Julien Absalon Retires From World Cup XC

May 14, 2018
by Pinkbike Staff  
Julien Absalon moments from the start.
Photo by Irmo Keizer

Julien Absalon announced his retirement today, just a few days before the XC World Cup in Albstadt, Germany. The French two time Olympic gold medalist announced on Instagram that he would turn his focus to the Absolute-Absalon team and his role as ambassador.

Agence France-Presse reports that a pollen allergy was a major factor in his decision, with him saying “I’ve been suffering from allergies to pollen in the south of France for the past three years, mostly at the start of the season.”

Since the early 2000s Absalon has won numerous World Championships and World Cup Overall titles in addition to his 2004 and 2008 Olympic gold medals. His racing rivalry with Switzerland's Nino Schurter has been the stuff of legends.

More on this story as it develops. We wish Julien all the best in whatever comes next.
Julien Absalon might not have taken the top spot but with a full season ahed where he ends up is anyone s guess.
Photo by Matt Delorme


  • 294 1
 One of the nicest riders I've met. Went to ask him to sign my son's balance bike at the Cairns 2016 World Cup, but his mechanics started talking to him at the same time. I didn't want to interrupt, so started heading off down the pits. He followed me, apologised and asked if I'd been wanting to talk to him and how he could help. He then very happily signed the bike before returning to the film crew he had kept waiting to come over to me! All the best Julien!
  • 44 1
 That’s amazing! Class act.
  • 8 0
 I'm glad you said that. He always came across as a really decent guy in interviews so its good to hear a story backing that up.
  • 6 5
 why is this comment section an emtb discussion? this was one of the best athletes the word cup circuit will ever see. im sad to see him leave but he definitely earned his retirement. one thing I loved about him is how graceful he was in defeat specially with Nino.
  • 1 3
  • 3 0
 What a cool story. Thanks for sharing.
  • 68 1
 You heard it here first... "And maybe some new challenges on différents disciplines" - ABSALON TO ENDURO!!!
  • 28 46
flag brianpark Mod Plus (May 14, 2018 at 20:50) (Below Threshold)
 It's more likely that he'll focus on eMTB racing, but it'd be great to see him dabble in some enduro racing!
  • 11 3
 @brianpark: e-nduro?
  • 8 0
 probably marathon too
  • 35 14
 @brianpark: WTF. If Absalon ever rides an ebike I will set my xc bike on fire. why the f*ck would you even joke about that.
  • 16 1
 @brianpark: I'm pretty sure eBikes don't need pilots, they just race by themselves.
  • 12 6
 @warmerdamj: Then you should start that fire immediately because he rides for Moustache just check his Instagram. No drama in Europe, ebikes are accepted...
  • 82 3
 @warmerdamj: Please send videos of you burning your XC bike. Thanks.
  • 7 0
 @warmerdamj: He already does actually, He's sponsored by Moustache Bikes and uses them regularly for training. Bring the gasoline
  • 1 0
  • 5 2
 So what if he gets paid to ride an e-bike?
Is that any worst than people promoting unhealthy "sports" drinks on their helmets?
Racers have a short career and they try to get whatever they can, when they can.
Very likely you'll see Minnaar, Gwin, MacAskill and all on a e-bike sooner or later.
Some may think it is not a big deal, some may look totally embarassed like Wyn.

That said, if you ever spoke in private to ANY racer or ex-racer about e-bikes, they all laugh about it and think it is a joke.
  • 14 0
 @warmerdamj: @mattwragg This deserves a PB article on its own. Proper interview with warmerdamj to help us follow his logic of burning his own bike because of what someone else rides. Followed by pictures a smiling warmerdamj setting fire to his bike. And yeah, a video of him dancing and yelling "Burn XC bike, burn! Julien happens to ride an e-mtb, now you've got to pay! Burn!"
  • 2 2
 @Whipperman: That's why he had to retire from XCO racing...too much time on the eBike. In all seriousness, I know he was posting all those pictures on social media of himself on the eBike under pressure from sponsorship but I don't like it.
  • 2 0
 He already announced that 2 years ago. He said in the past he wants focus more on the; quote "AM/Enduro" unquote; side of things. And he have already participated numerously (and quite successfully) to Megavalanche Réunion.
  • 3 1
 @PapaStone: Julien was under no pressure to take on Moustache for his Absolute Absalon programme - he picked the partners he wanted and if he didn’t want an ebike supplier all he had to do was no pick one. He has been on the record a number of times talking about how useful a training tool it is.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: Don't understand why your comment was downvoted. I gave a thumbs up. Actually, there has been numerous rumors around Julien getting into e-mtb racing, like this PR (www.directvelo.com/actualite/63272/convoitise-autour-du-championnat-de-france-de-vtt-electrique). If you read about him, you'll see that he's been switching between "regular" MTB and e-MTB for training since quite some time.
  • 2 0
 He drops the spandex
  • 48 0
 Julien for Rampage
  • 13 0
 On his XC bike, the seat fully extended! That would be awkward...Impressive, but awkward ^^
  • 30 1
 He was very candid and entirely inappropriate in this article about his retirement (use Google to translate the page).


Hopefully it's Pauline he's referring to in the second call-out quote.
  • 21 0
 That is some A+ Google Translate work for sure holy mackerel
  • 3 0
 Did not expect that, hilarious
  • 1 0
 And what do you think he meant?
  • 9 15
flag WAKIdesigns (May 15, 2018 at 1:32) (Below Threshold)
 @BenPea: an American finds something inappropriate and talks about it like a 12 year Billy that saw Wendy showing boobs to Rob in the closet - what a surprise... NOOOT - sorry, had to, no hard feelings, just friendly chuckles Smile America First

Haven't found anything even remotely candid in google translators work.
  • 9 0
 That's colloquial/slang french. Polite equivalent would be "I'm still looking forward suffering on bike though".

