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Absalon by the Numbers

Melanie Leveau — 20. February 2017 — TeamSpirit
TeamSpirit

Julien Absalon is about to kick off his 18th season as a pro MTB rider. Back in 1999, nobody – not even he himself – would have thought he would become the legend that he is today. We dug into the archives to give you some insights into exactly how successful he has been over the length of his career – just in case anyone needed statistical evidence to be convinced that Julien Absalon is indeed the best mountain biker of all time!

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

In September 2016 the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Andorra celebrated the milestone of its 200th event. On this occasion, Julien Absalon won his 33rd World Cup race which means he won a sixth of the races since the first one in 1991.

Absalon won 33 out of the 117 World Cups he could have taken part in (his first World Cup event was in Napa Valley in 1999, his 1st year as an U23 rider, and 83 World Cup events had already taken place by then) That’s 28,2% of the World Cup events since his debut in the series!

And if we look past the top step of the podium, Absalon finished in the top three a total of 62 times - at 53% of the races.

1st 

  • Durango (USA), 2001
  • Mont-Sainte-Anne (CAN), 2003
  • Schladming (AUT), 2004
  • Spa Francorchamps (BEL), 2005
  • Madrid (ESP), 2005
  • Spa Francorchamps (BEL), 2006
  • Madrid (ESP), 2006
  • Fort William (GBR), 2006
  • Offenburg (GER), 2007
  • Champéry (SUI), 2007
  • Mont-Sainte-Anne (CAN), 2007
  • St Félicien (CAN), 2007
  • Houffalize (BEL), 2008
  • Offenburg (GER), 2008
  • Madrid (ESP), 2008
  • Mont-Sainte-Anne (CAN), 2008
  • Bromont (CAN), 2008
  • Houffalize (BEL), 2009
  • Offenburg (GER), 2009
  • Madrid (ESP), 2009
  • Mont-Sainte-Anne (CAN), 2009
  • Offenburg (GER), 2010
  • Offenburg (GER), 2011
  • Houffalize (BEL), 2012
  • La Bresse (FRA), 2012
  • Mont-Sainte-Anne (CAN), 2013
  • Pietermaritzburg (RSA), 2014
  • Cairns (AUS), 2014
  • Albstadt (GER), 2014
  • Albstadt (GER), 2015
  • La Bresse (FRA), 2016
  • Mont-Sainte-Anne (CAN), 2016
  • Vallnord (AND), 2016

2nd

  • Curaçao (NED), 2006
  • Houffalize (BEL), 2007
  • Pietermaritzburg (RSA), 2009
  • Champéry (SUI), 2009
  • Dalby Forest (GBR), 2010
  • Val di Sole (ITA), 2010
  • Pietermaritzburg (RSA), 2011
  • Dalby Forest (GBR), 2011
  • Val di Sole (ITA), 2013
  • Mont-Sainte-Anne (CAN), 2014
  • Windham (USA), 2014
  • Méribel (FRA), 2014
  • Mont-Sainte-Anne (CAN), 2015
  • Windham (USA), 2015
  • Val di Sole (ITA), 2015
  • Albstadt (GER), 2016
  • Lenzerheide (SUI), 2016

3rd

  • Sankt Wendel (GER), 2003
  • Fort William (GBR), 2003
  • Grouse Mountain (USA), 2003
  • Kaprun (AUT), 2003
  • Madrid (ESP), 2004
  • Houffalize (BEL), 2004
  • Willingen (GER), 2005
  • Mont-Sainte-Anne (CAN), 2006
  • Nove Mesto na Morave (CZE), 2011
  • Nove Mesto na Morave (CZE), 2013
  • Nove Mesto na Morave (CZE), 2015
  • Cairns (AUS), 2016 

In terms of overall classification, Julien Absalon, also comes out on top, with no less than seven Elite wins, two second places, and three third places. He was standing in the top positions of the overall rankings 75% of the time.

In terms of longevity, Absalon also comes out on top with more than 15 years, one month and 19 days between his first and his most recent World Cup win.

Left: Durango 2001 with Roland Green (4th), Kashi Leuchs (2nd), Cadel Evans (3rd) and José Antonio Hermida Ramos (5th); Right: Vallnord 2016 with Maxime Marotte (4th), Ondrej Cink (2nd), Pablo Rodriguez (3rd) and Stéphane Tempier (5th)

Most successful World Cup locations

Mont-Sainte-Anne is the World Cup location where Absalon won the most (6 times) but it seems pretty logical since the Canadian event has been on the World Cup schedule every year since 1991 (with the exception of 1998 and 2010 when they organized the World Championships).

On the other hand, the German town of Offenburg that hosted five rounds of the World Cup never saw another winner than Absalon who felt like at home there.

Also to be noted his two victories on home soil in La Bresse in 2012 and 2016. Racing in front of his own crowd made him unbeatable.

Best enemy

The recent rivalry between Julien Absalon and Nino Schurter tends to makes us forget about the other great battles that the Frenchman has had with other talented riders. His ex-teammate, the famous José Antonio Hermida, fell to Absalon no less than eight times at World Cup events, the last time in Mont-Sainte-Anne in 2013.

The World Cup wasn’t the only competition where Hermida was the victim of a dominant Absalon performance. The 2004 Olympics Games in Athens, where they shared the podium with Bart Brentjens, will definitely remain as one of the greatest battles between the two riders.

The other riders defeated once at World Cups are: Kashi Leuchs, Bart Brentjens, Roel Paulissen, Cédric Ravanel, Goeff Kabush, Lukas Flückiger, Ralf Näf, Manuel Fumic, Mathias Flückiger, Maxime Marotte, Victor Koretzky and Ondrej Cink.

UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

Absalon won his first World Championships in 1998 when he was still a Junior. Since then, he has won on seven other occasions or 42,1% of the 19 World Championships he has taken part in!

World Championship victories:

  • Mont-Sainte-Anne (CAN) 1998, Junior
  • Vail (USA) 2001, U23
  • Kaprun (AUT) 2002, U23
  • Les Gets (FRA) 2004, Elite
  • Livigno (ITA) 2005, Elite
  • Rotorua (NZL) 2006, Elite
  • Fort William (GBR) 2007, Elite
  • Hafjell (NOR) 2014, Elite

On top of these gold medals, he also won two silver and two bronze.

UEC European Championships

With five Elite titles, Absalon is also the record holder of victories at the European Championships. He also finished second on four occasions.

Before entering the Elite category, he had already won European Gold three times in the Junior category in 1998 and in the U23 category in 2001 and 2002).

French Championships

The blue-white-red jersey of the French Champion is definitely one of Absalon’s favorite. Every year, he puts a lot of effort into winning the coveted Elite National Champion jersey and he’s been successful for the past 14 years! Since he entered the Elite category, no one has ever managed to beat him.

Absalon also won a French title in the Junior category (1998) and three in the U23 category (2001, 2002 and 2003).

“Triplé”

And if consistency ever comes into question - Absalon managed the feat of winning the National, Continental and World Championships in the same year (1998, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2014) – no less than five times.

Olympic Games

The Frenchman took part in four Olympics and won two of them (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008). He is the only mountain bike rider – male or female – to have achieved this.

 

Julien Absalon never started counting his victories. Apart from Championships and World Cups, he doesn’t know how many races he won around the globe. But one thing is for sure; he left his tire prints in all corners of the world and will remain for a long time as the most successful cross-country mountain biker out there.

 

 

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