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Since he twisted his foot off his leg last June ("I didn't break anything, it just twisted around an

Nigel's had a mare of a year but gives 03 the (broken) finger
Since he twisted his foot off his leg last June ("I didn't break anything, it just twisted around and tore all the ligaments. The bones came through my skin and...") Nigel Page has been having a brutal time.

"It's so annoying because I was getting there. I was 13th in the World Cup before the injury. The doctors said it would take two years but I was back on my XC bike in nine months. Thought I was ahead of the game, but I fell off on a stupid little ride and broke my wrist.

"It gets worse. I went to New Zealand to recuperate, but I had to come back because my dad died. It has not been good.

"I've just got back riding really. A good start - I was 4th in the first National 4X, then I hit a tree at the Scottish downhill and broke my finger. You promised you wouldn't laugh."

Nige is still riding for Intense and Troy Lee and is hoping for some support from Dirt.

"Sponsorship is not great at the moment. It's weird, at the very time the products get better than they ever have been manufacturers stop promoting them."

What is the future of your branch of the sport do you reckon Nigel?

"I think downhill will remain number one on the extreme side, but 4X is really good in all sorts of ways. It's possible to get a really good cheap jump/4X bike to do the trails and go racing on. A lot of people can't afford a DH bike."

But isn't 4X getting too much like BMX?

"It's a downhill, rougher version of 80s BMX maybe, when BMX was good. Modern BMX has gone away from that. The tracks tend to be flat and smooth. Extreme BMX riding has gone in the direction of street. No, 4X is its own thing and it will be excellent for the sport so long as they keep the entry fees down and give the young riders every chance to come good.

"There's some good lads coming through. Richard Batey, looks good and his team mate whose name I've forgotten. Then there's Duncan Ferris who I've seen in MBUK already."

What's next for Nigel Page?

"Next it's the Maxxis Cup race in Spain. Then the big one - Fort William. That's if I've stayed in one piece at the 4X in Cheddar."

Take it easy then, we were riding it last Wednesday and the course looks fast, furious and full of crashes to us.

"Oh no. Just what I don't need with a half mended finger. Oh well."

Good luck Pager.

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