The official news being that Barel is off but Tracy Moseley is staying with Kona.
A brief statement from Kona said:
We’re launching our Grass Roots program in partnership with Nissan next week. We’ve focused on the top end of the sport for several years now we want to spend some time on the up and coming stars of the future.
The official word from Kona on Fabien Barel is as follows:
KONAWORLD – Kona is family. From the dealers and bike designers to the warehouse crew and the athletes, anyone who has been associated with the company in its 20 year history can attest to unique bonds formed from working with Kona. And when a family member leaves the homestead there is always a heavy sense of melancholy for everyone involved. But, after five years, two World Championships (and a Silver Medal), several World Cup victories and podiums and three French National Championship titles, Fabien Barel is moving on.
“Fabien exemplifies what it takes to be a championship rider,” said Kona’s Jacob Heilbron. “It has been a pleasure for all of us at Kona to observe his meticulous attention to detail in his training, pre-race preparation and equipment. More than any other Kona athlete, Fabien worked extremely closely with Kona product managers Paddy White and Dr. Dew to develop and refine a competition bike that met the standard of a world champion. When you see Fabien race in a World Cup event, you see a rider who’s completely in tune with himself, his bike and the terrain. It is a standard of riding that very few cyclists achieve in their career.”
Barel had similar sentiments.
“We all know what racing is about and how every detail is important. Having the support of a company is a big part of it! For the last 5 years, Kona has been the reservoir of inspiration for my riding and my motivation. The Kona brand is very diverse, between freeride, cross country and gravity, and it has been a pleasure to be a part of the DH racing team and to help that image grow. I wish everyone were as fortunate to work as closely together as we have. I have worked with Kona longer than any other brand and the Kona groove will keep spreading for me, whatever I do. I intensely thank Kona for the support and for accepting me as part of their family.”
In recognition of Barel’s stellar Kona career and his consummate professionalism both on and off of the bike, Kona has developed a Special Edition Fabien Barel signature Stab Supreme. The special edition bike is ball burnished and highlighted with world champion stripes and Fabien Barel’s name on the top tube. With only 178 made in the world it is sure to be a Kona fans collector’s item.
Barels future plans have not yet been finalized but you can be certain that whenever he is in the starting gate there is a great chance that he will end up on the podium.
Au revoir, Fabien, et bonne chance.