen, Switzerland; Team Project)
Samantha Soriano* (Littleton, Colorado; COMMENCAL Junior Cartel)

Junior men downhill:
Gideon Bender (Duvall, Washington; Kona Junior Factory)
Joey Foresta (Salt Lake City, Utah; GT Factory Racing)
Zach Gareis* (Mars, Pennsylvania; Billy Goat Bikes/Leatts Protectives Racing)
Cole Suetos (Temecula, California; InCycle Racing)
Nathan StClair (Statesville North Carolina; Transition Bikes)

Elite women downhill:
Abigail Hogie (Heidelberg, Germany; Pivot Cycles Devo)

Elite men downhill:
Aaron Gwin* (Murrieta, California; The YT Mob)
Charlie Harrison* (Trabuco Canyon, California; Intense Factory Racing)
Neko Mulally* (Pisgah Forest, North Carolina; The YT Mob)
Kiran MacKinnon* (Santa Cruz, California; Santa Cruz Bicycles)
Nik Nesteroff (San Marcos, California; KHS Factory Racing)
Dakotah Norton* (Davidson, Michigan; Unior Devinci Factory Racing)
Luca Shaw* (Hendersonville, North Carolina; Santa Cruz Bicycles)

Junior women cross-country:
Katie Clouse (Park City, Utah; Giant Liv Cycling Team)
Mina Ricci (Woodacre, California; Bear Development Team p/b Trek)
Madeline Robbins* (Durango, Colorado; Bear Development Team p/b Trek)

Junior men cross-country:
Nolan Jenkins (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Whole Athlete)
Paul Fabian (Prescott, Arizona; Bear Development Team p/b Trek)
Scott Funston (Maple Valley, Washington; Team Kona)
Quinn Simmons* (Durango, Colorado; Whole Athlete)
Kevin Vermaerke* (Rancho San Margarita, California; Whole Athlete)
Jake Yackle (Spokane, Washington; Yackle Brothers Racing)

U23 women cross-country:
Haley Batten* (Park City, Utah; Clif Pro Team)
Savilia Blunk* (Inverness, California; Whole Athlete)
Gwendalyn Gibson (Ramona, California; NORCO Racing)

U23 men cross-country:
Christopher Blevins* (Durango, Colorado; Specialized Bicycles Factory Racing Team)
Carson Beckett (Brevard, North Carolina; Bear Pro Team p/b Trek)
Jerry Dufour (Birmingham, Alabama; Bear Pro Team p/b Trek)
Cole Paton* (Durango, Colorado; Giant Factory Off-Road Team)
Sandy Floren* (Berkeley, California; Bear Pro Team p/b Trek)

Elite women cross-country:
Kate Courtney* (San Francisco, California; Specialized Bicycles Factory Racing Team)
Lea Davidson* (Syracuse, New York; Clif Pro Team)
Erin Huck* (Boulder, Colorado; CZ Racing)
Ellen Noble (Kennebunkport, Maine; Trek Factory Racing Team)
Chloe Woodruff* (Prescott, Arizona; Stan’s-Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis)

Elite men cross-country:
Howard Grotts* (Durango, Colorado; Specialized Bicycles Factory Racing Team)
Keegan Swenson (Park City, Utah; Stan’s-Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis)
Luke Vrouwenvelder (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

Automatic qualifiers are noted with an asterisk (*)

McElveen and Chandos win Leadville Stage Race

The Leadville Trail 100 is less than two weeks away, but the Leadville stage race, July 27-29, is in the books. Payson McElveen (Orange Seal) won the men’s overall and Amy Chandos (Construction Zone) crushed the women’s field. Chandos won all three stages to beat Tracy Paradise by nearly 25 minutes. Kathy Waite was third.

McElveen won the opening 42-mile stage, setting a course record, and held onto his lead for the remaining two days. Ryan Petry was second, 1:16 back, Alex Wild finished third, 9:38 behind. Wild flatted in the first stage but got a bit of redemption by winning the 16-mile stage 2 in record time. That course went up and back down the famous Columbine climb. He also won stage 3, which was 42 miles.

Powers partners with Pactimo and Fuji for 2018 ‘cross season

It’s August. Do you know where your favorite cyclocross pros are? Four-time national cyclocross champion Jeremy Powers has been busy setting up his sponsorship for the coming season following the folding of his Aspire Racing program.

Last week, he confirmed he’ll be riding with Pactimo apparel, a brand with which he’s developed a relationship through his JAM Fund development program.

“Building this partnership with Pactimo has been exciting. They’ve been longtime supporters of our non-profit JAM Fund team and I’ve always loved the brand,” said Powers. “I’m excited to work with them to create new signature collections, help develop and give insight on new products, and showcase this awesome brand. I’m so happy to be working with Pactimo and looking forward to sharing everything we’re doing with riders around the world!”

Earlier in July, Powers also confirmed he’ll be riding Fuji bikes after many years aboard Focus.

Got some news you’d like to share in The Dirt? I’d love to hear from you. Please email me your news and updates on all things gravel and mountain biking.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.