Fabien Barel penalised for shuttling at Crankworx enduro - Update

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There has been a lot of hearsay and what not all over the internet, surrounding this incident that occurred during practice at the Enduro World Series in Crankworx, Whistler. But here we have the facts that currently stand. Any updates and we’ll update this post.

Initial reports surfaced that Barel had been caught shuttling during practice and received a 5 minute penalty, which left him unable to race the event competitively (he would have placed 3rd had it not been for the penalty). The Director of the Enduro World Series, Chris Ball released this statement:

Following a number of requests for information surrounding the five minute penalty issued to Fabien Barel in Crankworx Whistler we would like to clarify the situation. To avoid riders gaining an unfair advantage and to maintain the spirit of the race on the long liaison stages in the Whistler valley, Crankworx created a rule that outlined no outside assistance (including using a vehicle to assist) would be allowed during the event. This rule was further explained and clarified in a mandatory athlete’s breakfast scheduled on Friday morning and hosted by the Crankworx Whistler organisers. Riders who chose not to attend this briefing missed crucial information regarding course changes, details of shuttling and race specific information. We are not responsible for educating riders who choose to miss planned briefings. Following the submission of evidence by a number of sources and a discussion with Fabien where he cooperated fully, admitted to a lack of knowledge of the rule due to team communications and an admission of his use of a vehicle, the organisation chose to apply a five minute penalty to his race time, removing any advantage that may have been gained from his use of the vehicle. We are all now looking forward to an incredible race here tomorrow.

This immediately caused an outcry from ‘internet warriors’ claiming Barel was a cheat. But as always there is two sides to every story, the discrepancy seems to lie with the misunderstanding of the term ‘shuttling’. Fabien was under the impression that he was allowed to drive his car down the highway to the bottom of the tracks, as he wasn’t using it to take him to the top of the hill. Although he does accept that he did unknowingly break the rules.

Whilst Fabien admits to all the allegations he was faced with, he does not feel the penalty he was faced with was fair, because lots other riders were doing the same thing as Fabien, were caught, but faced no penalty. He feels that he has been made an example of because he is one of the top riders in the series.

This is the official response to the situation from the Canyon team and Fabien himself…

Unfortunately a misunderstanding between Canyon’s team management and the race organisers around the rules applied during the trainings brought Fabien in an arguing situation after he was issued a 5 minute penalty. The definition of shuttling in during the training period (Friday and Saturday) has not been properly defined in writing to everyone and the Organisation considered shuttling as driving around the valley. Few riders have been reported as doing so, and even one rider has been caught directly by Crankworx management and sent back the village (without consequences). Fabien did not feel the situation was handled properly by the organisation as there was a lack of definition and no proof beside Fabien’s forthcoming honesty on the fact that there was a lack of clarity in the rules applied.
“I have been honest and clearly mentioned to the Organisation that I did drive 1.5km from my apartment down to creek side with my car on the highway 99. At first, I did accept the facts especially if it was a misunderstanding from my team manager but then I realised that the case of many other riders had been simply overlooked. There is no written rule about shuttling or driving around anywhere from the organisation and there is no way to shuttle up the stages in whistler as they are in the middle of the mountain.” Fabien says. “The EWS is a new series that is building its professionalism and ruling event by event. I have been the first one to help developing it to keep the spirit of enduro and the fair play for all riders. I just feel that Organisation has taken me as example to create fear with the others of what could happen but I do not agree with this type of procedure!”

Despite all of this Fabien still ended with the following statement…

“I still really enjoyed the weekend and the Organisation has been doing a great job on the course. The loop was a real enduro.”

So what do you lot make of all this? I actually think it was only a matter of time before something like this happened because there do seem to be a fair few grey areas when it comes to enduro racing, and as much as I dislike the UCI and their millions of rules (which are pretty much spelt out in black and white) it does seem that sometimes you need to make sure that you have set rules, and they’re made clear. I am sure that this is just part of the learning curve for the EWS though, and apart from this one slight glitch it has so far been an overwhelming success in my eyes. Long may it continue…

  1. Big Dawg

    Can someone shed some light on the apparent hatred from Greg Minnaar toward Fabien Barel. Lots of Tweets and Facebook updates about how much of a cheat FB is etc.

