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Former Olympic champ Dahle Flesjå hopes to race again in Rio

Despite a disastrous race at the London Olympic Games, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå (Norway) has indicated that she may compete in Rio in 2016. The 39-year-old mountain biker, and 2004 Olympic champion, crashed in the opening stages of today's race in Hadleigh Farm, Essex. After a brave performance to continue, a puncture later in the race effectively ended her medal chances and she soon abandoned.

"I crashed on that first rocky section in the beginning, so that really destroyed the whole race in many ways. I never got back in my kind of working zone at all," she said after the race.

"Stupid mistakes sometimes happen. The worst start that you could ever imagine happened, but that's the case, and then I struggled to get back. I'm in super shape, but kind of over paced myself a little bit because I wanted to catch up what I lost in the beginning. And then, when I punctured I just thought, 'Well this is just the day that everything goes the wrong way and nothing is with me.'"

Dahle Flesjå is the only female mountain biker to compete at every Olympic Games since the disciple was included in 1996 in Atlanta.

"There have been a lot of changes, of course, especially with the bikes. In Atlanta in 1996, the bikes were 12.5kg, in Athens it was 10.4kg, and now we have bigger bikes, but they are only 8.5kg. In the equipment, there is a huge difference, and in the level."

"I know I'm one of the top contenders when it comes to shape right now, because I've been winning big races this season [Dahle Flesjå won two World Cups this season and the European championships. - Ed.]. I was not in there today because of shit happening in the beginning, but I think the level is not that much higher. There are several girls that can fight for the top three and we saw a little bit of that today."

Before departing for the showers, Dahle Flesjå, who races for Multivan Merida, was asked if she hoped to compete in Rio de Janeiro.

"I hope so, I love my job, so yes."

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Daniel Benson
Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.