INNSBRUCK, Austria — Super-G world champion Hannes Reichelt is out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery, five weeks before the Alpine skiing World Cup season starts.
The Austrian ski federation said Sunday the 36-year-old Reichelt had a piece of a spinal disk removed after complaining about back pains since returning to Austria from the team’s pre-season training camp in Chile.
“The pain I had before the surgery is gone,” Reichelt said in a statement by the federation. “I hope for a speedy recovery and to be able to ski again soon.”
The attending doctor, Michael Gabl, said the operation went without complications.
“Hannes Reichelt definitely needs rest in the next few weeks,” Gabl said. “When he will be able to train on snow and compete on the World Cup depends on the healing process.”
Reichelt has suffered from back problems before. He underwent surgery on a herniated disk in January 2014, a few days after winning the classic downhill in Kitzbuehel. The injury forced him out of the Sochi Olympics.
A winner of 11 World Cup races, Reichelt won the super-G world title in Beaver Creek, Colorado, in 2015, four years after taking silver in the same discipline at the worlds in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
The opening race of the World Cup season is a giant slalom on the Rettenbach glacier in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 23.