Niels Albert knew right away something was wrong when his wrist hurt badly and he could hardly move it. Right in the midst of the busiest part of the cyclo-cross season, the Belgian champion was hit by a car whilst training, and will now miss several weeks of competition.
Albert was training on the road with teammae Radomir Simunek when he collided with a moving car. “Through an evasive manoeuver, I bumped against the mirror,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “I fell and immediately it was clear that something was wrong. My left wrist was very painful and I could hardly move it.”
The diagnosis was a crack in the trapezium bone, requiring at least two weeks of a plaster cast.
It was not immediately clear how long he might be out of racing. “This can sometimes be a very nasty injury," said his manager Christoph Roodhooft. “You need a wrist during 'cross. You have to steer, turn, absorb. He will probably have the cast for two weeks. The key question is: how long until he can race again? We have no idea.” He estimated that Albert would not be able to start riding again for four weeks.
“Of course this is misery,” said Albert. “I had already said in September that I first wanted to peak in late November.”
The injury couldn't have come at worse time. Albert had been leading the Superprestige series, but stands to lose that ranking. He will miss at least two double weekends of racing in the various series, Hasselt-Gavere (November 19-20) and Koksijde-Gieten (November 26-27).
That leaves him to concentrate on both the Belgian and World Championships, both of which will be held in January. “It seems logical to me more than ever to focus on the championships.”