Race News

Ready for more great feats


Ready for more great feats

As in years before, MERIDA's media camp was an equally successful and impressive event. The MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM presented its new line-up for the first time. After a successful season 2013 team manager Fabian Aust continues to build on a balanced mix of routine and talent.

The MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM got to celebrate a couple of nice successes last year: By winning the marathon world championships Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå won her ninth rainbow jersey, José Hermida got a Bronze medal at the crosscountry world championships, the men won the team classification at two worldcup races and finished the season in 2nd position in the overall team standings. Add to that two second places in worldcup races by Ondrej Cink and José Hermida and national championship titles for these two riders and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå. At MERIDA's media camp in Mallorca the team presented its new line-up for the first time.

This was the right opportunity to get both portrait and action shots from all riders, and of course the vehicles of title sponsor VW Nutzfahrzeuge were duly put into the spotlight as well. The new rider of the team is Julian Schelb, the reigning under23 vice world champion. Thus after a one-year break the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM welcomes a German mountain bike professional in its ranks again. "By signing Julian Schelb, the team continues its drive to rejuvenate its line-up step by step", as team manager Fabian Aust explains. "This strategy has netted us some spectacular successes last year. Of course I'm convinced that Schelb's character is a superb fit for the team as well."

Thus the line-up of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM features six riders for the season ahead. At an age of 41 years, reigning world marathon champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå is not the least bit tired: The Norwegian has high ambitions to win her 10th world championships in 2014 in front of her home crowd. Another goal is a 29th race win in the worldcup, as that would make her the most successful athlete ever in the history of mountainbiking's worldcup. 35 year-old José Hermida is another experienced rider in the team, and the Spaniard intends to return to the kind of consistency that kept him within the top of the worldcup's overall standings for a full decade. At an age of 30 years, Rudi van Houts managed to score the first top10 finish of his career in a worldcup race, a feat he wants to repeat in 2014. On top of that, the Dutchman wants to compete for the podium at the marathon world championships to be held in South Africa.

Ondrej Cink was the biggest sensation of last year, finishing the season in 5th both in the worldcup's overall standings and in the world ranking. No wonder the young Czech wants to confirm the strong performances that he had shown in his first elite season. Having overcome persistent saddle soreness issues, Thomas Litscher is back to his old strength and a steady contender for a podium result. And with Julian Schelb the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM now also has a top rider in the under23 class. "By gradually rejuvenating the team's line-up, MERIDA is setting things up for the future, stressing the long-term character of its commitment to the sport", adds Andreas Rottler, director of sports marketing, pointing at another specialty: "It's all but common that a brand gets to present two world champions at its media camp, and this is a result of our long-term oriented work."

Just like last year, the athletes of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM get to choose from three MERIDA frames made of carbon fibres: Apart from the hardtails "Big.Nine" and "Big.Seven" (for 27.5 inch wheels) the fully-suspended "Big.Ninety-Nine" is also at the team's disposal. Last season Ondrej Cink had been proving repeatedly and impressively that this bike is a true and thoroughbred winner. Consistency is the name of the game regarding the key part suppliers as well: Sram, Rock Shox, Prologo and Fulcrum all continue to provide the team with their latest parts and technologies in order to pave the way to further success.

The riders of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM made good use of the media camp to log some long training rides and get ready for the season ahead. They also mingled with the MERIDA distributors and retailers and the journalists for less fast-paced rides. At the end of February the riders will head over to Cyprus for the Sunshine Cup, their first race of the season 2014. Pictures from MERIDA's media camp and the presentation about the team's bicycles are ready for download on MERIDA's media server.