The Multivan Merida Mountain Bike Team launched its 2010 squad at its team presentation on the island of Majorca. For the new season, its riders have their sights set on recapturing the World Championship title.
Norwegian Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå intends to return to the ranks of the elite cross country women after having a baby son in 2009. Already one of the most successful mountain bikers of all times, she is on the verge of breaking two more records.
She's only two wins short of breaking Juliana Furtado's record of 28 World Cup victories. Additionally, she could become the first mother to finish on the podium of an international mountain bike race. "I do not have very specific goals on which places I want to finish in. Of course, making the podium at international competitions seems a realistic goal, but first of all I prefer to see how I perform in the first races," said Dahle Flesjå.
Spain's José Hermida and Switzerland's Ralph Näf are more precise when asked about their ambitions: their prime focus is on the World Championships in Mont Sainte-Anne, Canada, where both are considered as top contenders for the title.
No wonder team manager Andreas Rottler confirms the claim to win the World championship:
"The team wants to win at least one rainbow jersey, that's a clear target," said Andreas Rottler. "Apart from the cross country World Championships, the long-distance races are also of high importance.
"Since I like the Worlds course, reconquering the marathon World championship title is both an important and realistic goal for me," said Ralph Näf.
The Multivan Merida Biking Team will start racing this weekend in Tuscany. After that, José Hermida, Rudi van Houts, Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler will head to South Africa for the Cape Epic stage race.
A bit later, the team will start its World Cup season on the 2012 Olympic Games course in Dalby Forest, England.
2010 Multivan Merida Biking Team
Gunn-Rita-Dahle Flesjå, Norway (cross country, marathon)
José Hermida, Spain (cross country)
Ralph Näf, Switzerland (cross country, marathon)
Moritz Milatz, Germany (cross country, marathon)
Rudi van Houts, Netherlands (cross country)
Jochen Käß, Germany (cross country, marathon)
Hannes Genze, Germany (marathon, stage races)
Andreas Kugler, Switzerland (marathon, stage races)