Gee Atherton has pulled out of the World Championships in Val di Sole with a shoulder injury sustained in Andorra allowing Bernard Kerr to take his place on the team.
Two time World Champion Atherton picked up the injury in practice last weekend and, although he did end up racing in the World Cup finale, it has become too painful for him to ride in Italy. Atherton will be bitterly disappointed to miss out on the track where he won his first rainbow jersey and has picked up three other podium finishes, but it must be very serious for him not to be taking to the start gate on Sunday.
Team Director Dan Brown said “Gee went out to practice this morning but had to withdraw when his shoulder was just too painful to continue, reluctantly he’s had to withdraw.”
Kerr, who narrowly missed out on selection initially, will now replace Atherton and race on Sunday. Kerr had a stellar breakthrough season on the World Cup circuit and finished 15th in the overall, ahead of three other Team GB riders. Gee said “ World Champs is all or nothing, its always 110% or go home and the way I’m feeling today – I’m not even 50%. I’m gutted not to race here, the track has always been good to me but Bernard will do a fantastic job for the team. I’ll be cheering loudest of all.”
We’re sending out healing vibes to Gee and look forward to seeing him charging hard in 2017.