Courtney 2019
Team USA

Courtney Places Fifth at the 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

By: Angelina Palermo  August 31, 2019

Six top 20 U.S. Performances on Day 4 of Mountain Bike Worlds

Day Four of the 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships saw the U23 Women’s and both Elite Cross Country races. The U23 Women were the first to race. After the initial lap, Haley Batten (Park City, Utah; Clif Pro Team) joined the lead group of riders. Batten, who won her first U23 World Cup earlier this season, continued to battle to stay in the lead pack and ended the day in seventh place, the first North American to cross the line. Fellow Americans Savilia Blunk (Inverness, Calif.; Sho-Air TWENTY-20), and Kelsey Urban (Kentfield, Calif.; Rouler Devo p/b DNA Cycling) also placed in the top 20 coming in 14th and 19th place respectively.

“I gave my all out there for sure today. The women in the front were riding so strong and it was really cool to be a part of that battle for a little bit and then I continued to fight for the spot that I was in,” said Batten, “This is definitely my best World Championship finish, this season overall has been my best World Cup season. I’m looking forward to Snowshoe, I feel like I still have a lot of fire left in me to end this season on a high note and I’m looking forward to continuing to progress into next season.”

The next race to kick off was the Elite Women’s race where Kate Courtney (San Francisco, Calif.; Scott-SRAM) toed the line to defend her World Title. Courtney, who is currently ranked first in the World Cup standings, began her race in the front. As they went out for their second lap, Courtney was at the front with Neff from Switzerland and McConnell from Australia. Eventually, three more riders joined the trio and eventually Neff and McConnell began to ride away. During the third lap, Courtney’s handle bars became twisted during the famed technical downhill nicknamed “Beatrice”. Courtney had to dismount to readjust and lost valuable time. By the end of the lap, she had dropped to sixth. Courtney, who is known for her mental fortitude, which helped her claim victory earlier this season at the World Cup in Les Gets despite mechanical complications, continued to fight for the final three laps. Heading into the final lap, Courtney managed to bridge the gap and surpass Dutch rider, Tauber. Courtney ended the day in fifth place as the first North American Rider to cross the finish line. U.S. Teammates Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt.; Sho-Air TWENTY20) and Chloe Woodruff (Prescott, Ariz.; Stan’s NoTubes Pivot p/b Maxxis) placed 11th and 15th respectively. The combined results of Courtney, Davison and Woodruff’s races earned the U.S. first in rankings by nation scoring 155 points ahead of Canada’s 151 and Switzerland’s 144.

“Today was a tough fight, but an effort I’m very proud of,” said Courtney of her race, “I felt strong from the start and settled into a good rhythm but couldn’t hold the pace of a charging front group. A mid race crash came as a small set back, but it motivated me to find my rhythm and fight hard to get back into the top five. While I of course lined up with hopes of defending my rainbow jersey today, I am proud of the courage and heart I showed in my fight for the top five. It is always an honor to race for Team USA and I certainly left it all out on the course.”

The Elite Men finished off the day where Luke Vrouwenvelder (Chapel Hill, N.C.) was the top U.S. finisher of the day.

“I am extremely proud of the way our riders performed today,” said Marc Gullickson, Mountain Bike Performance Director for USA Cycling, “Given the types of results we have seen this season, especially from our Elite and U23 Women, we had high expectations. While we may have hoped for some better results, I am not disappointed and neither should our riders. To have six athletes today in the top 20 in their respective races says a lot about their tenacity and willingness to continue fighting to do their very best all the way through the finish line, not only for their individual results but also for their nation. I am looking forward to seeing what results we have next weekend in Snowshoe and looking ahead to next season as we continue the charge towards Tokyo 2020.”

Racing finishes up tomorrow with the Junior and Elite Downhill finals. To cheer for Team USA and get up to date info regarding your favorite riders, follow @USACyclingLIVE on Twitter and @USACycling on all other platforms. For more about the 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, please visit the event website at

The USA Cycling 2019 Mountain Bike World Championships selection criteria for XCO is available here and the criteria for DH is available here.