Ondrej Cink wins Bronze at European champs in Sweden

At the European crosscountry championships Ondrej Cink finished on the podium in third. In the team relay race, MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM’s Czech rider missed out on another Bronze medal by just one place, posting the fastest lap time of the entire race.



In an Olympic year many things are different in the sport of mountainbiking. The European crosscountry championships held in Jönköping, Sweden this weekend were no exception to this rule. In other years only a small part of the sport’s elite competes at the continental championships. But in an Olympic year every point for the world rankings is highly welcome - be it for individual riders or for their national federations that still hope to get an extra ticket for the Olympic races. For this reason the starting lists of the European championship races were full of big names. From the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM’s perspective Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, José Hermida and Ondrej Cink were competing in Jönköping.


The organizers of the European championships hat set out quite a demanding crosscountry course: Three lengthy climbs and 200 vertical meters of ascending were waiting over a lap distance of 4.2 kilometers, and these climbs proved to make a real difference on race day. As the first race of the European championships, the team relay was raced on Thursday, and the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM fielded only one rider with Ondrej Cink. As the last rider of the Czech team, he headed into his race lap in 6th place. From there Cink showed a fine sample of his class: Clocking the fastest lap time of all riders on the day, he passed both the last rider of the British and the Spanish team and moved up to 4th place.


In the women’s race Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå had an off-day and therefore never was a factor in the fight for the medals. Nevertheless the Norwegian decided to finish the race and crossed the finish line in 10th. „Seen my planning for the season, I could not expect to do well here today. But I’m not worried, things should be different in two weeks’ time for the Albstadt round of the Worldcup“, Dahle Flesjå explained after the race. Another experienced rider of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM who never was in contention for a strong result was José Hermida. He finished the men’s race in 13th and commented as follows: „My weak point is still the start. I’m not explosive enough there and lose to many positions. I managed to move up in the following five laps, but due to this effort I could not attack on the final lap anymore.“


Ondrej Cink delivered the weekend’s highlight from the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM’s perspective. The Czech rider could not match the pace set by the later winner Julien Absalon and Fabian Giger, but Cink won the fight for third place. Being a fair sportsman, he admitted that he needed some luck in doing so: „I went out too hard on the first two laps and had to slow down a bit after that. In the finale I could ride full gas again, but still Lukas Flückiger passed me on the second ascent of the final lap. But he took too big risks on the following descent and crashed, handing over 3rd place to me“, Cink said after the race. „The hot and sunny weather and lots of climbing all were in my favour today, and I’m really happy with the Bronze medal.“   


European championships XCO 2016, Huskvarna-Jönköping, Sweden

Results men elite (XCO):

1. Julien Absalon, FRA, in 1:35.34 hours

2. Fabian Giger, SUI, + 1.41