Final showdown in Finale Ligure

At the start of the year, five athletes came together to create the Canyon Factory Enduro Team (CFET). Spearheaded by the renowned Fabien Barel, the team achieved its first impressive Enduro World Series (EWS) results six months ago in Punta Ala (ITA). Fabien Barel won the men’s race and the CFET came in second overall when the remaining results were tallied up. Since then the wheels have kept on rolling and the results have been racking up. After an exhausting season, the CFET gathered last weekend for the season final of the EWS in Finale Ligure (ITA). Following the motto “start the way you intend to finish” all eyes were on Fabien Barel. Victory was not to be, however, in the end Fabien achieved a third place EWS #7 race result, which consequently awarded him with a third place overall finish in the final EWS Overall Men ranking. Thanks to a great team effort, the Canyon Factory Enduro Team can celebrate a well-deserved third place in the EWS Overall Team ranking. So, after all the sweat, aching legs and exhausted lungs the CFET team have two podium results in the EWS overall rankings under their belt after their inaugural season – a fantastic start for the young team!

Canyon Factory Enduro Team 3rd Overall EWS

While the overall EWS titles were already sealed after round 6 in Val d’Isere (FRA), the battle for Ines Thoma and Fabien Barel was fierce until the very end of the season. Stage after stage, the ambitious young German rider, Ines, was racing head-to-head with the Dutch Anneke Beerten to secure fourth place in the overall ranking – a result which Ines was determined to achieve. Fabien Barel had a phenomenal opening victory in Punta Ala but the rest of his season was no walk in the park. With such strong competition, Fabien Barel had to ride flat out to land his podium finish in the overall ranking.

The final leg of the EWS was a six stage race over two days. Bearing in mind the skill set of the CFET this final race should have played out to their advantage. The stages were a mixture of dusty single tracks, scattered rock gardens, unforgiving downhill shoots and of course relentless uphill climbs. Unfortunately, it did not work out like this for Joe Barnes, Maxi Dickerhoff and Marco Buehler. Later in the third stage, on the narrow, tight yet flowy switchback section, the CFET found their rhythm and pulled back the missing time. They were back on track and back in the race!

Fabien Barel // Foto: Maxi Dickerhoff

The team momentum was abruptly stopped when the fourth and final stage of day one was cancelled after a severe crash. Although the time in the saddle was over, the riders got together to collect their thoughts and share their experiences in order to build a strategic plan for the following day and the remaining stages.

The tactics proved to be spot on – re-energised and raring to go the team set out to achieve their goals. Fabien, Joe, Ines and Marco were out of the saddle, pedaling hard and concentrating on the technical course. Fabien and Ines managed to regain the lost time from the day before, while for Joe and Marco the race was now more about self-perseverance and giving every last ounce of strength to bring home a solid final race.

Joe Barnes // Foto: Maxi Dickerhoff

Stages 5 and 6 were lined with spectators. Scattered along the key points the Italian crowd, dressed in the recently released CFET fan jerseys cheered on the athletes. The bikes were rolling, legs were pumping – this was the final push! Fabien and Ines were steaming ahead, absorbing every bit of the motivation given to them by their fans.

Five times Fabien Barel was called onto the podium that Sunday evening. Starting with his second place in the category 30 + in the SuperEnduro ranking, then his third place in the SuperEnduro men ranking and the three crucial third place results in the EWS # 7 Men, EWS Overall Men and EWS Overall Team rankings. For Ines although her fourth place in the EWS # 7 Women and EWS Overall Women ranking denied her of that step onto the podium – she was still given the chance when the CFET team stood united to celebrate their third place EWS Overall Team ranking finish.

With this excellent result, the Canyon Factory Enduro Team is finishing its first season and is proud to have ridden and battled amoung the leading athletes. The team riders have demonstrated nothing short of world-class sportsmanship from the very beginning of this first EWS season. CFET team manager Flo Goral says: “This was an extremely exciting first season for us. Fabien Barel, Joe Barnes, Maxi Dickerhoff, Ines Thoma and Marco Buehler work together as a good team. They have performed well and we were able to reap the first fruits. We are very pleased with the results of this first season and are looking forward to next year! ”

Now, the team can enjoy the well-deserved winter break and recover from the stresses and strains. Meanwhile, if you want to dig deeper into the world of the Canyon Factory Enduro Team, check out the clip “This is enduro”. This short documentary shows the team at the fifth EWS stop in Whistler and the challenges of the daily race routine.

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