I think you have "shit bricks" in NA as a vulgar equivalent.

Anyway Julien is saying that despite this retirement he still want to have hard times on bikes (as in doing efforts). Confirming is commitment to go to hell on bikes. Whatever english based expression fits best.

And why, the hell, would you hopefully prefer he's referring to Pauline in this highly furious quote?
  • 5 0
 @fneuf: The quote in Google Translate ends up like "i really want to f*ck on a bike"
  • 3 0
 @StFred Thanks! Now I see why it might trouble some...

Stupid but correct word to word translation:
----- « J'ai encore envie d'en chier sur un vélo » => "I still want to shit on a bike".
And this one would still rises a few eyebrows! Google neural machine translation engine is quite creative here.
  • 7 1
 @fneuf: it literally means "to shit from the effort of riding", which may seem weird to non frogs, but is very commonly used here to describe anything that is difficult.
- "Smile man, you won!"
- "Yeah, but I did a poo."
  • 2 3
 @BenPea: love it! I'll write to the Swedish King and Polish Prome Minister. We need it too
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Bring on the European Poonion.
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: Though "poo", as fun as it gets, isn't the best translation. "Shit" is the adequate word.

In Absalon's quote, as in typical french for this expression/meaning you would use "shit" (chier) not the poo (caca) word, that posess a childish aroma (as it is mostly reserved to child/parents conversations). By using "poo" you add a comic effect by mixing language registers (and this not the intent of Absalon's) or at least surprise your conversation partner. Because this french expression is just completely plain vulgar.

- "Smile man, you won!"
- "Yeah, but I did shit bricks." // "Yeah, but it was a bitch" // "Yeah, but it was a motherf*cker of a run" // or whatever already existing graphical expression Smile
  • 1 0
 @fneuf: All true. I'm struggling to think of a proper equivalent in English that people actually use, apart from the rather banal "it was really tough"...
  • 2 1
 I wasn't expecting it, but I was down with the first translation. Still want to "F" on a bike? F yeah, man. That's the first I ever heard of that -- but why don't the rest of us have this goal? Why has this never occurred to any of the rest of us? We love riding... Presumably, we enjoy the other thing... it would be tough, but not impossible. Kind of like a 720 or a back flip. Maybe a little easier. Why is this not more peoples' goals?
  • 2 0
 lol best retirement line i've seen yet!
  • 1 0
 No more hemaroids guy,, no more aspercreme e e eeem
  • 13 1
 Sounds like he's gearing up for his post-pro life as a Claritin spokesman. Well played, Julien.
  • 1 2
 I was taking anti-allergic medication containing steroids when I was 15. Could do 110 push ups and 100 squats. In a way... I miss those days. All the power to him
  • 9 0
 Absalon was a champion on and off the bike. he kicked my ass many times. In Cairns at last years Worlds we were both in the same bottle shop, we had both ridden their straight after the race. He asked me all about my race and posed for a quick photo before asking where the party was that night.
  • 5 0
 Would be interesting to see where he places at ews with a year or two of dh training. He's an olympic gold medalist... twice. Hes got the mindset I would guess to make something happen
  • 9 1
 Although he improved his descending in recent years in xc it was never his strong point. I would be very surprised if he went to enduro.
  • 12 0
 I’d say the chances of seeing him at an EWS are slim to zero.
  • 3 0
 @mattwragg: I'd agree. Its going to be marathon racing for a few years like Bart has done
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: Would not be that definitive here. He said in the past he wants focus more on the; quote "AM/Enduro" unquote; side of things, have already participated numerously (and quite successfully) to Megavalanche Réunion...
  • 3 0
 Why would he have to excel at it? If he likes to do it and he can get the support, go for it. Seems like good fun.
  • 6 0
 He's 37 and had a good 15 year run at the top. Best of luck to him.
  • 3 0
 I have pollen allergy. That is about all that makes me similar to Absalon. I wish I could be nearly as fit though. It was amazing watching him ride, and I hope he finds his proper place in post-racer-career MTB.
  • 4 0
 2 Olympic golds, 5 World championships (+ 1 JR world championship), 7 World cup overall, 14 national titles and 33 WC wins = Legend
  • 6 0
 Goodbye Superhero...
  • 2 0
 @warmerdamj he allready is promoting a e bike called the moustache ????. Here is the article.


Please post pictures of the burning xc
  • 6 1
  • 3 0
 Really sucks that he broke his collarbone last year and wasn't able to finish on a high note.
  • 4 0
 Wait a sec. Is Michelin making green tires again?!
  • 2 0
 Glad I'm not the only one who noticed that. Hello 1999
  • 1 0
 One of the finest athletes in the sport. Gotta admire the tenacity to maintain a position at the top for as long as he did, regardless of your affinity with XC racing.
  • 1 0
 Grateful for his statesmanship for the sport and loving to hate him when he beat Nino, lol! We'll miss you on the WC circuit, Julien!!
  • 2 0
 I would love to see an EWS racer go to XCO:-)
  • 1 0
 @headshot Jared Graves is known to partake in the odd XC race, like taking 4th at Oceanias a year or so back
  • 3 2
 A great racer but largely overshadowed by Nino in recent years.
  • 1 0
 Hope the other guys step it up and make Nino work for it.
  • 6 0
 Did you miss the fact Nino got beaten this year? And in fact got beaten last year at a few non world cup races as well. Gaze, Cooper, and several other riders are all at a level they can match Nino now
  • 2 1
 So Abasalon to Haibike? LOL
  • 1 0
 Julien for (UCI) President! Wink
  • 11 10
 Sam Hill you legend!
  • 1 0
  • 2 5
 Great. Now I know the name of only 1 XC pro!
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