Liam Killeen taking year off from racing

British cross country star recovering from back injury

British mountain bike racer Liam Killeen is leaving Trek World Racing and taking a year off of racing to recover from a recurring back injury, his manager Martin Whitely confirmed Friday.

"This year has been frustrating for me," Killeen said. "I have not lost my motivation for racing but I need to focus on recovering from injury. It would not be fair to commit to the team for 2010 in these circumstances. I wish Trek World Racing all the best for the coming season."

The two-time Olympian and Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist has submitted his resignation from the team, effective December 31 this year. Whiteley has worked with Killeen since 2000.

The 27-year-old Killeen, who has been battling a recurring back injury throughout the 2009 season, has decided that he needs to take a year off from top level competitive racing in order to focus on his complete rehabilitation. Despite some solid performances during 2009, including the successful defense of his national title, it was very clear that the back injury was preventing Killeen from racing at his best at World Cup level, a situation he has found increasingly difficult.

"Naturally we are very disappointed for Liam," Whiteley said. "He didn't have the year he wanted, and it was clear to all of us that his frustration was not going to subside until he was able to address the injury.

"This is the wisest decision he could have made and I know that my company, and our title sponsor Trek, are fully supportive of Liam's decision. We wish him all the best."

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