In the coming week, the Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2018 will begin with the 22nd edition of the Afxentia stage race. Two of the top stars have already fled the northern and eastern European winter and are enjoying the training conditions on the sunny Mediterranean island. Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa from Norway and the Ukraine’s Yana Belomoina are working on their shape in Cyprus.
Belomoina was the overall World Cup winner last season and thus a successor to Dahle-Flesjaa, who has won this title four times.
Belomoina has been in Cyprus since mid-January.
"The weather at home in Ukraine is not good for training in winter. Cyprus is much better," explains the 25-year-old.
"I've been training well in the last few weeks and I'm happy to now welcome the rest of my team CST Sandd American Eagle."
She is confident for the upcoming season. "Every year is a new challenge, new names, new surprises. I encounter everything with optimism and always want to deliver a good season”, said Belomoina.
Relaxation and a beautiful location
Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa has overcome a "hard winter" in Norway and has brought her whole family for her first week in Cyprus.
"We have winter holidays in Norway and so I took the chance to bring my son Bjørnar and my parents. It's nice to be back here”, explains the mountain bike legend.
From the Afxentia stage race this coming weekend, the boss of her own Merida team expects "good training in a beautiful location."
Due to health problems and bad weather in her hometown of Stavanger, she has not yet made any long endurance sessions.
"That's why I will not go to the limit in the races here in Cyprus. It's more about getting into competitive mode and feeling good on the race bike. Being here for longer means having more quiet days and more time to relax than at home."
Dates of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2018
February 22 to 25 Afxentia stage race (SHC)
March 3 Amathous (C1)