Multivan Merida's Jose Antonio Hermida ended his World Cup season last weekend as he began it - with a victory. On Saturday, Hermida won the elite men's cross country race in Schladming, Austria. His result was good enough to secure him a second place in the overall World Cup Series.
"With this race, we can say the season is over. It's a year I consider the best in my career. I only won a silver at the European Championships, but it is the first time I've won two World Cups in the same year," said Hermida, who also won the Spanish National Championships after riding to victory in the World Cup opener in South Africa in April.
In Schladming, Hermida was part of an initial lead group of 10 riders. World Cup overall winner Julien Absalon (Orbea) launched an attack and got a 10-second gap over the rest, but he couldn't make it stick.
"Just as my teammate Ralph Näf broke his chain, Absalon attacked. I took responsibility and pushed hard to keep him from getting more of a gap." Eventually Hermida reeled the former world champion back in.
"I was feeling strong on the uphills. I was trying to conserve energy so I could attack him. After regaining his wheel, I passed him and went hard at the front. I got a gap that gradually grew." Hermida would go on for a solo win with a 30-second advantage over compatriot Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Orbea) and 1:26 over Swiss racer Mathias Flückiger (Trek World Racing).
"There are two keys to winning a race: not making mistakes and winning the psychological war," he explained. "I worked hard on both this weekend, but mainly it was a psychological battle."
After his win, Hermida was congratulated by mountain bike legend, Thomas Frischknecht, who informed Hermida that he'd won the shortest-ever World Cup round with his finish time of just over one hour and forty minutes.
Hermida can also claim that he is a member of the world's best team after this weekend when Multivan Merida clinched a team win in the World Cup final standings.
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