Race News

Van Houts meets criteria for Olympics


Van Houts meets criteria for Olympics

At the European cross country championships in Lamosano di Chies d’Alpago, Italy the athletes of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM missed out on the medals. At least by finishing in 10th Rudi van Houts managed to meet his national federation’s nomination criteria for the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.

For the second time after 2006 the European cross country championships were held in the mountain village of Lamosano Chies d’Alpago in the Veneto region. The athletes of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM were facing a demanding course with steep climbs and some technical descents. Due to the tight competition schedule both Ondrej Cink and Thomas Litscher decided not to compete at the continental championships. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå on the other hand was considered to be a medal contender after consecutive wins at Lenzerheide’s worldcup race and the Norwegian national championships. As for the men, Rudi van Houts, José Hermida and Julian Schelb all had more modest ambitions.

When Europe’s fastest women in cross country mountainbiking lined up for their European championship race the temperatures were reaching 30° Centigrade. Other than in Lenzerheide MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM’s Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå could not match the pace of young Swiss rider Jolanda Neff, finishing the race in 6th. „I had felt a bit heavy all week before the race, and so today I was fighting and suffering from the first pedal stroke. But I survived and even managed to have some fun in the downhills. Now we’ve got two big races coming up in Canada and the United States, and hopefully I will feel a bit fitter and fresher by then“, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå commented after having finished the race.

In the men’s race five riders set off at the first tight and technical section of the course. While they managed to stay on their bikes, all the others had to dismount and push their bikes. Thus the top5 positions were gone, and the riders of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM had missed out on this decisive moment. Still Rudi van Houts made the best of the situation, staying with the first group of chasers for quite a while. As the first rider of his national team in the team relay race, the Dutchman had already shown that he was fast on this course, posting a fast time. „It’s a shame that I had to let the group with Näf and Tempier go after a small mistake in a descent. Still it was a good race, and by finishing 10th I have met the selection criteria of my national federation for the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro“, Rudi van Houts said.

José Hermida missed out on the preliminary decision as well. This did not come as a surprise for himself as he still lacks some punch and freshness to keep up with the pace of the fastest riders in the enormously fast start phase. „I’m not in top shape and therefore cannot follow the pace of the fast train up front. But I’m building my shape step by step, and my legs felt better in the finale of today’s race than at the beginning of the season. With the two overseas worldcup races there are two more important races on the way to my main target for this season, the World championships to be held in Andorra“, José Hermida explained after having finished the race in 14th. With Julian Schelb a third athlete of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM got an opportunity to compete at the European Championships. But the young German had to settle for 50th place.