    1. Small Cat

      I know from one of the past events I think Minnar and Peat mentioned he was riding up hill without his full face helmet on properly.

      1. scriz

        OMG! The horror! He pushed his helmet up on a flat fire road. What a bunch of babies… all this whining on twitter just makes Enduro look silly.

      2. pepe

        well, when you cannot win, what best to do than pick on others, right ?

    2. Cyrus

      I must say I’ve lost a bit of respect for Greg since I’ve seen him bitching like a teenage girl on the internet. If he has umbrage with Barel he’s had any number of opportunities to speak to him face to face. Maybe he’s smarting after Barel smoked him in Punta Ala when he admitted FB was “just too strong”. His criticism of FB is maybe even more ironic considering he’s percieved as the guy who got the DH WC in his own back garden. I’d not be surprised if he’s got one eye one the EWS for a career move when he wins the World Champs in his back garden and he’s just trying to rattle one of his biggest rivals.

      C’mon Greg, be cool.

      1. scriz

        Definitely agree with you. I’ve lost a lot of respect for GM and a bit for Peaty too ( see his tattle-tweets about the helmet issue ).

        #syndicatebutthurt

  2. mcewan7

    You mean his one tweet…

    1. Big+Dawg

      I’ve seen a few labelling him as cheat etc. I’m not on either side as I don’ tknow the facts but I’m just intrigued that’s all and wondered if anyone knew if they had a history.

    2. scriz

      https://twitter.com/GregMinnaar, there are at least three tweets where Lopes and Peaty are tagged calling Barel a cheater and mocking him.

      Funny that he accuses Barel of needing to ‘grow up’… if riding with your helmet slightly pushed up bothers you that much, take it up like a professional instead of using twitter to dish out grade-school insults.

      1. Ted Stuckey

        “…using Twitter to dish out grade-school insults.”

        I’d say that’s using the item as intended. Twitter = school kid gossip, snark, behind-the-back innuendo vehicle.

        Oh please, Follow me on Twitter! I’m so cool with my many Followers! Hipper than you, bro!

        Embarrassing. But not exactly surprising. Very competitive athletes generally are not non-competitive even if they’re off the bike. Competitive person = competitive. Even in rumor dishing, competitive.

        Embarrassing. Sounds more like Peaty and Minnaar ought to jump ship to Enduro and beat Barel there, rather than trying to beat him up on Twitter.

        As to Lopes? His ego is a weather balloon.

  3. Ed

    The more I think about it the more I think the EWS probably did the best thing. Yes, maybe they should have penalised others too, but this ‘making an example’ of Fabien should mean that in future everyone checks out the rules fully and abides by them. It’s not like Fabien is going to lose his sponsors because of it either.

    1. WAKi

      Heh, depends what example is it making. I don’t see much of a “relaxed” spirit of enduro in this. Jerome said something very smart picturing the “spirit” something about Enduro, being something like friends going out for a ride, chatting on uhpills, racing themselves on the donwhills. With all due respect would a friend do something like that to a friend?! Rule is a rule, yea, but given the circumstances that Fabien gained NOTHING by driving his bike there, to the beginning of an uphill, I think this is an asshole move. Is it true friends or parents trying to be young by being chaps with their kids, then loosing it. I can’t really tell anymore. Twitter shit that anyone is fully entitled to, only pushes further the word “friendship” under question mark. And make no mistake I don’t look for sources of moral values or prime examples of behaviour in a cycling show. Then considering other circumstances, knowing that others did it, it also becomes a “who got caught” situation, with Fabien handling it in an incredibly classy way. I cannot imagine better handling of the situation by him. As many said: “How many would stay as composed if it happened to them”. And I think that is the best “punishment” to those who disqualified him.

