July 26, 2006 – A broken foot has made for a very unfortunate end to a tough season for current reigning DH World Champion and Kona/Les Gets Factory Team rider Fabien Barel. Barel’s quest for a third straight world championship title is no longer a reality due to injury. The injury occurred during a Downhill race at the Kona Groove Approved Levi Bike Park in Finland.
During the race Fabien slipped a pedal and caught his foot between the pedal and the ground. At first we had hoped that it was just a sprain and he would be able to return to competition shortly. Further tests proved that analysis wrong and showed that Barel broke a small weight bearing bone in his foot.
While the bone is small the seriousness of the injury is not. The recovery requires two months of no weight bearing on the bone and foot. If not allowed to heal correctly the bone will die and the injury becomes even more acute and surgeries and bone graphs will be required. It will likely be at least three months before Barel will be able to get back on the bike.
Barel was of course extremely disappointed. “It’s all part of the rule in bike racing. It’s been a very tough season mentally. I feel like I have been riding very well but have no paper to show for it,” said Barel. Teammate Tracey Moseley remarked, “Fabien has been riding as well, if not better than I have ever seen him ride. It’s a shame he’s out and won’t get to prove it. The results this year certainly don’t represent his abilities.”
Team Manager Mark Peterson said, “This is not the first time we’ve had injured riders. At this level of the sport it is bound to happen sometime during their career, you just hope it’s not something that will end their career. Fabien will be back next year in Kona colors and I’m sure he’ll be on a mission to prove he remains one of the best riders in the world.”
We wish him a speedy and full recovery.