Race News

Dahle Flesjå to start at Cape Epic for World Bicycle Relief


Dahle Flesjå to start at Cape Epic for World Bicycle Relief

In mid March 2015, the Cape Epic stage race will be held in South Africa, and José Hermida and Rudi van Houts will not be the only riders of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM to compete. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå has decided to take part at the race as well, teaming up with Swiss rider Kathrin Stirnemann to represent the World Bicycle Relief aid organisation.

„The Cape Epic stage race is considered as a huge challenge in the sport of mountainbiking, so I have been planning to ride it for quite a while“, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå explains her decision to take to the start of the South African stage race in mid March. „And since the Worldcup season starts late this year, 2015 is the best opportunity to finally give it a try. But this does not change my goals for the season ahead: I still want to be competitive in crosscountry races, be it at Worldcups or at World and European championships, and I also want to compete in some marathon races.“ The Norwegian from the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM has gathered quite some experience in stage racing: Apart from the „Tour VTT“, she has also been competing in a number of road stage races over the years.

Ridden in teams of two, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå considers the Cape Epic as a perfect opportunity to lay a solid foundation for the season ahead. Teaming up for the Cape Epic with Swiss rider Kathrin Stirnemann, she wants to win a stage as well. „I do not really expect our World Bicycle Relief team to compete for the overall standings. But we’re looking forward to both the adventure and the challenge that this race presents. I will be riding on MERIDA’s fully-suspended Big.Ninety-Nine model, by the way“, Dahle Flesjå adds. Her Cape Epic team mate Kathrin Stirnemann has already gathered some experience in stage races, competing in mixed teams at the Cape Pioneer, and she’s the reigning Worldcup champion in the eliminator format. „I truly feel honored that Gunn-Rita has chosen me as her partner for the Cape Epic. This means a lot to me. I’m totally motivated, I’m looking forward to the adventure and I hope to give my form an additional kick leading up to the crosscountry season. But of course I’m well aware that racing the Cape Epic for eight consecutive days will be a hard task as well“, as Stirnemann says.

With their start at the Cape Epic, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå and Kathrin Stirnemann also aim to spread the message of the World Bicycle Relief aid organisation. This organisation provides people in need in developing countries with rugged bicycles, thus making their daily lives easier and creating new business opportunities. Add to that the fact that both the assembly and maintenance of these bicycles create jobs in those very countries as well. „World Bicycle Relief has showed me that bicycles are a very cost efficient way to change a whole lot of things in people’s lives to the good - be it on the way to school or work, be it as a means of transport or to feed an entire family. That’s why I’m happy to represent World Bicycle Relief with my start at the Cape Epic, raising the awareness for this aid organisation’s valuable work“, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå comments. As the general manager of the World Bicycle Relief Germany GmbH, Kristina Jasiunaite is looking forward to the commitment of both Dahle Flesjå and Stirnemann: „We are enthusiast to see this power duo advertise our mission and raise some funds for us at the Cape Epic in order to hand out bicycles to trainees and students in remote areas.“

For a couple of years, the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM has been a partner of World Bicycle Relief, giving the aid organisation and its logo a lot of added publicity. Just before christmas, the team has donated ten rugged Buffalo bikes to World Bicycle Relief. These will be brought to good use in Africa.