The governing body for cycling in Switzerland, Swiss Cycling, today announced the country's 11-rider roster for the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, to be contested for the first time in the United States at Louisville, Kentucky, on February 2-3. The Swiss squad will be comprised of five elite men, one elite woman, four U23 men and one junior man.
Switzerland has a strong history at the cyclo-cross world championships with 44 medals earned, including seven elite men's world titles and six junior men's championships. In 1976 Switzerland swept the elite men's podium, headlined by Albert Zweifel's first of five elite men's world titles. The nation hasn't won a world championship medal in any 'cross category since 2005, however, but the two medallists from that year have been having solid seasons thus far and will be contesting the elite men's world championship in Louisville, Kentucky.
Julien Taramarcaz (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team), the reigning Swiss champion, was the revelation of the last World Cup round in Roubaix, France where the 26-year-old rode at the head of the race throughout and ultimately finished a close fourth behind the Belgian juggernaut of Sven Nys, Kevin Pauwels and Niels Albert. Taramarcaz, who won the silver medal in the 2005 junior men's cyclo-cross world championship, has been steadily moving up the 'cross rankings this season and currently stands at 18th overall.
Simon Zahner also medalled at the 2005 cyclo-cross world championships, earning bronze behind Zdenek Stybar and Radomir Simunek in the U23 men's race. He's currently the highest ranked Swiss rider for elite men, currently at 13th overall, with multiple podium placings at Swiss events this season. He finished second to Taramarcaz at the Swiss elite championships and was the highest-placed Swiss rider at the 2012 'cross Worlds, finishing 10th.
Lukas Flückiger (Trek World Racing Team), silver medalist at the 2012 mountain bike world championship cross country event, has already competed on US soil this season where he finished on the podium in the first two rounds of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross series, including a victory in the second round. The Swiss elite men's team is rounded by Arnaud Grand (Telenet-Fidea), a two-time Swiss U23 'cross champion, and Marcel Wildhaber (SCOTT Swisspower Team).
Switzerland's last podium result in the elite men's world championship was earned in 1997 when Thomas Frischknecht rode to a silver medal.
Switzerland will field one entry in the elite women's race, reigning national champion Jasmin Achermann (Rapha-Focus). Like Taramarcaz, she, too, was a revelation at the Roubaix, France round of the World Cup where she finished third behind Katie Compton and Sanne van Paassen. The 23-year-old is currently ranked ninth on the UCI standings. In the 13-year history of elite women competing at the 'cross world championships Switzerland has yet to win a medal in the event.
Four riders will contest the U23 men's world championship, Lars Forster Lars (Tower Sports – VC Eschenbach), Fabian Lienhard (EKZ Racing Team), Lukas Müller (VC Steinmaur), Severin Sägesser (Fischer Junior MTB Team) along with a solitary entry in the junior men's event, Dominic Grab (VC Maur).
Switzerland's 2013 cyclo-cross world championship team:
Lukas Flückiger (Trek World Racing Team)
Arnaud Grand (Telenet-Fidea)
Julien Taramarcaz (BMC Racing Team)
Marcel Wildhaber (SCOTT Swisspower Team)
Simon Zahner (EKZ Racing Team)
Jasmin Achermann (Rapha-Focus)
Lars Forster Lars (Tower Sports – VC Eschenbach)
Fabian Lienhard (EKZ Racing Team)
Lukas Müller (VC Steinmaur)
Severin Sägesser (Fischer Junior MTB Team)
Dominic Grab (VC Maur)