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Fontana, Flückiger, Lechner and Ferrand-Prevot excel at 'cross nationals

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Swiss cross nats podium: Marcel Wildhaber, Lukas Flueckiger, Simon Zahner

Swiss cross nats podium: Marcel Wildhaber, Lukas Flueckiger, Simon Zahner
(Image credit: Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team)
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Marcel Wildhaber sprints for second at the Swiss 'cross nationals

Marcel Wildhaber sprints for second at the Swiss 'cross nationals
(Image credit: Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team)
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Florian Vogel and Marcel Wildhaber lead before the last lap

Florian Vogel and Marcel Wildhaber lead before the last lap
(Image credit: Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team)
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Marcel Wildhaber in action

Marcel Wildhaber in action
(Image credit: Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team)
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Marcel Wildhaber on a slippery descent

Marcel Wildhaber on a slippery descent
(Image credit: Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team)
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Marcel Wildhaber negotiates a barrier

Marcel Wildhaber negotiates a barrier
(Image credit: Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team)
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Marco Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale) en route to a podium finish at the 2013 'cross World Cup round in Rome, Italy

Marco Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale) en route to a podium finish at the 2013 'cross World Cup round in Rome, Italy
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Eva Lechner finished third

Eva Lechner finished third
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Kerry Werner (Lees-McRae) running the Belgian Steps on lap one

Kerry Werner (Lees-McRae) running the Belgian Steps on lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) having little problem with the off-camber stuff

Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) having little problem with the off-camber stuff
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) moved quickly to the top ten after a poor starting grid position

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) moved quickly to the top ten after a poor starting grid position
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)

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

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.

Italy

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.

France

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).

United States

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.

Netherlands

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.

Poland

In Poland, Marek Konwa and Paula Gorycka topped the elite men's and women's podiums.

Germany

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.