Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå’s career is unparalleled. For over 20 years she has been a part of mountain biking’s world elite, and the queen of mountain biking is hungry for more! After the demise of the Multivan Merida Team at the end of the 2016 season, Gunn-Rita has looked to continue cycling at the highest level. The Norwegian Merida distributor, Stians Sport AS took the opportunity and together with Merida offered Gunn-Rita the support to form a Norwegian UCI team for the next two seasons.
Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå’s career is completely unique: she began cycling for Stians Sport AS/Merida in 2002 and has been with the Multivan Merida Team from the beginning. Throughout her long career Gunn-Rita has won 10 World Championship titles, 8 European championships, and 29 World Cup races. She is the most successful World Cup mountain biker of all time.
Back to where it all started
For the upcoming two seasons, she will ride for her own team: Team Merida Gunn-Rita. Gunn-Rita will own and run the team in co-operation with Stians Sport AS, Merida and the Norwegian National Team. In 2001 Kenneth Flesjå took over as Gunn-Rita’s full-time coach and training partner and will continue under Team Merida Gunn-Rita. The team will be based in Norway.
Managing Director of Stians Sport AS, Stian Steen-Olsen is pleased with the continued partnership: “It’s great to be able to continue working with Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå for another two years. She is mountain biking’s most successful athlete of all time and a figurehead for Stians Sport AS and Merida as a brand. Her enthusiasm for the sport continues unabated, and the precision she shows in her work continues to be sensational, even after all these years.”
More Norwegian races on the schedule
Gunn-Rita will continue at the highest level for the next two seasons, with World Cups, the European Championships and the World Championships being her main targets. With a base in Sandnes, Norway, she will also be competing more regularly in Norway.
Gunn-Rita is looking forward to the new challenges the next two years will bring:
”I wish to pursue top level cycling for another 2 years, and I am pleased that I can continue with Merida. Kenneth and I are really committed, and nothing will come in the way of winning bike races. My winter training has so far gone as planned. We have made changes on the training front that feel right.”
“I feel a strong loyalty to Merida. They had faith and wanted to invest in me. I am proud of the journey we’ve been on together since January 2002 and all of my 19 international championship gold medals were won on Merida bikes. Stians Sport AS were the first Merida importer globally and remain one of the biggest. I am very proud to continue my career being part of the Merida family.”
This is Gunn-Rita!
Gunn-Rita has been a professional mountain biker since the autumn of 1995. She is one of Norway’s most successful athletes regardless of sport.
Throughout her 20 year long career, she has been crowned mountain biking’s most winning cyclist. She has won 28 international championship medals for Norway.
Gunn-Rita has been one the pioneers of women’s mountain biking both nationally and internationally. She has shaped the sport to what it is today. After her debut World Cup in 1995 it was clear this wasn’t the last we’d hear about the charismatic mountain biker from Bjørnheimsbygd in Strand, Norway.
During the following 20 years, Gunn-Rita made sport history and had repeated success winning gold at World Cup and World Championship level, most recently World Championship and World Cup gold in the 2015 season.
The last few years Gunn-Rita has combined life as a professional athlete and mother to Bjørnar (7). Together with her husband and trainer, Kenneth Flesjå, they have perfected the recipe needed for success.
2016 was a solid season for Gunn-Rita, but also brutal in many respects. At the World Championships in Nove Mesto she was knocked down right after the start. The injuries she sustained affected her training for several weeks, and also affected her preparation for the Olympics in Rio.
After the disappointment at the World Championships, Gunn-Rita and Kenneth decided to continue racing for two more seasons. In 2017 there will be full focus on XC MTB, but Gunn-Rita will also make time for some road cycling, hoping to qualify for the World Championships in Bergen at the end of September.