Veteran French downhiller Fabien Barel first appeared on the World Championship podium at Lugano in 2003 when he won a bronze medal. He did even better the following year in Les Gets, where he was crowned world downhill champion for the first time. He defended his title in 2005 in Livigno, and also won a silver medal at Fort William in 2007. He has also been crowned champion of France eight times, and has appeared on the European championship podium four times, winning gold in 2005, silver in 2004, and bronze in 2000 and 2006. He also featured in the World Cup series for 11 years. He announced his retirement from downhill after finishing fourth at the World Cup stage in La Bresse in 2011, and said that he would be focussing on enduro over the coming years. Born on 26th July 1980, Fabien tried many different mountain bike disciplines before finally settling on downhill in 1995. He turned pro a year later, and his first major title came in 1998, when he captured the Junior World Downhill Championship in Mont Sainte-Anne, Canada. His performances over a distinguished 17-year downhill career made him one of the legendary figures of mountain biking. His incredible technical skills gained him credibility all around the industry and led to him performing and working with some of the most technical brands on the market. In 2013, he signed with Canyon Bicycles to assist with the development of the company’s bikes, as well as to participate in the Enduro World Series.
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