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How to qualify for mountain bike at Paris 2024. The Olympics qualification system explained

Cross-country mountain bike will once again feature at the Olympic Games, with races for both men and women scheduled for Paris 2024. Find out everything you need to know about the number of athletes, stars to watch and pathway to qualification below. 

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Following the thrills of Tokyo 2020, mountain bike will once again return to the Olympic programme for Paris 2024. There will be men's and women's races taking place at Paris's Elancourt Hill, with riders battling to win the ultimate prize in sport - an Olympic gold medal.

But before any of that can take place, cyclists will need to qualify for the competition - no easy task in itself. Find out everything you need to know about the pathway to Paris 2024 for cross-country mountain bike below.

How many athletes will compete in mountain bike at Paris 2024?

In total, 72 athletes will compete in the Paris 2024 mountain bike competition. As the host country, France have been allocated two quota places - one for men and one for women - while two more will be set aside for Universality Places, which will de decided by the Tripartite Commission in 2024.

The other 68 places - 34 for women and 34 for men - will be allocated based on competitions leading up to the Games, with a maximum of two quota places for men and two for women available to each NOC - down from three each at Tokyo 2020.

What is the mountain bike qualification pathway to Paris 2024?

Points acquired during UCI Mountain Bike Olympic Qualification events will count towards Olympic qualification. NOCs ranked one to eight will qualify two athletes, with those ranked nine to 19 qualifying one athlete.

UCI rankings will be decided by adding together the points of the three highest-ranked athletes from each NOC across the qualification period, which runs from 7 May 2022 to 26 May 2024.

A maximum of two Continental Championships are included in the rankings, with the last two to take place counting if there are more than two.

Outside of Europe and Oceania, a maximum of one athlete can qualify per NOC at the Cross-country Continental Championships for Africa, America and Asia - with the highest-ranked NOC allocated each place.

The two highest-ranked NOCs at the 2023 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in both the elite and under 23 races, which have not qualified a quota place through the UCI Mountain Bike Olympic Qualification ranking or the 2023 Continental Championships, will qualify a maximum of one place per NOC, with NOCs which have qualified through the elite race not eligible to qualify through the under 23 race.

What is the Paris 2024 mountain bike competition format and schedule?

As with Tokyo 2020, the Paris 2024 mountain bike competition will include a men's and women's cross-country race. Races will take place on Sunday 28 and Monday 29 of July, with each being competed during the afternoon from 14:00 pm to 16:30 pm.

The venue of the competition will be Elancourt Hill, the highest point in the Paris region, which reaches an altitude of 231 metres. In order to minimise the impact on the environment, 95% of the course is based on existing trails with various routes to be left as a legacy for the public after the Games.

READ MORE: The competition schedule for Olympic Games Paris 2024 has been released

Mountain bikers to watch at Paris 2024

The men's mountain bike competition at Tokyo 2020 saw multi-discipline rider Tom Pidcock of Great Britain ride to gold. with Switzerland's Mathias Flückiger winning silver and Spain's David Valero cycling to bronze. Pidcock has been racing in the road cycling season, having also added the Cyclo-cross World Championships title to his burgeoning resume in January.

Keep a close eye on Swiss rider Nino Schurter - whose win in the 2022 World Cup season opener in Petropolis, Brazil saw him draw level with France's Julien Absalon for most ever XCO World Cup wins.

Other riders who will be hoping to make the podium in Paris include the Netherlands' Mathieu van der Poel and France's Victor Koretzky.

In the women's competition, the reigning Olympic champion is Switzerland's Jolanda Neff, who topped a Swiss podium sweep that included silver medallist Sina Frei and third-placed Linda Indergrand.

Other stars in the women's field include France's Loana Lecomte, Great Britain's Evie Richards and Sweden's Jenny Rissveds - the Rio 2016 gold medallist - in addition to the French legend Pauline Ferrand-Prevot who is a three-time XCO world champion.

Mountain bike qualification timelines for Paris 2024

7 May 2022 - 26 May 2024: UCI Mountain Bike Qualification period

7 May 2022 - 26 May 2024: Period during which results are included in the UCI Mountain Bike Qualification ranking of 26 May 2024

3 - 13 August 2023: 2023 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

2023: African Continental Championships (TBD), American Continental Championships (TBD), Asia Continental Championships (TBD)

28 May 2024: UCI Mountain Bike Olympic Qualification ranking published

3 June 2024: UCI confirms in writing to the NOCs the quota places obtained

17 June 2024: The NOCs to confirm to UCI the use of allocated quota places

21 June 2024: UCI to reallocate all unused quota places

28 June 2024: NOCs to confirm to the UCI the use of reallocated unused quota places

8 July 2024: Paris 2024 Sport Entries deadline

26 July - 11 August 2024: Olympic Games Paris 2024

Find out more about the qualification systems for other sports that will feature at Paris 2024.

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