MTB Team Recap 2 1130x600

Follow the MTB Team - Vol. 2

By: Jesse Anthony  July 13, 2023

June was the biggest month for the 2023 UCI MTB World Cup, with three World Cup events in four weeks. The USA Cycling national team was out in force, with seven athletes racing in Team USA colors and 13 racing for their trade teams during the block.

With the season well underway, several US athletes hit high marks as they settled into the rhythm of European racing. Brayden Johnson found his top form at Lenzerhiede and rode in the front group of the U23 men’s cross-country event for the entire race battling to fourth place in the end.

Riley Amos showed his strength in the Leogang short track, finishing second after a tight battle at the front in the final laps. Bjorn Riley rode up to fifth at Leogang in the cross-country race, reinforcing the depth of the US U23 men’s field right now.

Other highlight performances in the first two weeks of June were Maddie Munro’s consistent ninth places up to the Leogang cross-country race, where she rode to a personal best European World Cup finish in seventh place. Bailey Cioppa cracked into the top 20 for the first time in her first year in the U23 category with a nineteenth at Leogang. Gwen Gibson showed consistency in the elite women’s field with several top-15 performances, including a seventh place in the Lenzerheide short track.

MTB Team Recap 2 900s475

After two weekends of electrifying racing, Team USA transferred to Val di Sole, Italy, for some training time leading into the final World Cup in June.

This area in the Alps is beautiful and offers tranquility while off the bike with exhilarating riding at the Val di Sole Bikeland bike park and surrounding trails. The crew stayed sharp and enjoyed the last few weeks of the long trip to Europe in the Italian Alps.

The final weekend of this two-month European trip brought the heat and the challenges to the team. We sustained two injuries in the week leading up to the Val di Sole World Cup, but everyone rallied in support of their teammates, and the team spirit stayed high.

When it came to race time, Amos‘s resilience paid off after a challenging spring, and he opened his weekend with fourth in the Short Track race. On Sunday, he slotted into the front group early and was looking strong. After two laps, he suffered a flat tire and dropped down to fourteenth place. With resurgent determination, he methodically worked his way back toward the front, moving into third place late in the last lap, securing his first Cross-Country World Cup podium of the year! Chris Blevins showed the speed that earned him a World Championship at this venue and finished sixth in the Elite Men’s Short Track. Gibson and Kate Courtney continued to show strong consistency finishing twelfth and thirteenth in the Elite Women’s Cross-Country.

While there were several standout results this past month, the most impressive aspect of this racing block was the growth that all of these riders experienced. Through the challenges and blazing-fast racing, the group stayed focused, resilient, and engaged in the process. Performing at this level in any vocation is a tall ask, and bike racing is a particularly brutal sport. They continued to lean into the experience, adapt to the changes and take one step at a time.

Until next time...