Näf's start at mountain bike worlds questionable

Ralph Näf lost his brakes completely in the final lap

Ralph Näf lost his brakes completely in the final lap (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

A recent injury may jeopardize the participation of Switzerland's Ralph Näf in the upcoming UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra, Australia, on September 1-6. The Swiss riders is one of the favorites for the podium, but a crash last weekend during training sent him to the hospital.

Näf sustained a serious wound to the flesh on his elbow. He was taken by helicopter to the hospital for immediate treatment.

"I want to win in Canberra, and if this injury keeps me from training properly, it does not make sense to participate at the Worlds," said Näf.

He has already cancelled his participation in the team relay for Switzerland, but he hasn't decided about the cross country race.

"I have to see how quickly I can recover during the next few days," said Näf, who will decide by August 27 whether he will fly to Australia. He said he'd only travel that far if he could feel competitive in the battle for the world title.

Fortunately, Näf had no serious injury to his muscles; however, the deep cut on his elbow required ten stitches.

"The elbow is probably the worst place for such an injury as I cannot move my entire arm now - which means that I cannot train on my mountain bike."

This year, Näf finished third at the Houffalize and Bromont World Cups and second at the Offenburg World Cup. Last year, he won a bronze medal at the world championship cross country race.

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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.