Lukas Flueckiger keeps Olympic hopes alive in Nove Mesto

Lukas Flueckiger (Trek World Racing) kept his hopes of making the Swiss Olympic team alive on Sunday at the cross country World Cup race in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic.

Racing more than 180 other elite men, in cold, seven-degree Celsius temperatures, Flueckiger got a good start and was initially with the race leaders on the start loop.

He stayed in the top 15 throughout and posted fast lap times on laps four and five of six total laps. He spent most of his time in the third chase group, and near the final lap he caught the group with Christoph Sauser (Specialized) and Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida), but then had a crash and lost all he had gained.

Impressively in this Olympic selection race, six of the top 13 finishers were Swiss, which makes life tough for a rider who wants to be one of the three men who will be selected to represent Switzerland at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Currently, Flueckiger sits as the third Swiss rider in the World Cup overall, and has been the second most consistent rider.

"This Olympic selection process was really playing on my mind. It's so much pressure," said Flueckiger. "It was like the wires between my brain and legs were crossed, when I asked the legs for more, nothing happened, but they were feeling great."

"I just need to focus on racing and not the other stuff going on around me, and aim to have a great race this weekend in La Bresse."

The next World Cup, round 4, the last one in the Olympic team selection process for most nations, is this weekend, May 19-20 in La Bresse, France. Held near the home of Julien Absalon, organizers are expecting a record turn-out.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage from La Bresse.

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