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Enduro World Series Update: Unauthorized Shuttling?

UPDATE August 14, 2013

Fabien Barel has now issued the following statement regarding the incident. Let us know what YOU think of this whole thing in the comments section below.

We were lucky enough to ride and race this weekend in the homeland of Mountain biking.

5 stages, of which 4 out of the bike park, made us discover a different face of whistler. The terrain was really technical and proper to all-mountain bikes. A really good & diverse course design made up really good racing on a fantastic loop around the valley.

Unfortunately a misunderstanding between Canyon's team management and the race organizers around the rules applied during the training sessions brought Fabien into dispute after he was issued a 5mn penalty. The definition of shuttling in during the training period (Friday and Saturday) has not been properly defined in writing to everyone and the Organisation considered shuttling as driving around the valley. Several riders have been reported as doing so, and even one rider has been caught directly by Crankworx management and sent back to the village (without consequences). Fabien did not feel the situation was handled properly by the organization as there was a lack of definition and no proof beside Fabien's forthcoming honesty regarding the fact that there was a lack of clarity in the rules applied.

" I have been honest and clearly mentioned to the Organisation that I did drive 1.5km from my apartment down to creek side with my car on highway 99. At first, I did accept the facts especially if it was a misunderstanding from my team manager but then I realized that the case of many other riders had been simply overlooked. There is no written rule about shuttling or driving around anywhere from the organisation and there is no way to shuttle up the stages in whistler as they are in the middle of the mountain." Fabien says." The EWS is a new series that is building its professionalism and ruling event by event. I have been the first one to help develop it to keep the spirit of Enduro and Fair Play for all riders. I just feel that Organisation has made an example of me to create fear among the others of what could happen but I do not agree with this type of procedure!"

Despite this added pressure on his shoulders, Fabien still raced 100% on Sunday to get a 3rd place overall by taking 3rd, 3rd, 1st, 4th, 2nd place in the stages respectively. The 5 minute penalty has of course had a huge impact on his ranking bringing him down to 49th place.

" I still really enjoyed the weekend and the Organisation has been doing a great job on the course. The loop was a real enduro...  "

UPDATE 8-10-13, 11:45pm PST

Race Director, Chris Ball sent this message below:

Following a number of requests for information surrounding the five minute penalty issued to Fabien Barel in Crankworx Whistler we would like to clarify the situation. To avoid riders gaining an unfair advantage and to maintain the spirit of the race on the long liaison stages in the Whistler valley, Crankworx created a rule that outlined no outside assistance (including using a vehicle to assist) would be allowed during the event. This rule was further explained and clarified in a mandatory athlete's breakfast scheduled on Friday morning and hosted by the Crankworx Whistler organisers. Rider's who chose not to attend this briefing missed crucial information regarding course changes, details of shuttling and race specific information. We are not responsible for educating riders who choose to miss planned briefings. Following the submission of evidence by a number of sources and a discussion with Fabien where he cooperated fully, admitted to a lack of knowledge of the rule due to team communications and an admission of his use of a vehicle, the organisation chose to apply a five minute penalty to his race time, removing any advantage that may have been gained from his use of the vehicle. We are all now looking forward to an incredible race here tomorrow.
Regards, Chris Ball, Director, Enduro World Series

UPDATE 8-10-13, 9pm

Check out Adam Craig's response to Lopes

Enduro World Series Update: Unauthorized Shuttling?

UPDATE: We have received the following information from the race organizers:

Following an incident during yesterday’s official training, Fabien Barel has been assigned a 5 minute time penalty for a violation of the Outside Assistance Rules.“Based on all of the evidence available and following both Fabien and his team’s cooperation, the Chief Of Course has assigned Fabien a 5 minute penalty that will be attached to his overall time in tomorrow’s event,” says Crankworx General Manager and EWS Board Member Darren Kinnaird. “The EWS and Crankworx have worked tirelessly to ensure that we establish an ethos of fairness, mutual respect and equality between all competitors. Because of this, it is critical that we are diligent about enforcing our rules as effectively as we can. We would like to remind all athletes and teams to attend rider briefings and obey Crankworx Outside Assistance Regulations.”

As of now, no further information is available regarding other riders mentioned on Brian Lopes Twitter feed:

Enduro World Series Update: Unauthorized Shuttling?

A quick check of the rulebook reveals a categorical statement about shuttling not being allowed (and leading to DQ if ignored):

Now, it's not entirely clear whether that rule applies to the whole event or just the race (not the first time we've seen ambiguity in how rulebooks are written up). In the absence of a clear indication to the contrary, it would have to seem like this rule applies to the whole event. Additionally, it appears that the riders were explicitly told not to shuttle at the rider briefings, hence the incomprehension as to why any offenders were not DQed at this point.

We'll keep you updated as the story develops further.

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