The count down to the 2009 Worlds is on. USAC have announced their team. Surprise inclusion is Brian Lopes to the downhill squad, if the Canberra track can be compared to the Crankworx AirDH track then it could be an inspired decision.

The 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships will be held in Canberra, Australia on Sept. 1-6, 2009.

In the gravity events, Aaron Gwin (Morongo Valley, Calif./Yeti) received the lone men’s downhill automatic nomination by virtue of his third-place World Cup finish and his national championship in that event. Kyle Strait (Riverside, Calif.), Duncan Riffle (Santa Barbara, Calif./Duncan Riffle Racing), Luke Strobel (Renton, Wash./Maxxis), Cody Warren (El Cajon, Calif./Decline), Brian Lopes (Laguna Beach, Calif./Oakley) and Joey Schusler (Boulder, Colo./Yeti-Fox Shox) received discretionary nominations to the elite men’s downhill team. As the winner of the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships downhill contest, Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz./KHS) received the only automatic nomination to the elite women’s downhill squad. Kathy Pruitt (Santa Cruz, Calif./Jamis) will join her as a discretionary selection.

As the national champion, 17-year-old Mitch Ropelato (Ogden, Utah) received an automatic nomination to the elite men’s 4X squad. Mike Haderer (Concord, Calif.) and Blake Carney (Camarillo, Calif.) will join Ropelato on the men’s 4-cross squad as discretionary selections. Buhl and 2008 BMX Olympian Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash./Red Bull) both earned automatic nominations to the women’s 4X squad by virtue of multiple World Cup podium performances.

U.S. Mountain Bike World Championship Team Nominations:

Elite Men’s Downhill

Aaron Gwin (Morongo Valley, Calif./Yeti)**

Kyle Strait (Riverside, Calif.)

Duncan Riffle (Santa Barbara, Calif.)

Luke Strobel (Renton, Wash.)

Cody Warren (El Cajon, Calif.)

Brian Lopes (Laguna Beach, Calif.)

Joey Schusler (Boulder, Colo.)

Elite Women’s Downhill

Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz.)**

Kathy Pruitt (Santa Cruz, Calif.)

Elite Men’s 4-Cross

Mitch Ropelato (Ogden, Utah)**

Mike Haderer (Concord, Calif.)

Blake Carney (Camarillo, Calif.)

Elite Women’s 4-Cross

Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz.)**

Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash.)**

Junior Men’s Downhill

Mitch Ropelato (Ogden, Utah)**

Kevin Aiello (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)

Luciano Worl (Woodinville, Wash.)

Tom Neer (Arvada, Colo.)

Geoffrey Ulmer (Troy, N.Y.)

Elite Men’s Cross Country

Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo.)**

Adam Craig (Bend, Ore.)

Todd Wells (Durango, Colo.)

Sam Schultz (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass.)

Carl Decker (Bend, Ore.)

Sam Jurekovic (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Elite Women’s Cross Country

Willow Koerber (Asheville, N.C.)**

Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass.)**

Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo.)**

Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo.)

Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Judy Freeman (Boulder, Colo.)

U23 Men’s Cross Country

Colin Cares (Colorado Springs, Colo.)**

Rob Squire (Sandy, Utah)

Tad Elliott (Durango, Colo.)

U23 Women’s Cross Country

Amy Dombrowski (Boulder, Colo.)**

Chloe Forsman (Tucson, Ariz.)

Junior Men’s Cross Country

Russell Finsterwald (Colorado Springs, Colo.)**

Zach McDonald (Bainbridge Island, Wash.)

Seth Kemp (Campobello, S.C.)

Eric Emsky (Fall City, Wash.)

Junior Women XCO

Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo.)**

Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, Calif.)

**denotes automatic nomination

USAC Worlds Team announced