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Ralph Näf: „Anything can happen during a sprint" - BMC's racers on the hunt for gold

18. June 2013

BMC Mountainbike Racing Team
European Championships in Bern

June 18, 2013 - Grenchen: All cross country professionals of the BMC Mountainbike Racing Team have been nominated for the European Championships in Bern where competition will begin with the eliminator sprint on June 20. Sprint world champion Ralph Näf will be starting in this opening competition.

After the second surgery on his hand in mid-April it was quite obvious that Ralph Näf would not be able to get into perfect shape for the European Championships on time. But he has been nominated by Swiss Cycling nevertheless. Swiss national coach Bruno Diethelm offers a plausible explanation: „If Ralph will manage to hold on to the handlebars, then just about everything is possible."

Näf confirms this with a laugh: „I can hold the handlebars. I will apply the same strategy that I used at the World Championships last year. Should I achieve some kind of success, that would be fine. During a sprint, many positive things can happen", explained the family man from Andwil.

Much to his liking, tactics will most likely play a major role at the race location, the so called Schanzengraben in the center of Bern. And he is also very fond of the electronic lock-out that the Fox forks are equipped with. „That's really helpful because it is applicable quick as a flash in any situation, and it works like a light switch. It's especially helpful during sprints where split seconds decide whether you advance into the next round or are defeated," said Ralph Näf. With the help of component manufacturers 3T the internal diameter of the handlebars has been adjusted, so that the small battery can be installed.

Ralph favours the Fox fork for use in the cross country races, too. And he is also full of praise for the new rigid Shimano carbon wheels that were very useful for him during Saturday's heavy world cup race in Val di Sole.
„You certainly notice the advantage when you need to accelerate from nil to a hundred, or to slow down from a hundred to nil," explained Näf.
His teammates will appreciate these advantages at the European Championships in Bern as well.

On Sunday Lukas Flückiger and Julien Absalon will go for the blue jersey of the European champion which teammate Moritz Milatz has had the honor to wear during the last twelve months. Although Flückiger will be on the hunt with the Swiss cross on his jersey, and Absalon will be clad in the tricolor, both will rely on the same great race bike, the BMC TE01 and its BigWheel geometry that is highly praised by all team members.

Of course, defending champion Moritz Milatz will also be present on the „Gurten" to fight for a medal in his black, red and golden national jersey, and Martin Fanger hopes to repeat or even top his excellent World Cup results.

U-23 riders Reto Indergand and Matthias Stirnemann will also go for medals on home soil.