Italian cyclo-cross champion Marco Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) is hoping to once again finish on the podium at the Rome, Italy round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup this coming Sunday, nearly one year to the day since he placed third in the 2013 edition. Fontana proved to be the revelation of the day last year as he secured the final podium position in the elite men's event, 22 seconds behind winner Kevin Pauwels and just six seconds off the pace of runner-up Niels Albert.
As was the case during the 2012-2013 'cross season, Fontana has once again raced a light schedule in Italy this season and has forgone all of the World Cups and major international competition prior to Rome, the sixth of seven rounds of the 'cross World Cup.
While Fontana's winter has primarily been devoted to preparation for his 2014 mountain bike campaign, the 29-year-old Italian hopes for another successful outing on Sunday. In recent weeks Fontana has won four straight 'cross races contested in Italy.
"Sunday I have to test myself in the sole World Cup in my home country and the only one I chose to race this year," said Fontana. "It will be one of the very few occasions that I will have to compete with the best international cyclo-cross riders."
While Fontana proved adept at handling a lightning-fast circuit in Rome at the 2013 edition, he's hoping that a revised course will play to his strengths which provide success on the mountain bike, highlighted by a bronze medal in the cross country event at the 2012 Olympic Games.
"The race track has been renovated, now it's more technical and spectacular than in the past editions," said Fontana. "As always I'm going to do my best to honor the event organizers, headed by Italian National Cyclo-cross Coach Fausto Scotti, Asd Romano Scotti president, and the people who are always by my side: family, team, sponsors and fans."