Nash powered through the conditions to take the victory. © Bart Hazen

Nash, shown here powering to the victory in Roubaix, took the Czech MTB title. © Bart Hazen

by Josh Liberles

While Todd Wells and Katie Compton led the ’crossers charge on the American front, similar stories were unfolding in Europe.

Katerina Nash (Luna Chix Pro), winner of the 2009 Roubaix World Cup cyclocross race and sixth place finisher at Worlds in Tabor, continued to show terrific off-road form by storming to the Czech national mountain bike title. Nash, who was second in the recent cross country MTB World Cup in Downieville, led the National Championship race for almost the entire duration.

On the men’s side, reigning cyclocross world champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea was disappointed in his ride, but still managed to land a respectable sixth place. “Before the start I wasn’t feeling that great,” said Stybar. “I made a quick start because I wanted a good position, but I used up a lot of energy doing that. So I had to race a bit slower for two laps. I lost some places and was maybe 12th. But then I started to feel better and I moved ahead of some riders. It was probably the best I could do in the hot weather.”

Stybar, who has also raced several road events in his lead-up to cyclocross season, has indicated on his Web site that he’s interested in taking mountain biking a little more seriously. He recently told Sporza that he’s considering targeting the cross country mountain bike event in the next Olympics in London. If Stybar steps up his MTB game, he would likely line up against a familiar face in Sven Nys.

Meanwhile, Sabine Spitz and Benjamin Sonntag were lining up for the German National Championships.

It’s tough to claim Spitz, clearly a mountain bike specialist, as a “cyclocrosser.” This weekend, she took her 11th German national XC title. But in 2005, the last time the World Cyclocross Championships were held in St. Wendel, Germany, Spitz did claim an impressive second place, behind her countrywoman Hanka Kupfernagel. Perhaps we’ll see Spitz at the next Cyclocross Worlds, which returns to St. Wendel.

Benjamin Sonntag, who was involved in last year’s thrilling tête-à-tête in the Collegiate National Championship with eventual winner Zach McDonald, finished ninth in the Elite men’s race.