      Hard decision for EWS management or not, the “image of the sport” point of view it is a mistake, leaving bad taste in the mouth.

      Words tend to be shit, here’s my picture take on it:
      http://www.pinkbike.com/photo/9960715/

    2. WAKi

      But yes the message is quite clear: “Rules are harsh, obey the rules!” second part of the message, as with everything in the world, “consequences are taken by the persons capable of taking them, good will and justice are irrelevant”

  4. DH-DAVE

    LOCK HIM UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEYS, SNEEKY FRENCHY!

    1. pepe

      Shove your racist comment -and you seat post- high up , DH-CAVE.
      And read his defense before posting crap.

      1. Pete

        I think it was said in jest Pepe……a little bit of tongue-in cheek

      2. DH-DAVE

        pahaha racist?! just merely commenting on his nationality. get your facts right retard

      3. TimBud

        Negative comments about nationality are racist…

    2. DH DAVE

      Don’t be so pathetic

  5. Chris Danson

    I this had been his first bending of the rules he’d have gotten away with it. After his unpunished breaking of the helmet rule in rd.1, then the alleged course cutting in val d’allos, I think the EWS had no choice but to come down hard on him over this.

  6. JHazard

    I think FB is being made an unfair example of – at least from the info provided. Internet warriors who are not at the venue can’t really form an opinion based on fact – as we are not there, do not know the set up and logistics.

    As far as hatred for FB… I dunno, I did see a photo of him cutting an OBVIOUS corner, but again, I’ve only seen the photo, and don’t know the circumstance.

    Personally, he appears to be a stand up guy, a great competitor and an asset to the enduro movement.

  7. shutter2ride

    unfortunate but if it leads to better behavior and clearer rules going forward it was the right call… I think this was expected to happen this first year.

    1. scriz

      I agree, it was to be expected. Take a bunch of DH racers and put them on massive un-taped downhills and you don’t expect “course-cutting”?! These are guys that are hard-wired to see the fastest lines and ride as fast as possible. To me, line selection is actually one of the most entertaining aspects of MTB racing.

      The sad thing is that this whole industry push for the enduro format is supposed to be about growing the ‘spirit’ of the sport and being more inclusive ( and selling 650B mind you ). Instead we’ve got seasoned pros whining at each other like b!tches on twitter.

  8. Bobby

    I keep hearing the “Sprit of Enduro” wake up guys these are pro racers and don’t give a rats arse about the it, they are there to win!

    The reason the UCI dropped it like a lead ballon because they are not stupid and knew this was just can of worms, they must be laughing now watch the ex uci guy sort this mess out!

    1. shutter2ride

      really? “UCI” and “not stupid” in the same sentence?

    2. Rig

      mess? EWB is a great series that i look forward to almost as much as dh world cups. I’d race if they brought it to nz. UCI with their rules on the other hand…

  9. Eoin

    Fact is, driving to the bottom of a stage doesnt give much of an advantage, especially compared to actually shuttling runs or cutting the course. The 5 minute penalty knocked him from 3rd to way-the-f-back… Seems more than a bit harsh, 20s to a minute would have fitted the “crime” better, and of course should have been applied to all riders caught doing the same.

  10. Fuzzynod

    I am relatively new to all this and dont quite understand exactly what Fabien did.
    He says he drove his car to the bottom of the valley ? was this with his bike in the car ?to what ends would he have been doing this and what advantage did he gain ?
    Would someone be kind enough to explain to a novice.
    Thanks

    1. Eoin

      The loop consisted of taking the chair lift, then riding down 4 stages, then taking the chair lift back up for stage 5. He didnt want to take the chairlift and possibly knew some of the earlier stages, so drove to the end of a later stage to only do half the loop. This is my understanding, and if correct that is in no way shuttling… Might have misunderstood though, so I stand to be corrected. This is even more ridiculous considering a chairlift is used in the race/practice and these are well known trails which many other riders must have known way better than him.

