Näf passes on mountain bike Worlds participation after injury

Winner Ralph Naf of Switzerland

Winner Ralph Naf of Switzerland (Image credit: Joris Beverloo)

Switzerland's Ralph Näf, one of the contenders for a World Championship cross country medal, will not make the trip to compete in Canberra, Australia, next week. Näf made the decision to sit out worlds after crashing two weeks ago on a training ride.

"If I were to fly to the worlds, it would be to compete for the victory. I might have been capable of beating Julien Absalon, but after having missed out on a full week of practice just before the race, that goal has become unrealistic."

The reigning European champion Näf had suffered a severe gash to his elbow. He was transported to the hospital via helicopter and underwent immediate surgery.

He has resumed training on his road bike and will instead focus on the season's two last World Cup races in Champéry and Schladming, respectively, in mid-September. Näf is currently ranked fourth in the World Cup standings.

Näf's Multivan Merida team manager Andreas Rottler supported his rider's choice. "This was a very difficult decision for us. After all, the Worlds course is one of Ralph's favourites, and last year, he won a World Cup race there. Without a doubt, he would have been within the inner circle of favourites, but we have to look at things realistically."

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.