One-two punch from Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå on Cyprus

At the Afxentia stage race on Cyprus the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM could once again count in Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå: The Norwegian won the fourth and final stage of the race - thus securing the overall victory. In the men’s overall standings José Hermida finished in 6th place.

 

 

At first things did not look all that good for the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM at the Afxentia stage race on Cyprus: Ondrej Cink, Thomas Litscher and Julian Schelb all were suffering from a cold in the week before the race, keeping them from training at full intensity. Because of this team manager Fabian Aust’s expectations were not too big. Despite the reduced training Ondrej Cink showed a decent performance in the opening individual time trial, finishing in 11th. In the women’s race Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå posted the 6th fastest time. The next day saw a first lengthy point-to-point stage, and after a fine race José Hermida crossed the finish line in 9th. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå complained about bad legs and not being able to put enough pressure on the pedals on the climbs. So the Norwegian opened up the brakes on the descents, reaching the finish in 4th.

 

In the men’s race, José Hermida was the only rider of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM who managed to stay with the first, large group of chasers on the second long point-to-point stage. The Spaniard did not contest the sprint for 3rd place and crossed the finish line in 11th place. In the women’s race things were very similar for Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå as the day before: She could not follow her fastest rivals on the long ascents, but she was descending so quickly that she still finished the stage in 3rd - just ten seconds off the 2nd place. The final stage of the race was a crosscountry race held in Macheras. With an 11th place José Hermida repeated the result of the day before, putting him in 6th place in the overall standings of the Afxentia stage race. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå started the race 2min55 down on the overall leader, but she had something left the tank and showed a strong finale.

 

After she had succeeded to chop off a full minute of her deficit on the first lap, Dahle Flesjå went all-out: Lap after lap she managed to extend her lead, getting exact informations regarding her lead from the side of the course. As she went into the final lap she already was the virtual overall leader, and this did not change anymore. On the contrary Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå powered on to win the stage with an advantage of more than two minutes, winning the overall as well. «The long climbs on the point-to-point stages were not in my favor, but I started to feel better day by day. And since my husband Kenneth kept me updated on the exact time gaps throughout the race, I went full gas - and that was enough not only for the stage win, but also for the overall. Yup, I’m very happy!»

 

Cyprus Sunshine Cup: Afxentia Stage Race

XCO Macheras, result women:

1. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, NOR/MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, in 1:37.05 hours

2. Sabine Spitz, GER, + 2.04

3. Elisabeth Brandau, GER, + 2.13

 

Overall women:

1. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, NOR/MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, in 6:21.51 hours

2. Adelheid Morath, GER, + 0.38

3. Githa Michiels, BEL, + 3.52