  11. bob

    he was being transfered between stages. saving more than a few kilometers of pedaling that everyone else did. not simply dropped off at creekside as he says. thus allowing him to save energy that others were expending. and thus give advantage.

    If he hadnt missed the MANDATORY riders briefing he would have known this. When you are a professional it is your obligation and part of the jobs to know the rules…. no excuses
    If he hadnt pushed the rules in all the other events he wouldnt be made an example of.

    1. Ted Stuckey

      “he was being transfered between stages.”

      IN PRACTICE. Which doesn’t matter one whit to race performance.

      Apply the rule across the board, and many would lose 5 minutes. Unless you force everyone to stay at the same big tent compound, sleeping on the same type of mattress/pad, same kind of sleeping bag, eating same food, drinking same liquids, riding same exact bike… if not doing that, then unequal effects arise from various riders’ choices of where to stay, what to eat, what bike to ride.

      What’s next? Forcing them all to practice at a concentration camp in between races, and during the off-season, so that everyone can be monitored and everyone practices the exact same ways at the exact same trail facility?

      Obvious to me that Chris Ball & Co have done a fantastic job in many, if not most, aspects of EWS this year.

      But this rule and the interpretation of its infraction is a very big goof.

      1. scriz

        Well said! I’m thinking next will be mandatory yoga before all stages. Lopes will be there video taping anyone who skips a sun salutation.

      2. DH-DAVE

        its still takes energy to do that ride in practice dumb ass

  12. tylerdca

    The complaint was that others were riding with an XC helmet strapped to their back because the rules were that you had to be wearing your helmet properly.

    It was either carry the extra bulk of an extra helmet, or climb with a DH helmet fully on.

    1. scriz

      … which is a right stupid rule to begin with. It reminds of the ‘mandatory body armor’ debacle in DH, where riders are forced to make back protectors out of cereal boxes. They’re all cheaters because they’re not carrying the extra weight of elbow guards!!

  13. JC

    Please don’t even think about flattering the UCI for their well-thought out rules.
    Banned Peaks and skinsuits anyone. Watch PMB for abuse of baggy jersey rule.

    1. Ed

      If you’re talking about me supposedly flattering the UCI for their well thought out rules, I never once used the words ‘well thought out’, in fact in my eyes that couldn’t be further from the truth. The UCI have lunatic rules.

  14. Maverickdh

    They’re still seems to be some discrepancies to me.

    Mistakes on all sides, I agree allot with Tex as well.

    Fabian says he drove 1.5km from his apartment, EWS statement says he was shuttling to gain advantage, Im sure Fa Ian could easily ride 1.5km, these guys are visitors to this location living out of a suitcase AK don’t see this as shuttling, if someone was waiting for him at the end of each run and running him back and forth then yes that would be shuttling,, what I can’t understand is is must still have to get himself to the top of each trail head, sounds like a poorly thought out last minute rule.

    EWS have poorly applied this rule, I have no issue so much with the penalty but if you dish one out them it should be to all who broke said rule.

    Have we learnt nothing from the years of road racing and the damage it has self inflicted to that sport. Spirit of Enduro for me on this has now been buried, its a professional series, damage is done most by how you handle a bad situation not by who may or may not have created it. No one wins now.

    I would say though a good lesson, always always go to mandatory rider briefings, this was Fabians mistake and for someone so experienced he should have known better, again though was this notified in advance or like this so called rule brought in at late notice, very murky and unfortunately tainted this round and EWS and Enduro.

    Chris Ball seems like a good guy, positive and the right guy for EWS, maybe trying to hard to please everyone.

    Rules are easy to apply when its the same for everyone, make exceptions to the rule and the rules become a joke, this is exactly what has happened.

  15. DH-DAVE

    the more you little bitches whine and argue isnt guna change that 5 minutes. too bad ey…..

    cheater!!!

    1. scriz

      Aw hell! It looks like Lopes found out how to use the Dirt commenting system.

      http://imgur.com/YzqG9mc

  16. Ted Stuckey

    DH DAVE, I’m well aware that “it takes energy to ride” that 1.5km “in practice.”

