Multivan Merida sitting pretty in dirt World Cup

José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Multivan Merida Biking Team) opened his World Cup season with a win.

José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Multivan Merida Biking Team) opened his World Cup season with a win. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

With the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup season halfway finished, the Multivan Merida Team is happily sitting atop the team cross country standings. With four races complete, the team can boast four podium finishes, including a win.

The team has fielded some of the few riders who've been able to challenge Olympic Champion Julien Absalon, who is leading the individual World Cup standings. José Hermida won the opening World Cup in South Africa. In subsequent rounds, Ralph Näf took over the roll of Absalon's challenger. Both in Houffalize and in Madrid, Näf and Absalon fought a tough battle, with Absalon victorious in both rounds.

Another team rider making a name for himself is Germany's Moritz Milatz who climbed on a World Cup podium for the very first time in Madrid with a third place.

With a break in the cross country World Cups, many of the team's riders will turn their attention to marathons. Hannes Genze has already won the Riva's Bike Marathon Garda Trentino, for example.

Away from the racing scene, Cyclingnews diarist Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå has started training again after giving birth to her first child, son Bjørnar. She is planning to return to racing for the second half of the season.

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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.