Optimism despite a lack of top results

With Ondrej Cink, José Hermida and Thomas Litscher the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM only fielded three of its five riders at the Worldcup opener in Cairns, Australia. Despite the lack of top results there’s plenty of reason for optimism.

 

 

After a lengthy preparation phase the Worldcup opener in Cairns, Australia signaled the real start to the Olympic season. The athletes were facing tropical heat and a fast course with some technical sections and not a whole lot of opportunities for passing maneuvers. From the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM’s perspective Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå and Julian Schelb had decided to skip the long trip to Australia. Thus the team was only competing in the men’s race with Ondrej Cink, José Hermida and Thomas Litscher. Cink was very optimistic before the race, as the Czech rider had travelled to Cairns in top shape and with high ambitions. 

But only 400 meters into the men’s race two riders tangled and crashed right behind Ondrej Cink, and this damaged the rear derailleur of Cink’s bike. MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM’s Czech rider was forced to make it to the tech zone for repair works and was sent back into the race as the dead last rider with a disadvantage of three minutes. When he started to move up in the standings, the many narrow sections without a lot of opportunities to pass other riders turned out to be a problem. Due to this, Ondrej Cink only managed to move up to 38th place, but he’s confident regarding the next couple of races. „I’m sure I could have finished within the top10 or even the top5 without all these issues in the first lap“, Cink commented after the race. 

 

José Hermida went through a true race to forget: Hehad already been struggling with allergy issues before traveling to Australia, and his start into the Worldcup opener in Cairns was not good either. When the experienced Spaniard tried to move up in the race he crashed hard, and in the final lap he also suffered a flat tire. Thus he could do no better than finishing in 42nd. Thomas Litscher as the third rider of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM fared way better, heading into the race from a lowly 52nd position. The Swiss rider started an impressive chase and steadily worked his way up in the standing throughout the first half of the race, but that effort got him to the limits of his capacity. „As a consequence I had no choice but to slow down a bit and drink plenty before giving it all on the final lap again, finishing in 22nd“, as Litscher explained at the finish. The fact that he only lost one minute to 10th place is a good reason to be confident, however.