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Marine Cabirou, mountain bike champion: "My competitors are also my friends"


The 25-year-old mountain biker collects medals. Ahead of the next competition season which opens this Saturday, March 25 with a first race in Millau, she confides in her career, her models and her ambitions.

Go-getter but well grounded.

Once again this year, Marine Cabirou, the French downhill mountain bike champion, will set off at the top of the steep slopes.

No question of pressing the brakes in this discipline, the most spectacular of mountain biking, where the objective is to be the fastest despite the obstacles.

Because nothing stops the vice-world champion, who has just recovered from three fractured vertebrae during the World Cup in Leogang, in June 2022.

The sportswoman from Millau, in the Aveyron, a region from which she has kept the accent, started mountain biking at the age of 10, through her older brother, who takes her riding after school.

She enrolled in the city's cycling school and gradually discovered downhill mountain biking.

On the marked trails, where the challenge is to have fun with the obstacles, she rushes headlong.

At 18, despite her title of junior world champion, she chose to continue her studies, to ensure her future beyond this rapidly developing discipline.

Ahead of next season, she takes stock of the place of women in her evolving discipline and her goals for the near future.

On video, Marine Cabirou, vice-world downhill mountain bike champion

Madame Figaro

.- It's a special season that opens since you resume after an injury.

How do you apprehend it?

Marine Cabirou.-

Downhill mountain biking remains a risky sport, I fractured three vertebrae last July (

during the 2022 World Cup, Ed.


It's a big injury for which you have to take the time to recover.

When you are a top athlete, you always want to come back quickly, but there I decided not to participate in the last season to help my recovery.

Today, I have no after-effects, I no longer have any pain and it's nice to go back to cycling like before and to feel like myself.

After returning to competition, you never know what to expect, especially when you haven't raced for a whole season.

But it's an additional motivation because we have to get back to the level.

Now, for me, the goal is necessarily victory.

And the program for the season will be the eight rounds of the World Cup, the World Championship and a few small parallel races.

Extreme sports are still often considered the field of men.

Have you felt these sexist stereotypes in your career?

It's true that mountain biking was originally considered a sport for men.

When I was doing my first competitions, we were two, three girls.

It was complicated because it has always been seen as a boy's sport, but today it is changing.

When you ride in the World Cup now, you see a lot of women and in the clubs there are more and more young girls who are starting mountain biking.

In general, sport evolves with society, women have a growing place in sports.

Between sportswomen still in the minority, is there a form of sisterhood that is expressed?

It is clear that being few in number brings us closer together.

It's a small environment, we all know each other and today my competitors are also friends.

In downhill mountain biking, you fight against a time, not against a person, it allows for a good atmosphere.

Growing up, did you have any female role models who inspired you?

I would like to quote Anne-Caroline Chausson.

She was the legend: she was 13 times world champion in mountain biking and she won the 2008 Olympics in BMX.

It was the personality that dominated the sport and allowed the discipline to evolve.

Since I have been mountain biking the competitions for men and women are exactly the same

Marine Cabirou

In the organization and media coverage of competitions, do you perceive differences in treatment between men and women?

Since I started mountain biking the competitions for men and women are exactly the same.

The tracks are identical.

And in downhill mountain biking, I don't think there is a difference in interest.

It's a sport that is just beginning to become popular, people who are interested in it are taken by the event and the general dynamism and they watch girls as much as boys.

Within these competitions, which have only existed since the 1990s, do you still see changes in the discipline?

Yes, the sport is changing, especially this year because we should have more broadcasting on the big channels.

With the visibility, the public also becomes aware of what downhill mountain biking is.

People thought we were going straight down a field when it's a fairly thoughtful sport, with choices of trajectory.

There is a lot of analysis and work behind it.

You communicate in English on your social networks, is it because there is more recognition abroad?

The sport in France has evolved a lot, most of the current drivers are French but the vast majority of the public remains English-speaking.

You travel a lot, how do you live it?

Indeed, from May to October, we only travel to go from one race to another.

Sometimes it's not easy, we make this choice of life because we like to move but we are happy to come home from time to time.

Read alsoNantenin Keïta, Paralympic athlete: "It's not because it's not easy that it's impossible"

Source: lefigaro

All life articles on 2023-03-23

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