Ralph Näf hangs his racing bike up one last time26. October 2015, Mattwil - Switzerland — MTB Team
Just like his entire career as a professional mountain bike rider, Ralph Näf’s retirement party was not just about racing but also about friends, laughs and lots of fun.
Surrounded by many friends and fellow riders, Ralph Näf celebrated the end of his impressive mountain bike professional career on Saturday in Thurgau, where he grew up and still lives with his family. More than 80 riders, current and ex champions, mountain bikeers and road riders, men and women, took part in a short cyclo-cross race in teams of two. Between sights of Jolanda Neff and Kathrin Stirneman on a tandem with Zebra costumes, the Flückiger brothers with wigs, prehistoric men on fat bikes, Stefan Küng in his retro road kit and Ralph himself who rode with all the different jerseys he wore during his professional career – there was little left to the imagination.
In any case, riders and spectators had a great day and paid tribute to the double World Champion with a guard of honor and a standing ovation. It was a proof, if any were needed, of Ralph’s popularity in the community of international mountain biking. Focused, but always accessible and ready for a joke, he was one of the main characters of the MTB scene and captain of the BMC MTB Racing Team. Alex Moos, BCM Racing Team manager summed up Ralph’s three years in the team in one sentence: “Ralph came to us as a rider; he is now leaving us as a friend.”
An emotional Ralph Näf opened the party in the evening. “I couldn’t dream of a better end-of-career party!” he said after he hung up his bike for a very last time.
Photo: Erhard Goller