Fabien Barel, French athlete and three times downhill World Champion with a long and bright career also in the field of enduro, is now Canyon’s Team Manager and keeps playing a leading role in mountain bike development and overall in the bike industry. But there’s more! Fabien is also a huge fan of the Finale area, and he feels a deep connection with it. Here is where he won an EWS race after a serious accident. Here he also raced in the most recent EWS-E and, as soon as he was asked to become an Ambassador for the FOR YOU CARD project and to be the protagonist of our new video, he agreed without a second thought. Now that the video is ready, we had a chat with him and got his opinion on the project.
Hi Fabien, your FOR YOU CARD video has just been released. Thank you for your time and congrats on your performance! Turns out you are a great actor too! Did you have fun shooting the video?
Clearly! I mean, it was great fun as always going down in Finale and having good time with the community is always a pleasure and, as you can see and you will see on the video, it was quite some acting moment that we had to put in play just to have some fun. Above the fact that I’d been drinking beers right away at 8 am after my coffee and nice cappuccino, all the rest was actually pretty fun!
Your career has taken you around the world on your bike. Is trail maintenance a problem that you see in other places or is it more of an Italian issue?
It is clear that communities in each area of the world are very important to support the trail maintenance. We got a chance to have a massive network of trail around the world that brings us everywhere from the hiking history and creating bicycle trails is requiring quite some maintenance to keep it super nice and clean. I do heavily think that the For You Card initiative is actually one of the nicest projects that I have ever seen in mountain bike communities and I think Finale and the Outdoor Region being leading this idea for the rest of the world is absolutely fantastic.
The FOR YOU CARD project wants to involve both tourists that use the trails and all those businesses that benefit from them through outdoor tourism. Do you think this is a "fair" model and do you think it will work?
As I always say, the communities are providing the real service to the collectivity to create dynamism around the area so it does massively impact the tourism. Having the commercial aspect of the tourism like the shops, the restaurants, the hotels, etc. providing the small dynamic to be able to maintain those trail is completely making sense, is totally fair and this is why we have on the example of Finale a so positive dynamic from all the commerce around and the shops for that project.
In the Finale Outdoor Region there are plenty of trails. What do you see in its future? An expanded trail network or a greater focus on maintenance?
Yes, Finale Outdoor Region’s always been leading, I would say, the trail enduro project that has been happening in the world and in the global industry. It’s a place that is unique in the world and seeing the network enlarging is obviously a fantastic idea, but also and mainly having a really nice trail maintenance on what is existing is for me also very key to see the infrastructure like shuttles, shops being even more installed into the collectivity and into Finale and obviously push the collectivity to increase and invest even more.
As a regular of the Finale area, where do you think the Finale Outdoor Region stands out and what in your opinion should be improved?
I do see, as I said, Finale leading a lot of the new approach into the trail mountain bike business tourism for our pleasure as just rider and I do see absolutely fantastic the dynamic that there is there and I do see also an increase for the future of the investment from the hotels, the shops to go towards this cycling community and, what I think in terms of evolution, I do see more investment from the industry and, hopefully, more brains coming to invest also along the shops and the collectivity itself but having more involvement of the industry to again rise the level of the territory and the Outdoor Region.
Time to wrap this up: what message would you like to send out to our readers to encourage them to use the For You Card? Here for you some backstage shots! Many thanks to Gabriele Canu Feelms and to all the people acting in the video!
There is only one way, it’s very simple, there is only one way to actually have amazing trails to ride in Finale! It is to use this card so we make sure that all the top builders are going out there doing a great job on the trails and also keep nature as beautiful as it is around the trails and this global dynamic is something absolutely amazing in Finale and to keep it going… just have to use the card in the shops!
Thank you so much Fabien, see you on the trails of the Finale Outdoor Region!
Here for you some backstage shots! Many thanks to Gabriele Canu Feelms and to all the people acting in the video!