Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå on the mend

Top cross-country mountain biker plans return to racing after illness

Multiple world mountain bike champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå (Multivan-Merida) is expected to make a return to racing soon after being sidelined by illness.

According to an announcement on her website, Dahle Flesjå was given permission to start training again earlier this month after undergoing treatment for a stomach infection.

The 34-year-old from Norway was third in her last race, the UCI world cup cross-country in Offenburg, Germany, May 27. It was an uncharacteristically low placing for a rider who usually makes the top two steps of the podium, and shortly afterwards she announced an extended break.

“I have had diarrhoea and stomach pains for a good two weeks now, and my body is being sapped of steadily more energy every day,” Dahle Flesjå said in an announcement on June 4.

Dahle Flesjå’s teamn manager, Andreas Rottler said that exactly when Dahle Flesjå returns to racing was “not a priority right now. Instead, her health is by far more important to us, so she must not expose herself to racing-induced stress too early.”

It’s not the first time Dahle Flesjå has taken a break for health reasons. Her career almost ended in 2000 when overtraining from racing on the road the previous year and an excessive workload in preparation for the Sydney Olympics put her off the bike for months.

Since then, she has focused entirely on mountain biking and has become arguably the most dominant female cross-country racer ever. Her record includes Olympic gold in Athens 2004, four cross-country world championships (2002, 2004-6), three marathon world championships (20004-6), four world cup series titles (2002-6) and countless world cup victories.

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