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Australian MTB champ injured

Australian national mountain bike champion Chris Jongewaard was a non-starter in yesterday's final of the Australian national series after injuring himself in training on Friday. Jongewaard sustained a nasty gash in his right knee that will require stitches - eventually.

They said it was mainly a flesh wound," said Jonewaard. "They're going to keep it open just in case some infections start up. I'll get it stitched up in the next few days. I'll be back on the bike and back into training and preparations for Commonwealth Games."

The national series final was the last outing for local riders on home soil before the Commonwealth Games MTB race in Melbourne on March 23. But first, there's the Oceania Championships in Rotorua, New Zealand on 4 March, where the men's team has a very strong chance of victory, especially if they work together. Then that teamwork will need to carry through to the Games.

"We'll be looking out for each other," said Jongewaard. "Sid [Taberlay]'s definitely a good guy to work for. I've worked with him many times before. We're just trying to get the best result for Australia."

The reserved Taberlay said, "Chris and I are pretty good chances. Chris has just had an injury. We'll see how that goes. There're probably a few stitches required. So hopefully it won't upset things too much."

"It's going to be a race where we definitely need both of us there working as a team to be able to win the race," confirmed Taberlay. "Hopefully if all goes great we should be in for a medal."

According to national mountain bike cross country coach, Damien Grundy, "The Australians still have strong competition from Britain and Canada Liam Killeen (England) and Geoff Kabush (Canada). The Australians all have the capacity and so do three or four other riders," he said.