Nikki Harris © Bart Hazen

Nikki Harris, shown here at World Cup Zolder, injured her knee in a crash during that race © Bart Hazen

Fans of British sensation Nikki Harris may have noticed that the Telenet-Fidea rider was off her game this past weekend at World Cup Hoogerheide, finishing well off the pace of the women she is usually in hot contention with. “I couldn’t push on, I couldn’t get everything out of myself,” she said via her blog. “I finished the race hardly out of breath. I was scared of crashing today, scared to get out my saddle, scared to push on the pedals – all because of a ridiculous bump to the knee nearly three weeks ago now.”

Harris is referring to an injury she sustained during a crash at World Cup Zolder, when, according to a just-released press-release, “I hit [my knee] on the handlebars at the Zolder World Cup. I managed to mask the pain for a few weeks and hoped it would recover and I could finish my season strongly as I had planned.”

The pain has persisted, however, and Hoogerheide was a difficult realization for Harris, who has had a breakout season, taking wins at Superprestige Gavere and the GP Neerpelt, among others, and winning the British National Championship ahead of long-time queen Helen Wyman. “I’ve crashed so many times over the years on my knees, and now from one stupid mistake I’m left with a knee pain that feels as though I have a knife plunging through it. I didn’t want to start today, so why did I ? Well I guess cycling is all about risks, last week [at the British Championships] I risked racing and it paid off; today I raced and it’s left me feeling not so good, not just in my knee but in my head too.”

After Hoogerheide, Harris went to seek medical advice. “After an appointment with the specialist today we learned that the injury has now worsened and I have an acute tear in some tissue on my patella,” the press-release continued. “Due to this I will unfortunately have to draw a close to my season immediately and take some rest. After a few weeks we can re-evaluate how things are going and decide If surgery is necessary or not.”

“It’s obviously a huge disappointment to me, my team and British Cycling that I won’t be able to take part in the up-and-coming world championships in Louisville and the remainder of the cyclo-cross season. However, I have to take the positives from my season so far. I finished third in the World Cup overall standings, I won five races had 14 podium places and of course my biggest goal of the year in winning the nationals. So I guess it could be a lot worse. Time is on my side and I have the time now to let my body recover.”

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