Barel returns to World Cup podium after femur fracture

Frenchman back racing with the best

Fabian Barel (Mondraker Factory Team) showed himself back in action with the world's elite downhillers at the opening round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa this weekend. 

Barel had suffered a horrific injury following a crash last season just prior to the opening round of the 2010 World Cup in early May.  He broke his femur and underwent surgery to pin it back together.  The rest of his season was dedicated to recovery and rehabilitation.

With no UCI points after missing last season, Barel was the last one down the track for qualifying.  Despite catching some back markers along the way, he pedaled to a sixth place in a good, clean run.

In the final run, under sunny and dry conditions, Barel pushed himself hard on the upper part and rode clean and fast, giving him the third fastest split time. He knew he would have to save energy for the pedaling as he is not yet 100 percent recovered from his injury.

Everything was going to plan until he landed one of the jumps in the middle section a little hard on the saddle and broke the rail. Maybe this gave him the motivation to stand up and pedal harder.

By the time he came into the final four cross section, he was battling to focus due to his fatigue and slammed hard into a rock with his rear wheel, loosing air as he struggled to stay on his lines, but he managed to hold it to the finish and earn himself his first World Cup podium finish for 2011.

The Frenchman ended up in fourth place, 4.246 seconds after Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing), Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Gee Atherton (Commencal).

Barel heads next to Lourdes, France for a regional race and training camp.

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