    And if Barel had chosen to stay nearer the trailhead, he would have saved that MASSIVE (sarcasm) energy output required to coast downhill for 1.5km on a highway shoulder.

    Those who stayed nearer didn’t have to go anywhere. Were they “cheating” by not staying further away?

    Nice to see the immature snark of teenagers is plentiful across the pond in Dirtmag land. Good showing DH-DAVE. Way to give us the 15 year old tosser’s view. Really good stuff.

    And thanks for the “dumbass,” quite a nice irony given your own ignorance displayed.

  17. Stu

    I think DH Dave is just trolling the site and looking to wind people up. With no reasonable comment on the actual article I think all his comments can be ignored.

    The bottom line is that all the riders caught should have been punished, mandatory should mean mandatory and thus have some sort of penalty for missing it, and forums like twitter and Facebook should be left to the kids to post up their woes whilst the grown ups get on with it and have fun on their bikes.

    1. pepe

      Well said. Some people just won’t even read the whole interview and react based on their own diminutive sights of anything wordly, apparently. Tells you a lot about their riding ability. Fabien Barel has done more for the sport than most riders involved in racing, and definitely than most bloggers / posters.. peace !

  18. Ronin

    Best to respond and not react. That way it has hopes of being a positive. Growing pains for discipline that’s exploded. NBD! As far as it’s “spirit” is concerned, as long as you spell it with a $ you won’t kid yourself.

  19. Nachus

    After read and watched videos regarding the penalty..
    1-FB cheat and he is excusing by saying hi missed the mandatory briefing..What if he did it o purpose?he would have the perfect excuse.
    He finally got his penalty as he has been on the edge 3 out of 5 races. EWS had to stopped him as he is one of the most famous riders…imagine if we all do this.

  20. MattM

    If FB had attended the mandatory riders meeting, he would have known the rule of all riders had to ride from the same start area.

  21. James

    Cheating French can’t

  22. Hersey

    Think I will stick to my nice and simple, non bollocks talking dh

  23. JC

    FB is a legend but there have been things in the past which probably explain the venting by other pro riders. I remember a DH WC where there was a memo between riders, engineered by Peaty, to wear full face peaks due to them looking so bad without, albeit more aerodynamic. Fab reportedly whipped his peak off at the last second before his run to gain an advantage. I forget the world cup, must have been ~2001. His outfit at the 2009 worlds was also a bit close to a skinsuit for most peoples liking. Had elastic sleeves i seem to recall. He could have been penalised then.

    I would be interested to know who it was that Graves was making reference too at Rd 1 when he saw people shuttling and said it wasn’t in the spirit of Enduro, anyone know?

  24. DH DAVE

    Haha, just the response I was after, hook line and sinker. In all seriousness though I have read all there is to read on the matter. Whilst fabios punishment may of been a touch ott there’s nothing moaning on a forum can do now. This all makes enduro that much more less appealing to me. And as for “the spirit of enduro” what a load of bollocks. Cheers!

  25. JC

    DH Dave thankyou for more useful input on the matter, your comments are ever valuble. You seem to hate enduro so why become involved in a discussion on it?

    I don’t think any fans are trying to change the penalty, more to discuss whether it was justified. The term ‘spirit of enduro’ is paraphrased from both interviews with Graves and Ball. Do you know what ‘paraphrasing’ means? it means I didn’t come up with it.

    1. scriz

      Graves said in his diary article: “The bottom of Stage 4 was very close to our house for the week, so it was an easy pedal over.” So he left from his house instead of starting from the village, same as Barel ( actually worse if you know the valley ).

      Did Graves not go to the riders’ meeting or does Chris Ball just look the other way for his buddies?

  26. Chris Kimberley

    Barel, Peaty, Lopes, Rachael atherton have all been slagging off barel on twitter

    It is the 3rd time hes broken the rules, so I think thats why theyve come down hard on him

    If hed attended the rider briefing hed have known

    Also there was loads of shuttling at rd 1- the course was open a week b4hand! and I

    It seems that the cool kids at elite level dont like him, does it all go back to him riding DH for Kona when he broke the riders agreement not to go peakless?

