Multivan Merida Biking Team
Ondrej Cink wins Bronze at the World championships
Ondrej Cink wins Bronze at the World championships
A demanding course, rain in the days leading up to the cross country races and the altitude turned the World championships in Andorra into a formidable challenge for the athletes. The MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM got to celebrate a Bronze medal in the men’s race thanks to Ondrej Cink while Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå missed out on a medal in the women’s race by 40 seconds.
One year ahead of the Olympic games the cross country World championships are of even bigger importance. And due to the altitude that the championships were held at in Andorra a meticulous preparation for these races was crucial. The MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM had four of its riders competing at the World championships. In the women’s race Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå was aiming for a medal despite some health issues that had bothered her in the weeks before the race. As for the men’s race Czech Ondrej Cink was one of the contenders for a top result. After all Cink had shown an incredibly strong race at this venue two years ago, only getting beaten by Nino Schurter in the end. José Hermida hoped for a good performance in the closer vicinity of his home, and Dutchman Rudi van Houts was aiming for a top15 result.
In the women’s race Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå was picking up speed after a somewhat cautious start. Teaming up with the reigning World champion Catherine Pendrel and young Ukrainian Yana Belomoina, the experienced Norwegian of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM was chasing Frenchwoman Pauline Ferrand Prevôt. At the Worlds there was no match for her, but the race in her wake was all the more thrilling. At the end of the 4th lap a medal still seemed to be within reach for Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, but then the Norwegian had to let Pendrel and Irina Kalentieva pull away. „I was missing some power today on the ascents, so I had no choice but to take more risks on the technical descents - and that actually worked out pretty well. Seen the health issues I was struggling with in the lead-up to the Worlds I cannot complain about finishing in 4th. I was able to push myself to the limit, and that’s good, and the race itself was a good fight“, Gunn-Rita Dahle commented after she had beaten Catherine Pendrel in the sprint for 4th place.
In the men’s race Ondrej Cink lived up to the big expectations: MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM’s young Czech was riding far up front right from the start and even moved into the lead of the race for a short moment in the 2nd lap. But when Julien Absalon caught up with the leaders and started to increase the pace with Nino Schurter, Cink had to let these two riders go. From there he was part of a thrilling head-to-head fight for the Bronze medal with Mathias Flückiger and Manuel Fumic for multiple laps. „I had good memories about Vallnord when I came here, all the more so as I generally like races at altitude. This was also the reason why I chose this race as my main goal for the season. Now I’m very happy about this 3rd place, after all this is my first medal in the elite category. But I had to fight hard for this medal, as Fumic was faster on the descents. But I was stronger on the climbs and kept attacking there to get that 3rd place“, a more than happy Ondrey Cink said at the finish.
The two other starters of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM in the men’s race did not fare as well: Both José Hermida and Rudi van Houts were struggling to get into the top20 throughout the race. While Hermida lost some positions in the finale, van Houts moved up in the standings. In the last lap the Dutchman passed his Spanish team mate and moved into 20th place. „My start was okay, but the 2nd and 3rd lap were really hard for me, and I lost a lot of positions. After that I managed to recover and carch a lot of guys, but of course I cannot be happy with finishing in 20th“, van Houts explained after the race. José Hermida pointed at the fact that races at altitude have never been a strong point of his, but he was struggling with another problem as well in Andorra: „I gambled a bit regarding the choice of tires and took a big risk, hoping that the course would dry up, but that did not happen so my choice was completely wrong. The descents were very slippery, so I had one or two crashes. But these are the World championships, and without risk you can’t win.“ In the end José Hermida finished the race in 21st, five seconds behind Rudi van Houts.
UCI World championships cross country 2015, Vallnord/AND
1. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, FRA, in 1:52.44 hours
2. Irina Kalentieva, RUS, + 0.58
3. Yana Belomoina, UKR, + 1.36
4. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, NOR/MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, + 2.15
5. Catherine Pendrel, CAN, st
1. Nino Schurter, SUI, in 1:29.22 hours
2. Julien Absalon, FRA, + 0.10
3. Ondrej Cink, CZE/MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, + 1.15
20. Rudi van Houts, NED/MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, + 5.51
21. José Hermida, ESP/MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, + 5.56