Multivan Merida Biking Team
Two 2nd places at the end of the season
Two 2nd places at the end of the season
At the finals of the crosscountry Worldcup in Méribel, France Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå netted the best result for the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM: The Norwegian finished in 2nd just like the men did in the overall team standings. José Hermida scored another top10 finish in the men's race by finishing in 10th.
*Due to technical issues this press release has been sent with a delay of one week. We apologise for any inconvenience and we have added a little preview regarding the World championships in Hafjell.*
The first rider to compete at the Worldcup finals for the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM was Julian Schelb in the men's under23 race. As he had gotten sick a week before the finals and only felt okay on Wednesday before the race, Schelb had set his own expectation a bit lower. Right after the start he managed to keep himself in the first group of chasers. But then he had to concede position by position to finish in 14th. "I was at the very limit all the time and had to hang on for sheer life. But at least I made it to the finish." In the overall standings of the under23 Worldcup Schelb finished in 11th.
The MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM fared a lot better in the women's race. Like all others, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå had no answer to the blistering starting pace of Jolanda Neff. But throughout the race the Norwegian was the first chaser of the young Swiss rider, thus keeping all her direct rivals for the Word championships in Hafjell in check. She also was stronger than the young Frenchwoman Pauline Ferrand-Prévôt who had previously won two Worldcup races.
"My shape is good, but I had some breathing problems, probably caused by the altitude. Because of that I had to be careful and keep controlled not to go too hard", Dahle Flesjå commented after the race that she finished in 2nd. "I'm happy with the result and of course I hope everything will be okay for the World championships." With her 2nd place-finish at the finals, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå moved up to 6th place in the Worldcup's overall standings.
As Thomas Litscher could not start due to an illness, the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM was down to three riders in the men's race. José Hermida was riding in the top10 from the very start, but had to concede a couple of positions in the end, finishing in 10th. Thus the Spaniard dropped to 7th in the Worldcup's overall standings. "Compared to the overseas' races the start was good today. But the course was really brutal on a hardtail, and I had to suffer. With two laps to go I went a bit too hard, and that has cost me a couple of positions."
Ondrej Cink had to start from a bit further back but still managed to move up to 15th. "But then I went a bit too hard and had some breathing problems", the Czech said after the race that he finished in 22nd. "The race was not good, but I needed it as a hard workout. And of course I hope I'll do better in Hafjell." Rudi van Houts had a good start and moved up into the top20. " I had quite a good felling, but I had to go at my own pace on this demanding course. Still I think this was a solid race", the Dutchman said after the race.
In the Worldcup's overall team standings the men of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM finish the season in 2nd place, scoring a nice success despite a whole number of setbacks in the second half of the season. While the mood at the Worldcup finals normally tends to be pretty exuberant, things were differently in Méribel. The reason was the terrible crash of young Dutch rider Annefleur Kalvenhaar that lead to her death - the first casualty in 24 years of Worldcup racing in the sport of mountain biking. The riders and the entire staff of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM offer their deepest condolences to the Focus XC team and the family and friends of Annefleur Kalvenhaar.
But life goes on and mountainbiking's UCI World championships will be held in Hafjell, Norway in the first week of September. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå has planned her entire season around these championships and hopes to crown her career with a 10th World championship title in front of a home crowd. In the men's race José Hermida is aiming at a top5 finish. Rudi van Houts has just won a race in the Netherlands this Sunday and is in a fine shape to get into the top20. Both Ondrej Cink and Julian Schelb as MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM's under23 rider have seen some setbacks throughout their Worldcup season. But these two riders are known to be at their best in championship races. After a root canal treatment, Thomas Litscher on the other hand is unlikely to get a top result.