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A spectacular crash on lap one of the Belgium round of
the mountainbike cross-country World Cup has left Barrie Clarke out of action for
the month of May with a broken wrist.

Houffalize in the Ardennes region of Belgium hosted round three of the World Cup
on Sunday April 30 and Barrie Clarke was hoping for a great ride to further enhance
his Olympic selection chances. But it wasn’t a day of celebration for the Team Raleigh

After proving himself as the number one contender for Olympic glory throughout the
opening races of the season, Clarke has been riding high – and indeed every indication
was that his wave of good form was set to continue. From the start he was to the
fore and approaching the famous ‘rock garden’ well into the first lap he was in twelfth
– and said that he "hadn’t felt that good in a World Cup race for a long time".
That was the high spot – as on the descent of the ‘garden’ an over anxious competitor
ran into Clarke throwing him from his bike, out of the race and into hospital with
a broken wrist.

Returning home in a cloud of disappointment, Clarke then spent his May Day Holiday
undergoing an operation to have the wrist pinned back together but nether the less
remaining optimistic. Clarke takes everything in his stride and is already thinking
about getting on his indoor trainer so that he holds on to as much form as possible
for when he gets back….and back he will be! As for the Olympic Games – he can’t
compete in the final selection races for sure. But he has clearly show that he was
the number one contender…..and that’s going to be a matter for the selectors to
ponder over; given a choice, let’s hope they make the right one!

It wasn’t a particularly good weekend for his fellow Olympic place contenders either;
Paul Lasenby (Marin) was the best home in 44th after Diamondback’s Nick Craig was
forced out of the race with a puncture when he was the leading Brit. placed in the

Team Raleigh’s Ian Cooper was in action at the NEC at the weekend. Competing in
the speed trials at the Bike 2000 show as part of the ‘Best of British’ team – he,
and the other team members clearly shown that they are the experts of this trials
discipline by convincingly beating the ‘Best of the Rest of the World’ team throughout
the three days of the show.

Next weekend (May 7th) sees ‘Mad’ Matt Farmer take on the countries (and World’s!)
best when he competes in the second round of the Rav 4 National Series downhill at
Pateley Bridge in North Yorkshire. He finished an excellent 4th, behind World No.
2 Steve Peat in round one – he’s looking for a podium placing at Pateley…


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