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10th World championship title for Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå


10th World championship title for Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå

She might be 42 years old, but Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå is not the least bit tired. The Norwegian won her 10th mountain bike World championship title and the sixth in the marathon format. By doing so the rider of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM further expands what is already a very impressive palmares.

For a mountain bike marathon race, a distance of 60 kilometers does not sound like much. But the course of the Sellaronda Hero in the South Tyrolean Dolomites packs a brutal punch as it features no less than four tough climbs along its relative short distance, totalling no less than 3400 vertical meters of ascending. No wonder Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå was cautious when assessing her chanced before the race: „The course of the Sellaronda Hero is very hard. You really have to leave your comfort zone behind if you want to compete for a medal. I’ve got a lot of respect of the long and very steep climbs. But my preparation for this race has been spot on, and that’s why I’m confident for the World championships despite the hard course. On a good day, I should be able to fight for a medal.“

The competitors of the Norwegian got a sample of her confidence right from the start. The athlete of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM dominated the women’s race from start to finish. „I attacked right after the start in order to ride my own speed, force that upon the others and not go over my limits. That worked out perfectly, and I was on my own from the second, long climb.“ Dahle Flesjå had already opened up a gap of 1.15 minuted on Annika Langvad as her closest chaser. On her way over the Pordoi and Sella pass and to the finish line in Val Gardena, she kept on extending that lead, crossing the line with an advantage of more than three minutes. „Of course the 10th World championship title is something very special - it’s a dream come true. I knew that I was faster than my chasers on the descents, so that was a big advantage. I really was struggling on the last climb, but I guess it was the same for all the women racing today.“

Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjå was the only athlete of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM to compete at the marathon World championships in Italy. Both Ondrej Cink and Rudi van Houts will be racing against strong competition at the International Kitzalp Bike Festival in Kirchberg, Austria. Thomas Litscher has decided to take a break from racing in order to prepare as best as possible for next week’s Worldcup race in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Of course Thomas would like to shine in front of his home crowd. His young team mate Julian Schelb has spent quite some time in Lenzerheide already to train at altitude. And José Hermida has found the reason for the stomach issues that slowed him down at the beginning of the season. The Spaniard is optimistic to be back to his own old and strong self in Lenzerheide.

UCI World championships mountain bike marathon (XCM), Val Gardena/Gröden, Italien

Result women, 60km:

1. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, NOR/MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, in 3:34.13 hours

2. Annika Langvad, DEN, + 3.18

3. Sabine Spitz, GER, + 9.26