The French have always been a dominant force in mountain biking. Whether that be the technical downhill mastery of Nico Vouilloz and Anne Caroline Chausson, the cross-country domination of Julien Absalon or the new enduro wizards such as Fabien Barel and Jerome Clementz, they seem to have riders at the top of every discipline.
But what is the secret to their success? What makes their country such a fertile breeding ground for mountain biking talent? SRAM sent some of its top athletes to La Thuile in Italy to find out.
To be honest, the results are inconclusive. Barel seems to suggest that nose manualing round corners is best while Bryan Regnier seems far more concerned about drinking wine. At the end of the day we don’t care what their secret is as long as they keep producing videos this good for us to watch and enjoy – the rest will just remain a je ne sais quoi.
Unfortunately Fabien Barel has now retired from racing but it looks like the French flag will continue to be flown with pride by new blood such as Yoann Barelli and Regnier.