Farewell Fabien

The final race of the 2015 Enduro World Series in Finale Ligure marked the final race of Fabien Barel’s competitive mountain biking career. Fabien announced his retirement at the previous round of the EWS in Ainsa following 20 years of racing at the very top of the sport.

Fabien began his career in the world of downhill racing and won the Junior Worlds in Monte-Saint Anne in 1998. He went on to clinch a further two World Championship titles in the elites at Les Gets and Livigno alongside five World Cups.

Watch as he wins his second World Championships in Livigno in 2005 here:

His rivalry with both Steve Peat and Nico Vouilloz was a high point of downhill racing throughout the mid 2000s and kept pushing the sport to go faster and further.

His retirement from downhill in 2011 by no means marked the end of Fabien’s career and he quickly transferred over to the enduro with his current sponsor Canyon.

The move brought immediate success as Barel won the first ever Enduro World Series race back in May 2013. He then went on to spearhead the EWS and helped pioneer Canyon’s range of all mountain bikes.

2014 was a bad year for Barel, with a major crash at the first round of the EWS in Chile. He broke three ribs and his eighth vertebrae leaving him sidelined for a full year.

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However, in what probably marks one of the most impressive comebacks of the sport, Barel recovered and went on to win the final round of the EWS in Finale Ligure last year.

As he approaches retirement, Barel shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, he still stands a (very slim) chance to take the overall EWS crown this season if other results go his way. The Canyon bikes he helped to design are also showing their worth as Canyon Factory Racing is currently leading the team competition as well.

Take a look at Barel’s EWS Canyon Strive

Racing enduro never stopped him being interested in downhill however, as this video showing his reaction to Loic Bruni’s win at this year’s World Champs proves:

Fingers crossed this isn’t the last we see of Barel and if the rumour mill is correct hopefully we’ll be seeing him returning to downhill to spearhead Canyon’s first ever World Cup team.