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Checkin’ in with Frischi’

Editor's note: Newly crowned Swiss national cyclo-cross champion Thomas Frischknecht seems raring to go as the season charges toward the wrap up of the World Cup series in Heerlen, the Netherlands, on January 27, and the world championship a week later in Zolder, Belgium. "Frischy" occasionally sends out an e-mail update of his progress.Around Christmas I finished my 12 years with Team Ritchey in style with two cyclo-cross victories in Garfiniano, Italy on December 23 and Dagmarsellen, Switzerland, on December 26. Actually the last two races in the red-white and blue jersey in Belgium did

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By Thomas Frischknecht

Editor’s note: Newly crowned Swiss national cyclo-cross champion Thomas Frischknecht seems raring to go as the season charges toward the wrap up of the World Cup series in Heerlen, the Netherlands, on January 27, and the world championship a week later in Zolder, Belgium. “Frischy” occasionally sends out an e-mail update of his progress.Around Christmas I finished my 12 years with Team Ritchey in style with two cyclo-cross victories in Garfiniano, Italy on December 23 and Dagmarsellen, Switzerland, on December 26. Actually the last two races in the red-white and blue jersey in Belgium did not go too well. A 10th and a 17th place put me back on earth and reality.

It seems like the Belgians ride in their own league right now. But compared to the others from Holland, France, Czech and Italy I’m not doing too bad. Except of the first race of the new year. At the world cup race in Nommay, France on January 6th I had to take a shower while the others were still racing. A blocked joint in my back with horrible back pain forced me to pull out of the race due. This was not a good sign for upcoming national championships.

This year the nationals were held in my hometown. The pressure was on. I also announced that I would only do the world championships if I win the title. The last two years I stopped my cross season after the nationals to concentrate on the mountain-bike season.

The ground was frozen and the surface very slippery. On each corner waited Mr. Crash.

After a good start I tried to decide the race early. I went full out from the beginning, but Beat Wabel (Swiss champion of the past two years) and runner up Jan Ramsauer were still on my wheel after three laps. My two rivals ride for the same club and I did not want to get into any tactical games.

From the leading position I accelerated after each corner as fast as I could until they finally lost contact. They were totally fried after they came off my wheel, but the problem was that I was the same.

Anyway, we continued the battle 10 seconds apart. As soon as I took a little bit less risk around the corners, they closed the gap down to 6 seconds. For the entire race I never had a comfortable lead. A little mistake or a dropped chain and we would start the whole game from the beginning again. I tried hard to hang on to my small lead. By the end of the race Wabel crashed and was out of the game for the title. But Ramsauer hurt me until the very last lap. Finally I made it to the finish 10 seconds ahead of him.

This is my third pro cyclo-cross title after 1997 and 1999 and by far the most beautiful. It’s nice to win on home turf and the start of my new Swisspower Team could not been any better.

The next two weekends I will do the world cup races in Wetzikon, Switzerland and Heerlen, Holland. I hope to find some confidence how to beat the lions in their own cave at the world championship in Belgium.

You will soon receive news about the new Swisspower Mountain Bike Team.