By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec, Canada
After a few worrisome days, Christoph Sauser's Olympic dream appears to be back on track. The Swiss mountain biker, who is the current cross country world champion, crashed one day before the cross country World Cup last Saturday in Mont-Sainte-Anne. After a trip to the hospital and five stitches, his knee swelled up, threatening to derail his remaining season objectives.
"On Tuesday, he got home and he had quite a bad knee infection... to the point where we thought his season was over," said Specialized Factory Team Manager Bobby Behan. "My heart sank when I heard and I think he got a bit worried, too.
"On Wednesday, his knee was still swollen. He went back to the doctor to get the wound cleaned out again, and the doctor said he could ride for 30 minutes," said Behan. "So he rode the roller and it wasn't great."
Doctors even warned Sauser that they might have to operate on his knee. By Friday, however, things were looking up. Sauser did a two-hour ride which went well except for some ego bruising. "Two girls passed him and he wasn't too impressed by that, but he was happy he rode," said Behan, who also reported that as of Saturday, Sauser's knee was only slightly bigger than normal.
The injury caused Sauser to sit out the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup despite travelling across the Atlantic to attend. He tried getting on his bike the morning of the cross country race, but soon figured out racing was not an option. "I did not watch the race," said Sauser on his blog. "Instead I spent my time in a coffee shop, frustrated, drinking coffee, eating croissants."
Sauser had never planned to race the Bromont World Cup; instead he has intended to race the L'Hexagonal Tour de France VTT starting next Thursday in France. Barring any further complications affecting his knee, Sauser still intends to race the French event before heading directly from Paris to the Olympics in Beijing, China.
Sauser wasn't having a very good week. He reported on his blog that a lightning strike also damaged his phone, phone line, TV, DVD and surround sound system.
"In spite of his crash at the marathon worlds and this knee injury, we have our fingers crossed that he will go well at the Olympics," said Behan.