Multivan Merida Biking Team

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå a safe bet in Albstadt


Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå a safe bet in Albstadt

At the fourth round of the crosscountry Worldcup in the Southern German town of Albstadt Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå as the team's doyenne saved the day for the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM as she finished in 2nd in the women's race. The men failed to score a top10 finish, and Julian Schelb could do no better than a 20th place in the under23 race.

With two long and power-sapping climbs on a relatively short circuit, the course in Albstadt gave the strong climbers plenty of opportunities to shine. As there was no rain on race day, the descents were not demanding enough to claw back time lost on the climbs. Julian Schelb had to realise this in the men's under23 race. "After the first couple of minutes I slowed down a little bit, and when I tried to attack again I faced some stomach problems. As a consequence I lost a lot of positions. It's frustrating as I suffer from different physical problems time after time", Schelb commented after having moved up to 20th with a decent final lap.

One week after her win in Czechia Frenchwoman Pauline Ferrand Prevot was riding in a league of her own again in the women's race. She distanced all the others on the climbs and made no mistakes on the descents either. In her wake Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM proved to be the best of the rest. As from the second lap the Norwegian rode a lonely race without any mistakes to celebrate a 2nd place-finish. "What I've got this early season is much more than what I had expected. I'm both excited and confident about net weekend's European championships. After all I've been the best-placed European elite rider at the most recent two Worldcup races."

After the success of Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå the expectations were high as to how well the men could do. But apart from Rudi van Houts who finished in 22nd none of the riders of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM could perform up to their normal top-level. As the best-placed rider of the team José Hermida crossed the finish line in 14th: "Today was one of those races where you don't find a rhythm and don't feel comfortable either. On top of that I was not top fit, but at least I got to save some points for the Worldcup's overall standings." After finishing the race in 22nd Rudi van Houts reported: "After a decent start I was riding around 15th place for quite a while. But on the last three laps I missed some energy."

Both Ondrej Cink and Thomas Litscher could not finish the race: Cink complained about back pains and had a hard time to breathe, whereas Thomas Litscher was forced to abandon by the shingles.

UCI Crosscountry Mountainbike Worldcup, round 4 in Albstadt/GER


Results women

1. Pauline Ferrand Prevot, FRA, in 1:30.59 hours

2. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, NOR/MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, + 2.59

3. Jolanda Neff, SUI, + 3.19


Results men:

1. Julien Absalon, FRA, in 1:29.24 hours

2. Nino Schurter, SUI, + 1.19

3. Stéphane Tempier, FRA, + 1.24


22. Rudi van Houts, NED/MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, + 5.09


Results men under23:

1. Jordan Sarrou, FRA, in 1:20.39 hours

2. Michiel van der Heijden, NED, + 0.23

3. Howard Grotts, USA, + 0.36

20. Julian Schelb, GER/MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, + 4.49