Pregnant Dahle Flesjå to take off first half of 2009

Former mountain bike World Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå shared her happy news on Wednesday that...

Former mountain bike World Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå shared her happy news on Wednesday that she is pregnant and will have a baby next April. Dahle Flesjå will sit out the first races of the 2009 season and aims to make her return to competition at the Gunn-Rita-Marathon, which is dedicated to her and will take place in Montebelluno, northern Italy, on June 28.

"This happy news was confirmed during a visit to our doctor almost two weeks ago, when the ultrasound showed all to be well with the little one," said the 35-year-old Dahle Flesjå.

The Norwegian is coming off a restful October break from training. "I've started up with my winter training program again, and hope to get in some good exercise in the period until Christmas, naturally adjusting intensity according to how I feel and my growing tummy." Dahle Flesjå said she will draw from the information and experience of the Norwegian Olympic Federation for training pregnant athletes.

"With a normal pregnancy and birth, I would hope to be back on my bike and in full training again sometime in May. My first international race would then be the Gunn-Rita Marathon, but this will all depend on what shape I'm in after the birth. The European Championships and World Championships are right at the end of the season, in August/September, and we naturally aim to take part in these events."

"We believe this will give us an extra inspiration in our goal of a medal at the London Olympics in 2012," said Dahle Flesjå, who renewed her contract for another four years with the Multivan Merida team in mid-October.

"Gunn-Rita never made a secret about the fact that she would like to have a baby, so we always knew that this step could come," said team manager Andreas Rottler. "We are very happy for Gunn-Rita and we are sure that she is going to return to racing in the second half of the 2009 season fully motivated."

Dahle Flesjå and her husband Kenneth plan to rely on babysitting help from their families as she resumes training and racing after giving birth.

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