After claiming her 30th career World Cup victory this summer at Vallnord, Andorra, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå has announced her retirement from racing.
The Norwegian cross country racer’s list of achievements as she retires is staggering. Among the most notable in her extensive palmares, Dahle has an Olympic gold medal from the 2004 games in Athens, Greece, four world championship XCO titles between 2002 and 2006, including three consecutive titles from 2004-2006. Six more rainbow jerseys were added to her collection at the XC Marathon world championships, bringing her total to 10 world championship gold medals. The last of these came at XCM worlds in Selva Val Gardena, Italy in 2015.
Dahle holds a record 30 career World Cup victories. Julien Absalon, the French cross country racer, is currently the only other rider to surpass 30 World Cup wins with 33. In earning her 30 wins, Dahle won an incredible four straight World Cup overall titles between 2003 and 2006.
Dahle’s career stands out for more than her extensive victories. The longevity of the Norwegian’s career has helped redefine the possibilities for how long a rider can compete at the elite level of sport. Her first career World Cup wins came in 1996, when she won the Hawaii, U.S. and Kristiansand, Norway rounds. Her final victory in Vallnord, Andorra this year was a full 22 years after the those first wins.
The 45-year-old mother will continue to be involved in mountain biking, traveling to promote the sport and share her experiences from a long and illustrious career. Details of Dahle’s future plans are set to be announced in the coming weeks.