The SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team started well into the 2014 racing campaign. Thanks to Marcel Wildhaber we already saw a first highlight at the cyclo-cross national championship in Busnang. In an exciting sprint finish he won the silver medal only 2 seconds behind the new champion Lukas Flückiger (BMC). The other two team riders Florian Vogel and Andri Frischknecht also showed good performances finishing both in 6th place.
From the beginning it was an open game. Non of the favorite such as defending champion Julien Taramarcaz or Simon Zahner and Marcel Wildhaber wanted to expose themselves. And from the mountain bike fraction with the Flückiger brothers and Florian Vogel it was unsure what to expect from them. Tough, the experts of the scene know they can always be good enough for a surprise. The result was an unusual big group of 8 riders that stayed together all trough the race. Along the already mentioned it was Lukas Winterberg and Arnould Grand also mixing it up in the lead group.
One man was highly active: Florian Vogel! He was the one who set the pace a big part of the race, trying to keep the tempo high and work for his team mate Marcel Wildhaber. " I tried to stay in front especially on the steep downhill and technical parts. In such a big group the chances are high you get caught in a crash." said Florian. Marcel was riding smart, always in top positions. He had something in mind-the podium! After an intensive MTB season he started a bit slower into this years cyclo- cross campaign. With the result that he is getting stronger as closer it get's to the world championship in Hoogerheide (Netherlands).
The pack of 8th stayed together until 1 km to go. As national champion in the MTB eliminator this was kind of in the interest of Marcel. In the sprint he had not to be afraid of anyone. Tough, in such a big group anything can happen. But it was Lukas Flückiger who attacked on a long climb before the finish straight. He's move was impressive and no one had something to hold against him. He managed to get trough with a 2 second lead to win the title. He's tactic was the opposite of Florian Vogel. Lukas was never active until the very end but than surprised everybody. Marcel won the photo finish sprint for second. Simon Zahner took the bronze by millimeters.
Happy Marcel is ranking this medal as one of his career highlights. No wonder- it's his first one in his favorite cycling discipline! " I never had the luck to win a medal at nationals until my eliminator title last July. So this is my only second one- but also the second in only 6 month." was this proud statement. Indeed a remarkable fact, which shows the multi talent of Wildhaber who seems to only be at the beginning of more to come. A hopefully continuation of it offers the world championship in three weeks. He sets his goals: " So far a 12th place was my best ranking in the world cup. But unlike past years I get stronger now towards the end of the season because I started to peak later. My dream is to get into top 10 at worlds. At the Elimintaor world championship 2013 I already proved myself this is possible."
" I never had the luck to win a medal at nationals until my eliminator title last July. So this is my only second one- but also the second in only 6 month." Marcel Wildhaber SCOTT-ODLO MTB Racing Team The U23 race had a similar interesting race with a 4 men sprint which was won by Lars Forster. Andri Frischknecht recovered from his broken collar bone. The medals where out of reach but considering the circumstances he showed off a good performance finishing in 6th.