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Mountain bike: Maja Wloszczowska and Lukas Flückiger review 2017

Lukas Flückiger - Maja Wloszczowska
Lukas Flückiger - Maja Wloszczowska

We continue our end-of-year series featuring members of the UCI Athletes’ Commission. Today, mountain bikers Maja Wloszczowska and Lukas Flückiger look back on the year: the highs, the lows and the memorable moments.

Maja Wloszczowska (Poland)

Maja Wloszczowska - Rio 2016 silver medallist

  • Two-time UCI World Champion (XCO in 2010 and MTB Marathon in 2003)
  • Four-time UCI World Championships XCO silver medallist (2004, 2005, 2011, 2013)
  • Two-time Olympic silver medallist (Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016) 

Lukas Flückiger (Switzerland)

Lukas Flückiger

  • UCI World Championshps silver medallist in 2012
  • European Championships silver medallist in 2015
  • Several UCI World Cup podiums

Personal sporting highlight of the year

M.W. Third place at the UCI World Cup Final in Val di Sole with an unhealed broken bone in my arm. That gave me 2nd place in the individual overall rankings, and together with Jolanda Neff we won the team overall title. That was an absolutely awesome day for the whole KROSS Racing Team.

L.F. 6th place at UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Cairns, Australia. 

Disappointment / bad moment of the year

M.W. A simple crash at the European Champs. I thought I was ok, but RTG showed a broken bone. I still hoped to race there or the following week in Canada at the World Cup. I even made the trip to Mt St Anne. But the pain was too much.

L.F. I broke my ribs just 1 week before the final round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, just when I knew I was in good shape.

My biggest surprise of the year

M.W. Amazing shape of young Yana Belomoyna, UCI World Cup overall winner. Top, top, top!

L.F. Only three weeks after breaking my ribs, I was able to get one of my best results of the 2017 season, at the Worlds in Cairns.

Lukas Flückiger - 2017 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

 Anecdote of the year

M.W. Not racing at one of the UCI World Cups and still reaching the podium. Yes! It’s possible! Despite our absence in Mt St Anne (neither I nor Jolanda Neff raced because of injuries) we kept our leading position as the best female team. It was worth the trip to Canada! :)

L.F. To win the UCI World Cup overall team ranking (with BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team) in a single sport discipline shows what you can achieve as a team. Big emotions. 

My cycling hero of the year

M.W. Jolanda Neff. Despite starting the season in not the best shape, then getting injured in the middle of the season, she managed to stay calm. She took it as easy as possible and worked super hard for the World Champs in Australia, where she finally won the rainbow stripes. I’m super proud of her!

L.F. Mathieu van der Poel. To be on the top of two different cycling disciplines (cyclo-cross and MTB) in one year and still win races between on the road is very impressive. 

Other cycling discipline I would like to try

M.W. Enduro. I love it in the off season. Maybe I’m not the best downhill rider, but with the suspension that enduro bikes provide it’s so much more fun!

L.F. I still like the idea of riding more enduro races. it is so close to cross-country but its takes a completely different riding style.

My favourite cycling race/competition of the year as a competitor

M.W. Oh… so many of them! Actually… my home race in Jelenia Gora. I was organiser and competitor in one, super tired, but amazing crowd helped me to win! Looking at the World Cups - always Nove Mesto, because of the spectators. Polish fans who come there are absolutely awesome!

Maja Wloszczowska - UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Nove Mesto na Morave (CZE)

L.F. The UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. It all comes down to one single race. Everybody is more prepared and focused then before, and it’s always one of the last races of the season. This feeling, going into the most important race of the year, is something special.

My favourite cycling race/competition of the year as a spectator

M.W. Strade Bianche because of Michal Kwiatkowski’s spectacular breakaway. And the final time trial of the Tour de France with 2 Polish guys on top within 1 second (victory for Maciej Bodnar & 2nd for Kwiatkowski)!  The Women’s spring races with Kasia Niewiadoma in the main role were also extremely exciting! What a fighter!

L.F. I don’t watch too many races, but if I’m not at the start of the CX Worlds, I really love to watch cyclo-cross. It’s spectacular from the start to the finish and you never know what’s going to happen until the end. 

My sporting ambition(s) for 2018 

M.W. Win Cape Epic & MTB XCO World Champs (here I need to negotiate with my Swiss team-mate Jolanda Neff as she has the same goal racing on her homeland.

L.F. To get back on the UCI World Cup podium and win a medal at the Lenzerheide UCI World Championships in my home country.

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