Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

Nickname: Fabio

Age: 29

PoB: France

Team: Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team

WorldCup Overall 2008: 6

Career highlights: 2 x World Champion

Favourite food: Mum's Lasagne

For Peaty, he just cannot get his mits on World Championship gold. For Barel it is the World Cup overall that eludes him. There is no doubting the Frenchman's ability, narrowly missing out on his third Worlds gold in 2007 at the hands of the phenomenon that is Sam Hill. He clearly has the ability to rise to the occasion, but seems to find it hard to maintain the focus and consistency needed to keep it together throughout the season.

It would be wrong to count Barel out of the running this year. At 29 years of age, he has plenty of experience, and is far from over the hill. And while he may not have won the world cup overall, he is no stranger to the podium, with a career total of 19 podiums finishes to his name.

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia


Having moved over to Mondraker for 2008, he has had a full season to get used to his new rig, fine tuning it ready for 2009. He has been busy in the off season too, organising and participating in 'Urge Kenya', a downhill charity fundraiser. Despite injuring his shoulder during the race he still managed an amazing third place on the relentless 24km downhill run. Does this hint at a dedication and determination yet to be seen on the World Cup circuit?

Barel is an active mountain bike ambassador, keen to promote the sport and advance the technology, approaching races with a calculated mindset. He will be all too aware of the influx of young, up and coming racers on the scene. He will also be aware that Peaty won his world cup overalls towards the latter half of his (ongoing) career.

read double world champion Fabien Barel subaru/mondraker downhill mountain bike riders 2009 world cup preview