Fabien Barel proved his recovery from a knee injury is going well with a podium finish in the first round of the French national downhill series this past weekend.
The small French ski resort of Lac Blanc, near the recent World Cup venue in La Bresse, hosted the weekend of racing, and Barel was excited to get on his bike after walking the track and seeing that it would be an interesting course to race. The track was short but filled with technical sections and loose dusty turns.
Race day dawned a little cloudy, and some riders were concerned about possible afternoon thunderstorms. Barel's first run went well. He rode within his limits and hit all of his lines although he suffered in the lower parts where he could not pedal with as much power needed to do the hard lines. However, he still qualified second behind Michael Pascal.
Barel made only slight mistakes in the final and logged almost the same time as in qualifying. He was riding with a knee brace that restricted his motion somewhat and caused pain, but he still ended up in third.
After the race Barel said he was happy to be back on a bike, but a little frustrated to not be able to push during his race runs as much as he used to. Yet he knows he needs to be patient and continue his recovery, especially while racing with his knee brace.
Barel and his Subaru Pro teammates will head next to the gravity World Cup in Fort William this weekend.