Multivan Merida Biking Team

No medals at the World championships


No medals at the World championships

At mountain biking's World championships in Hafjell, Norway the athletes of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM did not succeed to win a medal. Still not all members of the team walked away in disappointment.

Four athletes of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM were already competing in the very early stages of the World championships: After a lengthy break Thomas Litscher gave the eliminator race another try. Due to the bumpy course he opted for MERIDA's fully-suspended BIG.NINETY-NINE, and in qualifying he rode to a 10th place. In the race the Swiss rider got eliminated in the quarter finals, finishing in 13th.

On the next day Julian Schelb, Rudi van Houts and José Hermida all participated in the team relay race. José Hermida was struggling a bit in the frenzy right after the start, and the Spanish team could do no better than 10th in the end. Rudi van Houts and his fellow Dutch team mates fared a bit better, finishing in 8th. Just like van Houts and Hermida, Julian Schelb was the first rider for his team. He performed pretty well and contributed his part to the German team's 5th place finish.

But the main target of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM at this World championships clearly were the crosscountry races. And after a season with some setbacks, Julian Schelb delivered a first highlight. The young German started cautiously and found himself back in 15th place at the end of the first lap. But then Schelb started to give chase , and at times he even was riding in the medal positions. But Schelb made some mistake too many in the final lap and dropped back to 7th at the finish.

For Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå the World championships in front of her home crowd were the main target of her season where she wanted to crown her career with a tenth World championship title. But right from the start the Norwegian could not match the pace of the race leaders. First she found herself in 9th before she started to move up to 6th halfway into the race. But she could not keep that pace on the two last laps and dropped back to 9th as a consequence. "Somehow I never got up to my normal race speed today. I was struggling all the time and could not really go to my usual limits", a disappointed Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå said at the finish.

In the men's race, Thomas Litscher had a surprisingly good start seen the fact that he had just undergone a root canal treatment. But the Swiss rider lost a lot of time on the second lap already. José Hermida fared better as he rode into the top10 in the second lap of the race. Just when he had moved up to 7th place in the fourth lap, he suffered a flat tire due to the many sharp-edged rocks that littered the course. Thus the Spaniard had to limit the damages and at least managed to get back into 9th position. "I really wanted to compete for the medals today, and I was happy with my form as well", José Hermida commented after the race.

Two other riders of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM had more reasons to be happy: After a bad start, Ondrej Cink had to find a way through the large bunch of starters. The young Czech succeeded in doing so and after a race where he had been constantly passing other riders Ondrej Cink finished in 1 good 12th place. Rudi van Houts' race was quite a bit different: The Dutchman had aimed for a top10 finish, and this seemed to be within reach until the penultimate lap of the race. "But on those two final laps my batteries went empty. Still I'm satisfied with my 14th place."

From the team manager's perspective, Fabian Aust had this to say: "For Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå this was a pitch black day and she's understandably disappointed. The guys all fought bravely and gave it their very best, but there was some bad luck involved as well. In terms of commitment I have nothing to complain, however."