It's somewhat anti-climatic to have the world championships after the Olympic Games, but Olympic cross country mountain bike bronze medallists Marco Fontana and Georgia Gould are both motivated for the world championship cross country races on Saturday in Saalfelden, Austria. It's only been three weeks since the London Games, but the time has flown past and both racers are hoping that they can leverage some of their excellent Olympic form for another weekend.
Italy's Fontana, who was with eventual winner Jaroslav Kulhavy and runner-up Nino Schurter at the Olympics, until near the end of the race, when his seat post broke and his seat fell off, was delighted with winning a medal in London.
"I'm feeling pretty satisfied with what I did," said Fontana to Cyclingnews. "Everything was working great for four years, and a medal is something that gives you back for what you did that whole time. I'm really happy."
After the Olympics, Fontana said that he "had a few days off, actually a week off, and coming back to racing was a little tough. I think I'll be ready for Saturday. It's a different form for sure. I can't say that it's the same as for the Olympics, but obviously it's the same for the other guys. You can't peak for two months."
Fontana considered the favorites for Saturday's race, a list that is longer than those seen at the front of the Olympic race. "Sure a few guys will want to prove that they are strong, like Lukas Flueckiger (Switzerland), who didn't come to the Olympics (because he was not selected by the Swiss team) and is one of my personal favorites. Between me, Manny (Fumic), Julien (Absalon), Nino (Schurter) and (Jaroslav) Kulhavy - we are the ones to watch.
Fontana's Cannondale Factory trade teammate Manuel Fumic, who is racing for Germany at Worlds and was seventh at the Olympic Games, talked about the effect of the Olympics on the season. "It was a hard time after the Olympics because our focus was on that for so long. Afterward, you need a lot of motivation to train hard and do your intervals," said Fumic to Cyclingnews. "I think I'm in good shape and so is Marco - I know that because I was suffering following him around the course yesterday in training."
In the women's race, Gould is hoping for another strong performance to cap off a year in which she has become a regular contender at the front of World Cups. The US National Champion and Luna racer said that after the Olympic Games, "I feel the same as always - normal."
"I went home and immediately got sick. I got better, had a little bit of training and came back here. It doesn't feel like the Olympic Games was a month ago. I'm excited it should be a good race. They've got a good course. It seems like a good one with a little bit of everything.
Gould told Cyclingnews that she expects the same contenders as usual at the front, but that she will not count anyone out. "You never know at the big races, and everyone has a breakout race sometime."
When asked if winning an Olympic bronze medal had affected her life, Gould said, "Not really. It hasn't changed anything."
After winning the medal in London, Gould "took the medal dancing that night." She said, "Lea (Davison) was like 'We're taking your medal dancing, and I was like 'ok'.". There were a lot of firsts that day - I did my first karioke, too."
Gould appreciated friends back home in Fort Collins throwing her a party which she called "low key". She said, "I'm no Missy Franklin, and it's not like people are now recognizing me on the street or anything."