Dahle-Flesjaa wins marathon world championship

Norwegian rider earns her fifth title

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå (Norway) won the ninth world championship title of her career on Saturday afternoon at the UCI Marathon World Championships in Kirchberg, Austria. It was her fifth career marathon world title. Sally Bigham (Great Britain) earned the silver medal while Esther Süss (Switzerland) got the bronze.

The women raced 85km with 3700m of climbing.

Only a few kilometers into the race, two Norwegians Kristin Aamodt and Borghild Loevset set a blistering pace, setting the stage for Dahle Flesjå's attack on the first climb, where she rode away from everyone.

"Out tactic was clear: I wanted to place a full-on attack on the first, 7km long climb up to the Choralpe, as the pure marathon specialists usually need a bit more time to find their rhythm," said Dahle Flesjå.

"This tactic worked out perfectly. I managed to get away from all the others and control the rest of the race from the leading position."

Upon reaching the Choralpe, Dahle Flesjå had already had put almost two minutes on her closest chaser, Bigham.

This lead shrunk to 30 seconds at times, and the Norwegian had to dig deep. "The course was extreme, and the steady ups and downs were really exhausting, so the whole race was a cliff hanger. But I knew that my competitors were suffering just as much, so I focused on eating as much as possible in order not to run out of fuel in these cold conditions."

On the last descent back to the finish, Dahle Flesjå gave it all she had. After a bit more than four and a half hours, she arrived in Kirchberg with a lead of almost four minutes.

"Winning this title, my fifth in the marathon format, was one of my main objectives for this season. I decided not to compete at the European Cross Country Championships to be at my best here," said Dahle Flesjå.

"When I saw that I had the number 40, I thought that's probably a good sign. Some years ago, I set the goal to be the first lady to win a gold medal at the worlds while 40 years old. To make this real is unbelievable, really."

Dahle Flesjå is currently 40 years old. Last season, she equaled an old record of 28 World Cup wins, set by Juliana Furtado in the 1990s. Her remaining major career goal is to break the record.

Defending marathon champion Annika Langvad (Denmark) finished fourth. She was not quite back to full health after a recent cold.

"The race went so much better than I expected. I've been struggling with a cold for one and a half weeks," said Langvad. "Due to that, I skipped the European championships and focused on this race. I got various treatments and recovered a lot during this week. I think I got the best out of the day and out of my body today."

"The long climbs were really tough. I think if you have a lot of endurance, it's beneficial on a course like this. It was a fun course because 95% was almost straight gravel, but the last 7km were a really technical descent. When you were really tired after racing for four hours, you had to do the most technical part of the race. For me, that worked out perfectly. In my preparations for the race, during training, I mostly focused on the last part because I knew you had to be sharp on it."

Full Results

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway)4:35:30 
2Sally Bigham (Great Britain)0:03:48 
3Esther Süss (Switzerland)0:07:19 
4Annika Langvad (Denmark)0:11:26 
5Blaza Klemencic (Slovenia)0:12:33 
6Tereza Hurikova (Czech Republic)0:12:57 
7Ariane Kleinhans (Switzerland)0:17:05 
8Michalina Ziolkowska (Poland)0:19:00 
9Daniela Veronesi (Italy)0:23:46 
10Elisabeth Osl (Austria)0:24:47 
11Elena Gaddoni (Italy)0:26:46 
12Borghild Lovset (Norway)0:27:02 
13Milena Landtwing (Switzerland)0:27:36 
14Sabine Sommer (Austria)0:28:34 
15Catherine Hare Willianson (Great Britain)0:31:16 
16Jane Nussli (Great Britain)0:31:23 
17Pavlina Sulcova (Czech Republic)0:37:12 
18Ekateryna Anoshina (Russian Federation)0:37:39 
19Robyn De Groot (South Africa)0:39:00 
20Katrin Leumann (Switzerland)0:39:16 
21Fanny Bourdon (France)0:39:24 
22Almut Grieb (Germany)0:39:31 
23Mary Mcconneloug (United States Of America)0:40:15 
24Alice Pirard (Belgium)0:41:16 
25Ann Katrin Hellstern (Germany)0:41:35 
26Samantha Sanders (South Africa)0:45:01 
27Inne Gantois (Belgium)0:45:16 
28Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden)0:45:36 
29Mailin Franke (Germany)0:48:04 
30Alexandra Clement (Switzerland)0:51:11 
31Andrea Kirsic (Croatia)0:52:55 
32Laura Lorenza Morfin Macouzet (Mexico)0:55:56 
33Emmy Thelberg (Sweden)0:57:06 
34Bettina Uhlig (Germany)0:59:05 
35Kristin Aamodt (Norway)1:00:21 
36Magdalena Sadlecka (Poland)1:01:05 
37Celina Carpinteiro (Portugal)1:03:42 
38Regina Genser (Germany)1:05:18 
39Veronica Leal Balderas (Mexico)1:08:06 
40Stefanie Germany Hadraschek-Joche (Germany)1:08:20 
41Michele Wittlin (Switzerland)1:08:24 
42Helle Denmark Qvortrup Bachmann (Denmark)1:10:16 
43Christina Verhas (Austria)1:18:12 
44Andrea Juhasova (Slovakia)1:23:31 
45Annette Griner (Germany)1:24:20 
46Eszter Dosa (Hungary)1:24:37 
47Sandrine Ponsard (France)1:30:11 
48Anita Orosz (Hungary)1:41:25 
49Zuzana Juhasova (Slovakia)1:43:58 
50Rachel Fenton (Great Britain)1:45:59 
51Liliana Alejandra Uzcategui Vasquez (Venezuela)1:46:00 
52Ana Teresa Wulff (Argentina)1:55:14 
53Veronika Cseh (Hungary)1:59:52 
54Magdalena Halajczak (Poland)2:52:56 
55Irem Aslan (Turkey)3:25:48 
DNFSofia Pezzatti (Switzerland)  
DNFKristina Weber (Germany)  
DNFIsabelle Klein (Luxembourg)  
DNFAlexandra Engen (Sweden)  
DNFKim Saenen (Belgium)  
DNFSophie Giovane (France)  


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