Gunn-Rita diary: A return to the top

Former World Champion Dahle Flesjaa goes to the front early

Former World Champion Dahle Flesjaa goes to the front early (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/

The [Madrid World Cup] race was a fight right up to the very last metre. Blood, sweat and tears are an integral part of our sport, but my comeback to the world elite last Sunday was an experience I will never forget, for quite different reasons. Many people deserve a part of my World Cup victory last Sunday. And the bet I made with Kenneth before my triumph is guaranteed to be a spectacular séance…

It's the European Championships in Zurich in 2002, our first gold medal in the European Championships and a real comeback after a lot of troubles in 2000-2001, which has always stood out as our most important victory throughout my whole career. It was also the first ever international title for Merida. This powerful experience now has a rival in what we managed to accomplish last Sunday [May 4] in Madrid. It felt like the shout of victory as I crossed the finish line came from very deep within me - a mixture of joy, euphoria, frustration, anger and passion. Kenneth described it as a heavy weight having been removed from his shoulders.

During the preceding week, the exercise program went as planned, and through the last days before the race my legs felt lighter and quicker than they had in a long time. As usual, I was nervous and excited. I was very much looking forward to the race in Madrid, since I have many good memories from exactly this race track, where I also won in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

I'm not going to write a long description of how I completed the race, all the mental preparation which lay behind what I accomplished and what tactics Kenneth and I had planned beforehand. My competitors are probably reading these lines too, so I'll have to save all that for the book I'll be writing this autumn. But in the end it was a totally fair duel between me and Canadian [Marie] Premont, which was decided in the final hundred metres in the stadium and at the finish line.

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