With just two weeks to go until the Olympic Games mountain bike race, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå not only showed that she was in fine form, but also made history by equaling the World Cup win record of Juli Furtado. Dahle Flesjå won the Val d'Isere round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on Saturday.
The veteran Norwegian dictated the pace in the women's race from the very start, riding away from her competition in the first 10 minutes and continuing for victory - the 28th World Cup win of her career.
Furtado dominated the sport of mountain biking in the 1990s before she had to end her career after getting the auto immune disease Lupus.
"I may have won my first World Cup race 16 years ago, but it's still something special to win such a race. And of course I am proud to have just as many victories as Furtado now," said Dahle Flesjå.
Winning this weekend was not easy for Multivan Merida's Dahle Flesjå, though, as a thunderstorm the night before the race had quite an effect on the race course. The grass sections were deep and energy-sapping, the descents were really slippery and therefore pretty tricky. Despite these conditions, Dahle Flesjå only got into trouble once, however. On the second-to-last lap, she lost a part of her lead when she almost crashed. But as the Norwegian kept her cool, she managed bring her lead back to what it had been and ride to a solo victory.
"This was an almost perfect race. Of course, I had expected to be doing well, and this gives a lot of self-confidence for the Olympic race," Dahle Flesjå said. By winning at the finals, the Norwegian also moved up to second in the World Cup's overall standings.
Dahle Flesjå raced at the very first Olympic Games with mountain biking in 1996. She won a gold medal in Athens in 2004.
The Norwegian will not have a chance to exceed Furtado's record until 2013 because there are no more World Cups left in this 2012 season.