Wollongong cyclist Ben Kersten has withdrawn from the Cyclones team to contest the Manchester track world cup round on December 9-11 due to injury. The 24-year-old is suffering two bulging discs in his back at T5 and T9 and will not race again until after Christmas.
"We thought it was a rib because it's up that high that the pain diverts around the side of my body," said Kersten. "So we've been trying to find a rib problem and persisting with the pain for a long time. But I did some damage on Monday [November 21] in the gym lifting weights and doing squats and it seems I've done the lower disc now as well," he said. "There is no power going to my legs so it's no use racing.
Kersten rode at the Sydney Thousand carnival on Sunday despite his injury, and almost pulled off a win in the feature event; but it's now time to focus on recovery. "Doctors say I have three options," Kersten explained. "I can either not ride, get an operation or have a spinal injection which will reduce the inflammation and delay an operation."
Kersten is hopeful the injection, which he plans to have as soon as possible, will bring the discs back in line and, along with physiotherapy, enable him to get back to racing in the New Year. "As far as Commonwealth Games I should be okay but it just means making a later run for the season with the plan to come good around February," he said. "I can still ride the bike enough to stay fit but, at this stage, it's not worth pushing it with racing and gym work at this stage."
Kersten will be replaced in Manchester by Victorian rider Jason Niblett.
The Australian team for Manchester track world cup
Kristine Bayley (WA), Ryan Bayley (WA), Shane Kelly (VIC), Jason Niblett (VIC), Anna Meares (QLD), Katherine Bates (NSW), Richard England (VIC), Sean Finning (VIC)