GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN,GERMANY,26.FEB.15 - ALPINE SKIING - FIS World Cup, downhill training, men. Image shows Joachim Puchner (AUT). Photo: GEPA pictures/ Thomas Bachun

The Austrian Ski Federation announced the end of World Cup speed specialist Joachim Puchner’s 2015-16 competitive season on Tuesday due to a right knee injury sustained in June from an accident on a slackline. The 28-year-old defending European Cup downhill champion from 2015 also has three World Cup podiums, in both downhill and super G, from 2011 and 2012.

On the advice of Austrian team doctor Helmuth Eggl, Puchner will take several months off training in order to fully recover. He is not expected to contest any races in the 2015-16 season.

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“That is very bitter and a massive setback for me. This message I still have to digest. In the present situation it is difficult to estimate how long this break will be. In the next few weeks, I have several tests and only then I can think about the date of my return,” said Puchner.

In addition to a number of retirements by stars at the end of the 2014-15 season, the Austrian team was hit hard by a season-ending injury to Anna Fenninger less than one week ago. Olympic downhill champion Matthias Mayer hopes to return to competition in Lake Louise this November following a super G training crash that sidelined him in the first half of October.

Release courtesy of OSV