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Dahle-Flesjaa to decide her future in October

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Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway)

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The Grand Dames of MTB - Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway) and Sabine Spitz (Germany)

The Grand Dames of MTB - Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway) and Sabine Spitz (Germany) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway)

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway) (Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)

After finishing the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in her home country of Norway last weekend, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa said that she had not yet decided whether to keep racing.

Dahle-Flesjaa is best known for winning the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. She also is a four-time cross country world champion (2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006).

"It was fantastic to race the Worlds in front of so many fans, and the course turned out to be really good, but I'm a little disappointed as it was obviously not the result I wanted," said Dahle Flesjaa.

The Norwegian was going for a gold medal on home turf and had showed good form in recent weeks, but she just had an off day during the Worlds and finished in ninth place in the elite women's cross country race.

"I just had a terribly heavy day. Fortunately that doesn't happen often, but it's a shame that it happened during the world championship on home soil. I could feel it during the first lap already that it would be a day when I would fight with my head and not with my legs."

"I can't put a finger on why. I've been feeling good and had some easy days after the Meribel World Cup final and was doing what I planned to prepare for this. I felt good all week, but sometimes you have a day when nothing is working."

But the veteran racer kept her sense of humor when joking with reporters after the finish, "I think that if there's another Worlds in Norway, I'll be so old I'll be in the veteran class and not allowed to start."

In the meantime, she is figuring out whether to continue her career as pro.

"I will decide whether to keep racing in October," she said. "I need to have some discussions with Merida because my contract is running out. I hope I continue racing. I can't find any reason so far to stop."

"But it's not just me, it's also [my husband] Kenneth who puts everything into my goals. I need my whole family to be involved in the decision and I have to talk to the federation."

"I know very well what it takes and how I have to prepare and how many days I really have to put in to keep the top level," she said. "I don't want to do 90%. If I do more, I want to do it 100%."

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.