Canadian citizen and Bend resident Chris Sheppard said Tuesday that he'll have to miss this weekend's Canadian national championships as well the upcoming U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross and North American Cyclocross Trophy series races. The Santa Cruz/Shimano/WTB rider was putting the final touches to his form when he crashed descending some singletrack.
Sheppard has been a familiar face in the Oregon racing scene since taking up residence in Bend, and he was recently the top Oregon finisher at the second NACT series race in Washington, chasing from the back of the pack at the UCI Rad Racing GP to finish 8th in a race won by former world champion silver medalist Jonathan Page.
X-rays confirmed a fracture of the proximal bone in Sheppard's ring finger on his left hand. The injury has left him in a soft cast for a month, and Sheppard said he won't risk re-injuring the finger because he could face surgery if another mishap were to occur.
"My entire 'cross season revolved around the October races", Sheppard said via e-mail. "Santa Cruz Bicycles stepped up to continue what has really been a fun, successful season. Yes, missing nationals while being fit hurts, but I am more disappointed for letting down my sponsors."
Sheppard hopes to make a return to cyclocross action at the Boulder Cup UCI weekend.
(Photo courtesy of Chris Sheppard)