Team USA Secures Bronze at 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships
Team USA took home the bronze medal in the team relay event at the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Les Gets, France. The team, made up of riders in the Junior, U23, and Elite categories, put on a strong showing throughout the day.
Luca Shaw at last year's Mountain Bike World Championships.
Leading the way for Team USA was Junior rider Christopher Blevins, who put in a strong performance to help his team secure a podium finish. U23 riders also had a strong showing, helping his team to a second-place finish. Elite riders Kate Courtney and Chloe Woodruff rounded out the team with strong performances of their own.
The team relay is always one of the most exciting events at the World Championships, bringing together riders from all over the world in one race. Team USA put on a great show for their fans and are sure to be back next year looking to take home gold.
Blevins, who hails from Durango, Colorado, started out strong and held the lead for the first half-lap. However, he was soon overtaken by Italy's rider.
Despite this setback, Blevins kept the Italian in sight and eventually reclaimed the lead. He then crossed the finish line to take first place. Junior National Champion Cayden Parker came in second, while Bailey Cioppa rounded out the podium in third place. The relay is a great opportunity for riders to take the course at speed and get a feel for the competition.
Kaitie Batten (Durango, Colo.; Trek Factory Racing) charged up to tighten the gap to second. It was all up to Riley Amos (Durango, Colo.; Trek Factory Racing) to keep the team on the podium and he did just that. With one of the fastest laps of the day, Amos finished just 8-seconds back from Italy in second place.
The Les Gets International Mountain Bike Cup is a great opportunity for riders to take the course at speed and quickly get a feel for the competition. Batten said, “It’s good to be back in Les Gets. There are two pretty major climbs when you’re trying to go all out for a lap and its actually quite hard. You think you can just go from the gun start to finish, but there are long climbs and you have to pace yourself pretty well. Then at the top, it’s pretty technical as well. It’s a really great race track. It has everything for a mountain bike athlete. You have to be a talented climber as well as a technical rider."
In 2021, the United States’ mountain biking team claimed a silver medal in the team relay at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Leogang, Austria. The four-person team of Erin Huck, Howard Grotts, Kate Courtney and Keegan Swenson rode to a second-place finish behind Switzerland. France rounded out the podium in third place.
This year marks Team USA’s fourth podium appearance in the team relay event since it was introduced in 1999.
Blevins, a veteran of the event, added, “This is my eighth Team Relay which is kind of crazy. I feel kind of old now. It’s always been my favorite event of the season. I think consistency and minimizing mistakes is the ball game here, so I think we had a pretty smooth race. Another medal we are happy with for sure."
World Championships continue tomorrow with the Junior Men and Women's events along with the qualifiers for the Downhill event.