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Mountain bikers earn 'cross titles Switzerland, Italy and France
At cyclo-cross national championships held around the globe this weekend, several mountain bikers took a break from their mountain bike pre-season preparations and rode to victory or other podium spots.
Switzerland's 'cross nationals was dominated by mountain bikers, especially in the elite men's category. Lukas Flückiger (BMC) attacked the remaining group of leaders on a long climb before the finish and took the title ahead of Marcel Wildhaber (Scott-Odlo MTB Racing). Other notable mountain biker finishes were Florian Vogel (Scott-Odlo MTB Racing) in sixth, Mathias Flückiger in seventh and Julien Taramarcaz in eighth.
Wildhaber was delighted with his second place finish. "I never had the luck to win a medal at nationals until my eliminator [MTB] title last July. So this is my only second one, but also the second in only six months."
In the Swiss elite women's race, junior mountain bike national champion Sina Frei won, ahead of Katrin Leumann and Jane Nussli.
In Italy, Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol) raced to her third 'cross national title more than a minute ahead of her rivals while Olympic cross country bronze medallist Marco Fontana (Cannondale) got to keep his national champion's jersey for another year in the elite men's race.
In France, mountain biker and road racer Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) earned the gold medal ahead of 'cross favorites Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (EC Stephanois) and Caroline Mani (CC Etupes Le Doubs PM).
In the US, Katie Compton, who is best known for her international cyclo-cross accomplishments, topped the women's podium. Although she has stopped racing mountain bikes in recent years to focus on 'cross, she is a former US short track mountain bike national champion. Among the currently active mountain bikers, Georgia Gould (Luna) led the pack in fifth place while Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club) was ninth, despite a crash early in the race.
Justin Lindine (Team Redline) in eighth, Tristan Schouten (Team Optum) in ninth, Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar Cycling) in 10th and Kerry Werner (BMC) in 11th put in the strongest men's mountain biker performances at the US Nationals. Werner also claimed his third straight Division 1 Collegiate national title, too.
In the Netherlands, road and 'cross world champion, Marianne Vos (Rabobank/Liv Giant) again proved herself by taking the women's 'cross national title. Vos raced several mountain bike World Cups in 2013 and is considering a bid to race mountain biking in the Olympics in 2016.
In Poland, Marek Konwa and Paula Gorycka topped the elite men's and women's podiums.
In Germany, Elisabeth Brandau (RSC Schönaich) finished second in the women's race while Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Focus XC Team) was fourth in the men's race.