cycling news / Leopard plays key role in National CX Championship
On Saturday, January 7th, the Luxembourgish cyclocross season was marked by the National Championship in Schengen. In this race, the participants of the Leopard Pro Cycling team – Pit Schlechter, Massimo Morabito and Pit Leyder – played a key role.
In a very cold Schengen, the partipants of the National Championship had to conquer laps on a surface that was as hard as a rock. A fast race was to be expected, but the later winner should also be able to handle technical situations very well. Unfortunately, Massimo Morabito missed his start and fell back immediately. Unlike him, Pit Schlechter and Scott Thillges had a very good start. The first took the lead, but had to deal with some bad luck as he broke some spokes in his front wheel. Scott Thillges then took over the leading position, but was already chased by Morabito who bridged the gap to the front in a great manner. You could sense that Massimo had a really good day and therefore it is a real shame that he crashed with a few laps to go and lost his good position to his Pit Schlechter who continued the chase on leader Thillges. Unfortunately, he was not able to catch him, meaning that the 26-year-old would finish in second place. Morabito was not able to get back into his rhythm and finished just outside of the podium places as fourth. Pit Leyder surprised himself in the U23 race as he finished in third position.
Pit Schlechter: I started the race quite well and managed to stay in front with the eventual winner. In the third lap, I collided with Scott and I broke some spokes in my front wheel. Because of his incident, I lost contact and never managed to get back to him on this technical course. All in all, I am disappointed, because I felt like I would have been able to crown myself national champion.
Massimo Morabito: Unfortunately, I didn’t have a super fast start as Pit Schlechter and Scott. Therefore I found myself back 30 seconds right after the start. I quickly came into a good rhythm and joined the head of the race. I was able to battle for the win, but with three laps to go I had a nasty crash in a dangerous downhill. I resumed the race in third, but I lost my good flow and crashed two more times in the last two laps. I finished in fourth position, but I am really disappointed with this result. I had a good feeling today and I had a very big chance to win the race and become national champion.”
Pit Leyder: The race conditions were very good for me with a frozen track without any mud. This made the race really fast, despite all the technical parts. In the first lap, I had a little crash, but after this incident the race went really well and I had a lot of fun. I am happy with my podium place, it was quite unexpected. Out of the six cyclocross races this season, this was definitely my best one.”