Former world marathon champion Alban Lakata (Topeak Ergon) injured himself while skiing on the last day of 2013 and will be sidelined from competition for the first four to five months of 2014 according to pianetamountainbike.it.
The Austrian won the European marathon championship and a silver medal at the marathon Worlds in 2013. He has also previously won the Leadville 100, the Roc d'Azur, the Riva del Garda marathon and the Andalucia Bike Race.
Lakata fell while skiing with a friend in the mountains near his home and tore his Achilles tendon.
"Just before the end of the year, I lost a ski on a descent," Lakata said. "I crashed taking a tumble, and unfortunately over extended my Achilles tendon causing it to snap." He also sustained other injuries, however none as serious. Wasting no time, Lakata went to a private specialist in Innsbruck, and was operated on the same day. The operation took 30 minutes and passed without problems.
"At the moment I actually feel okay. The pain subsides a bit every day."
Doctors have estimated that he will be out of competition for at least four months, which means he will not be able to defend his title at the Andalucia Bike Race where he was slated to pair up with new Topeak-Ergon teammate Kristian Hynek. Lakata will also miss the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race in March, but he is hoping to be back in action to contest the 2014 marathon Worlds in late June in Pietermaritzburg.
"I will start again on the home trainer in four to five weeks, but then it will be a careful build process, aiming for the Riva Bike Marathon at the beginning of May. It is then that I will make a postponed start to my season," said Lakata.
With Lakata out of the picture for the Cape Epic, his Topeak-Ergon teammates Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek will pair up instead. The duo also will race the Andalucia Bike Race together in late February.