Three team riders competing at Rio Olympics

On the closing weekend of Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic games the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM will be represented by no less than three of its athletes in the cross country races. While José Hermida and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå are looking forward to their fifth Olympic games, it will be the second Olympic participation for their team mate Ondrej Cink. All three athletes will be competing at the Olympic Mountain Bike Centre with quite some ambitions.

 

 

Every four years the Olympic games are an undisputed highlight and a cornerstone in planning their careers for the world’s best cross country racers. As only 50 men and 30 women get the chance to compete for Olympic medals on the circuit built into the Olympic X-Park, riders have to fight hard to be allowed to compete. For the athletes of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, the qualification process was very different: Due to him winning the Bronze medal at last year’s World championships, Ondrej Cink got his Olympic ticket as early as last fall. He confirmed his status as one of his country’s fastest riders by finishing in 2nd at the Czech national championships last weekend. Things were quite similar for Gunn-RIta Dahle Flesjå: As she’s the only Norwegian mountain biker to compete in cross country on an international level, her status as an Olympic starter was more or less undisputed. The official confirmation of the Norwegian federation was taken on May 30th. José Hermida on the other hand had to fight hard in the Worldcup races held in la Bresse and Lenzerheide and at the Spanish national championships to secure one of the three tickets the Spanish federation could hand out to its athletes.

 

For Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå the Olympic games will be the second highlight of her season. At the World championships in Nove Mesto, the figurehead of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKNG TEAM had to bury all ambitions after only 300 meters of racing and a hard crash that was not her fault. From there she fully focussed on the Olympic games: «I’m very excited and I do look forward to the coming weeks of work where we want to prepare for a strong and good race in Brazil on August 20th», the Norwegian reflects ahead of what will be her fifth Olympic games. Another athlete to participate in his fifth Olympic games - a feat rarely achieved by any athletes - is José Hermida. «The Spanish federation had to select three riders from a group of five strong athletes. I’m thankful, proud and satisfied to be competing in Rio de Janeiro. Now I want to say farewell to the Olympic games with a strong performance, proving that selecting me was no mistake. Until the men’s race on August 21st I will focus on improving my start. And if that works out, a top10 result is absolutely realistic», José Hermida looks ahead.

 

The third athlete of the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM to compete in Rio de Janeiro is Ondrej Cink. With a fourth place at the World championships in Nove Mesto and a second place at the Czech national championships after a nail-biter of a duel with reigning Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy, Cink has been fine-tuning his form recently, closing in on his best potential. «I want to fight for a medal in Rio de Janeiro: Finishing inside the top3 is my clear-cut target», Ondrej Cink comments on his ambitions. The circuit of the Olympic mountain bike race stretches over a distance of 4.85 kilometers and features multiple rock gardens and some elements borrowed from Worldcup tracks. As the three team riders will receive bikes painted in MERIDA’s distinctive green for the Olympic cross country races, it will be easy to detect them during the race.