With just the weekend portion of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships left to go, the injury list is growing.
On the cross country side, Geoff Kabush (Canada) crashed in training a few days ago and has gashed up one of his arms, and Thomas Frischknecht (Switzerland) went down in a recent short track race and bruised his hip. Meanwhile Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) has reported that his riding abilities are still hampered by a healing broken right hand. In particular, his hand's condition is affecting his braking ability - a potential problem for the long descent on the course.
The downhillers are suffering from their own set of problems. British hope Steve Peat is racing with a dislocated foot although he still finished 13th in qualifying. Peat declined to race the 4X as he recovers. He was given the green light to ride last Friday, after dislocating his foot and being non-weight bearing for seven weeks.
"My foot is wank," said Peat. "I'm pretty disappointed at the progress of where my healing is at this point. I thought I would have been able to start intensive rehab before I arrived here, but I've only started it since I got here." British Cycling's osteopath/physical therapist Jim Webb has been doing therapy on Steve's ankle and foot and trying different taping configurations to dial it in.
"My foot was too sore to attack all the way down," said Peat of his qualifying run. "I just coasted in sections and carried speed. I'm pleased with my time." Peaty is hopeful that a few more days of therapy and rest will get his foot closer to the championship that has eluded him for so long.
Top Canadian Junior Steve Smith is sporting a cast on his right hand after breaking a bone. Despite the handicap, he still finished third in the junior men qualifying. Smith said he has already crashed twice in training because he cannot grip the bars properly.
Finally, world champion Greg Minnaar (South Africa) is suffering from an ongoing shoulder injury, but it hasn't slowed him down too much. He qualified first Thursday, the first time he has ever qualified in the top spot.
"I'm really comfortable on this track, and I'm happy to have the fastest time," said Minnaar, who has won a medal in all five of the last six downhill World Championships, including a gold in 2003. "This was my goal for today and I learned a good deal from that run, and feel quietly confident about [the finals] Sunday. Starting last really energises me, so I can't wait for the big one!" Minnaar has decided to skip the 4X this year.