    Also there was loads of shuttling at rd 1- the course was open a week b4hand! and I think they are making an example

  27. BritishBruiser

    Having raced at Punta Ala, the shuttling was a huge advantage to those able to use a vehicle – not too mention the many weeks of pre riding that took place on the course – far far more than any WC DH. Enduro needs to make its mind up and implement a rule on pre practice and shuttling in my opinion if it’s going to have the credibility of a fair cycling discipline. You can’t police every track beforehand or uplift road, however, when the rules on this grey area from one EWS round organiser to another vary so much – it’s always going to be a contentious issue.

    The spirit of Enduro is a nice idea but with elite athletes and pay checks involved …. Perhaps the spirit is something that is really flourishing at grassroots but perhaps not so easily achieved in a professional race series.

    Racing bullshit sometimes but we all still love doing it…

  28. Steve

    Most DH racers have moaned and whinged about ANY tiny section of downhill courses that involved peddling… and yet now they are all moving over to enduro and we expect them to adopt “The Spirit of Enduro”?? come on people we are just going to have even more kicking off!!

  29. johnny b good

    ever since skinsuits were banned, this is a fake competition. if you refuse to wear something that can cut several seconds from your time, JUST BECAUSE OF LOOKS, than you should be on a marketing department, not on a race team.

  30. johnny+b+good

    is it pussyer to wear skintsuit, or to refuse to wear skinsuit? i don’t even like it, but if you’re faster (and you’re racig world cup)…

  31. Québecois

    i have read a lot on this issue (like most of us). I think the majority of people are missing the point that Chris Ball and the EWS is making with this penalty. (in this tread, only Bob seems to get it)

    the point is, show up for the fu(king meeting Fab! We are organizing a major event, this takes a lot of effort and really needs to have a clear sets of rules. We have these mandatory meetings prior to the event to that everyone (i mean every fuCkin9 one) is on the same page. Dont assume you know. be there to ask and prevent any “i didnt know…” issues. That the hole point. We will cover where you are expected to start and how the racers will get these (in race and practice) we will cover the helmet issue. Mechanical support. Line options…you see where im getting with this.
    Spirit of enduro is “were in this togeter”

    Fab, pointe toi au meeting d’avant course! Tout ce que j’ai lu dans les dernières semaines aurait surement été prévenu!
    La pénalité sert a démontré que les meetings sont la pour prévenir les fausse interprétation des coureurs.
    vas-y la prochaine fois.

    cheers,

  32. Ashab Defacto

    Wow the spirit of enduro is right here in these endless comments, thanks big smile on my face this morning.

  33. Monkey boy

    Your dreaming if you think there is any spirt, especially where the pros are concerned. They are just interested in the win and money…..it’s a job! FB has been caught out, little bit harsh…. But he will get over it. Very unimpressed with the play ground politics….very unatractive not doing the sport justice…..proves the whole ” look how cool and laid back enduro is ” Is totally false…..
    As for DH Dave; He is entitled to an opinion… Calling him racist for off the cuff remarks is a joke….. Making you look daft….. Freedom of speech chaps…..
    Back to FB; unlucky but there are more races to enter…. As for the UCI…. Just another bureaucratic monster……

  34. Gorideabike

    The whole bitching thing by the Syndicate riders, Lopes, Rachel Atherton etc is lame. Notice Chris bull is riding a top of the range Santa Cruz Nomad… conflict of interest? Noticd from afar that the riders doing all the complaining are all DH riders, no Enduro riders…they obviously don’t like to pedal… EWS doesn’t have it’s house sorted yet… More of an Enduro World Series driven by marketing, rarther than racing. The Uci according to some I have spoken to does remove some elements of this, but introduces other bullshit…. You can’t please everyone… Spirit of Enduro is marketing bullshit…

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