Good-bye Ralph! Official Retirement from Elite Mountain Biking22. July 2015, Grenchen, Switzerland — MTB Team
Ralph Näf announces his retirement from professional mountain biking today, calling time on a career that spanned 13 years.
Current 9th of the World Cup standings, Ralph Näf is still part of the best riders in the world. However, the Swiss rider has decided that 2015 would be his last season as a professional mountain biker. “I still have great results, my legs and my body are good, I have the best bike I could imagine. But I cannot see how it can get better next year. It is not an easy decision because I love what I do but I think it is the perfect moment for me to stop” he explains.
Ralph Näf made his professional debut in 2003, a few months after winning his first World Championship medal (silver) at the U23 XCO event in Kaprun, Austria. The Swiss rider quickly climbed up the ranks in the world MTB hierarchy by winning the 2003 European Championships, and finishing 6th at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, his best ever Olympic result.
Two World Cup wins (Fort William 2005 and Canberra 2008) and numerous podiums at National, European and World Championships expanded his list of results, making him one of the most successful and accomplished Swiss riders in the sport of cross-country mountain biking.
The perfect all-rounder
Ralph Näf didn’t only shine in cross-country Olympic races. The friendly and funny character also put his all-rounder qualities to the test and won several titles in Cross-country Marathon (2006 World Championships, 2006 and 2010 European Championships), Cross-country Eliminator (2012 World Championships) and Team Relay (2010 European Championships) events.
With BMC since 2013
Ralph Näf joined the BMC MTB Racing Team in 2013. Alex Moos, Sports director, remembers: “Ralph is the first rider we contacted when we started the team in 2011. He was still under contract with his previous team so only joined us a couple of years later. Since then, he played the role of “Capitaine de Route”, he has been a very important piece of our puzzle. We really enjoyed his driving force personality and his warrior spirit; he always fought until the finish line.” Ralph’s decision came as a surprise to the team : “We had planned with him for next season as well but we respect his decision. We will miss him though!”.
The double World Champion not only raced for the BMC MTB Racing Team, but he also played an active role in the development of new technologies and bikes with BMC Switzerland Engineers. He was actually the one who initiated the Micro Travel Technology (MTT) project, the main feature of the BMC Teamelite launched in May 2015, by asking for more compliance on his XC race bike, the Teamelite 01.
The rider from Thurgau will race the European Championships this weekend and the second half of the season as planned. The Perskindol Swiss Epic next September will be his last official race.
After that, he plans to spend more time now with his wife Coni and his three best supporters: Levin (6), Yanis (5) und Lenya (3) who never miss a chance to cheer for their dad.
Ralph's Portrait and full palmares.