Palmer out with broken collarbone
Shaun Palmer’s World Cup mountain biking season abruptly ended last Saturday when he crashed during a practice run at Big Bear Lake, Calif. Palmer, a 29-year-old who lives on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore, broke his right clavicle and is expected to miss four to six weeks of action.
“He’s hanging out on the West Shore letting it heal. The good news is that it’s a clean break. A lot of times with a collarbone there’s multiple pieces and it takes longer to heal. We’re pretty confident he’ll be back for Mammoth on July 18-19,” said Bob Klein, Palmer’s business manager.
With only two World Cup events remaining, including one this weekend in Washington and another in August, Palmer will instead focus on National Off-Road Bicycling Association events when he gets healthy.
“It’s not worth it for him to come back because there’s only two or three World Cups left. He can’t even post enough results to come anywhere close to the top 10,” Klein said. “He wants to do the NORBA; there’s still four of those left. Shaun may not to be able to capture any titles, but at least he can qualify for the national team and go to the world championships.”
The World Championships are scheduled for Sept. 12-13 in Mount St. Anne.
Palmer was unavailable for comment.
The Specialized Bicycles team member crashed during a practice run for the dual challenge. The 1996 mountain bike slalom world champion and downhill runner-up was attempting to clear a table top, but his back wheel came up on the set-up jump and his front wheel came down on the flat area instead of the kicker. With Palmer traveling at approximately 20 mph, the impact of the shaky landing sent him flying over his handle bars and past the table top about by about 15 feet, according to Klein.
“That course was pretty crazy with a lot of jumps and berms,” said Lori Ipsen, a public relations officer at Specialized Bicycles. “Like in boardercross (snowboarding) you compete for a line, so it’s not like a normal dual slalom. A lot of people pulled out and decided not to compete.”
Palmer is under the care of Dr. Randy Watson of Tahoe Orthopedic Institute, which has offices in South Lake Tahoe and Incline Village.
Watson was unavailable comment, but Jerry Starke of the Tahoe Fracture and Medical Clinic Inc. in South Lake Tahoe says that an athlete with a broken collarbone typically misses up to two months of action.
“He’s got to keep his right arm immobilized, so he’ll do some leg work,” Klein said. “It’s not a bad thing. Shaun had some bad luck in the beginning of the season with mechanical failures and a muddy track in Europe. In a lot of ways it’s not too bad to take a break and put things in perspective. He can start looking at his snowboard company and a little work here.”
Despite the break, Palmer watched the downhill race at Big Bear on Sunday.
“He still drew more attention than any of the other guys did from the media and the crowd. He was a head turner,” Klein said.
Palmer, a two-sport icon who grew up in South Lake Tahoe, is the three-time reigning champion in the Winter X Games boardercross.
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