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Mountain

Rad Ross Schnell breaks hip in France

“Rad” Ross Schnell, the defending All Mountain world champion mountain bike racer, suffered a broken hip Saturday at the opening round of the French Enduro mountain bike cup, held in Métabief, France. Schnell, 28, was competing in the fourth of 10 races in the Saturday-Sunday event when he slipped on wet grass and hit the deck at 30 miles per hour. He fractured the greater trochanter area of his left femur.  

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By Fred Dreier

Schnell, shown here at a VeloNews photo shoot in April, will miss much of June and July to his broken hip.

Schnell, shown here at a VeloNews photo shoot in April, will miss much of June and July to his broken hip.

Photo: Brad Kaminski

“Rad” Ross Schnell, the defending All Mountain world champion mountain bike racer, suffered a broken hip Saturday at the opening round of the French Enduro mountain bike cup, held in Métabief, France.

Schnell, 28, was competing in the fourth of 10 races in the Saturday-Sunday event when he slipped on wet grass and hit the deck at 30 miles per hour. He fractured the greater trochanter area of his left femur.
 

“I had just gotten through all of the really hard sections. Some ruts caught me and sent me down,” Schnell told VeloNews. “I was all hopped up on adrenaline so I got back on my bike and finished. I kept racing.”

The injury has Schnell — whose sponsors include Oakely, Trek, SRAM and Crankbrothers — out of commission for at least four to six weeks.

Despite the crash, Schnell managed to finish fourth on the stage. He raced three more stages of the event, which combines conventional downhill-style mountain bike courses with longer, fitness-oriented tracks similar to the American Super-D format.  

Eventually, Schnell pulled out with three races remaining.  

“I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t support myself on my bicycle anymore, so I went to this tiny French hospital 20km away,” Schnell said. “The doctor told me I was fine. I had to beg them to do an X-ray and sure enough, the hip was broken.” 

The race was the first big test of the year for Schnell, who in 2008 claimed the unofficial All-Mountain world title by winning California’s Downieville Classic. Enduro-style downhill mountain bike racing is all-but absent in the United States, but the format is popular in Europe. Riders tackle longer descents that include lengthy sections of pedaling. Most of the races forbid riders from pre-riding the tracks, forcing riders to adjust to the terrain on the fly.  

“It was a really radical format of racing, totally different from what you would see in the U.S.,” Schnell said. “Your first run is really terrifying. Then you learn how fast you can take sections without crashing.”
 
Schnell will now miss the next two rounds of the French series, as well as a marathon cross-country race, held this weekend in Nice. Depending on his recovery time, Schnell said his participation in the July 11-12 Downieville Classic may also be in jeopardy.  

Schnell hopes to rebound for the back half of the season, which includes the USA Cycling national mountain bike championships, the Cranksworx festival at Whistler Resort and the July 25-26 Enduro of Nations race in France. That event features team competition, and Schnell will ride alongside compatriots Brian Lopes and Mark Weir. Until then, the Coloradan will be forced to stay off of his injuries and recover.  

“It’s tough because I really want to be there to defend (at Downieville)” Schnell said. “I want to be there with my A game. If I do show up, I don’t want it to be with my D game.”