José Hermida on the podium at home race

The International Copa Catalana Internacional’s race in Banyoles, José Hermida showed a strong performance and improving form: MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM’s routinier was setting the pace for a long time and finally lost the sprint for 2nd place by a narrow margin.


With a sixth place in the overall standings of the Afxentia stage race held on Cyprus, José Hermida showed that his build-up for the Olympic season was right on track. To further im prove his form the routinier had decided to return from Cyprus early, deciding not the compete at the Voroklini race. Last Sunday the first race of the Copa Catalana Internacional held in Banyoles showed that this had been the right decision. The list of starters in the men’s race was close to that of a Worldcup race, and the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM fielded its entire men’s team in Spain with José Hermida, Ondrej Cink, Thomas Litscher and Julian Schelb in order to get into a racing rhythm in March. Both Litscher and Schelb were still feeling the consequences of the illness that had slowed them down on Cyprus, not being able to follow the pace of the fastest riders.

Ondrej Cink on the other hand did not find the kind of course that favors his strengths. So narrowly finishing in the top10 with a 10th place was a decent result for him seen the strong competition. But it was up to the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM’s routinier to make team manager Fabian Aust’s day. In front of a loud home crowd José Hermida showed a strong race: He kept the speed up from the very start of the race and forced an early selection. Soon it became clear that only four riders were still in contention for the win. Apart from Hermida these were the three Frenchmen Julien Absalon, Hugo Drechou and Victor Koretzky. On the penultimate lap Julien Absalon as Hermida’s most prominent opponent could not follow the speed of the leaders anymore. „In the final lap I went for the win with a 30 second all out attack. Unfortunately I only managed to get rid of Drechou, but not of Koretzky“, José Hermida commented after the race.

The race was decided by the young Frenchman’s counter, and José Hermida conceded 2nd place in a sprint against Drechou. By finishing in 3rd Hermida made it to the podium and was fully content with this result: „I already felt well at the Afxentia stage race on Cyprus, but that was not as tough a test as a pure crosscountry race. It’s great to be able to participate in the fight and decide the strategy throughout the race, riding in the lead in front of such an enthusiast crowd. On the final lap I could not avoid conceding a small gap that I could not close anymore. But I’m very happy with the evolution of my form.“ In the run-up to the first race of the Worldcup the riders of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM will compete at the Italian crossountry series’ race in Milano and the first race of the Swiss Cup.

Copa Catalana Internacional, Banyoles (Spanien)
Resultat Männer:
1. Victor Koretzky, FRA, in 1:38.06 Stunden
2. Hugo Drechou, FRA, + 0.18
3. José Antonio Hermida, ESP/MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, + 0.19