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Introducing: Julien Camellini

While most were hitting everything in sight and pinging themselves into all sorts of shapes on the top half of the Fort Bill course back in June, Monsieur Camellini was tackling the top half of the Fort Bill as if it was a stretch of fire road. Both wheels glued to the ground, smooth as you like, kind of reminded me of someone…

Hardly surprising as he hails from Beaulieu-sur-Mer, which puts him smack bang in French Downhill Mafia country.

As he’s just been signed by Commençal Oxbow, to join Anne-Caroline Chausson, Romain Saladini and Stephane Girard (Nico Vouilloz’s trainer), we thought it would be a good time to catch up with the twenty one year old.

Descent World: Last season did not start too well at Fort William?

Julien Camellini: It was my first world cup with the Q-bikes DH prototype and I did a good semi final but in the final run I had a flat just before the intermediate.

DW: You seemed very positive when I spoke to you afterwards though?

JC: Yes, because I managed to do a perfect run at the top, I felt really good on the bike and I knew that if I had no problems on the course I could make a top six or seven. That’s why I was very confident!

DW: Your results at the European World Cups were pretty solid with top ten finishes?

JC: I am very happy with those two European World Cups. In Les Deux Alpes, it was a horrible race with a lot of pedalling, but I was prepared for that and I got my best results in a World Cup with sixth place. In Schladming I made an incredible mistake at the start, I lost the pedals in a hole and I lost like 2.5 seconds. I very much liked this race and I felt I could surely get a podium there.

DW: Was the Les Deux Alps World Cup disappointing, with no spectators watching?

JC: Yes, it’s very important for us and for the sport that spectators come.

DW: What happened at the Canadian rounds (Calgary & Mont Sainte-Anne)?

JC: In Mont Sainte-Anne I had no feelings on the course; it was trial course, so slippery and very dangerous. In Calgary I had mechanical problems at the training and I couldn’t solve it.

DW: The Worlds was pretty good for you (7th and second French rider)?

JC: It‘s a satisfaction for me because it was in France and we had a big pressure. The course was great, very fast, and the spectators fantastic.

DW: I guess a massive crowd in Les Gets made up for Les Deux Alps?

JC: Sure

DW: I saw Nico (Vouilloz) hanging about at the Worlds, was he helping out the French team?

JC: No, he was just there to support us; he was very excited about the race.

DW: You rode for his Vouilloz racing team; did you learn a lot from him?

JC: Nico is a professional, he always prepared for everything... His bikes were prepared for every kind of course, with only the best.

DW: What was it like working with Nico, as most people think of him as a very quiet person? Is there another side to him that the public don’t see?

JC: Nico is a quiet person, but he is also a guy who likes to have fun.

Down and dirty at Fort William 2005

DW: The French team always seem to be really well prepared for the World Championships does it help your confidence going into a big race?

JC: The French team has a very good structure thanks to Manu Huber. That’s why the French team has good results.

DW: The French team hotel seemed a bit cut off and away from things when compared to the Aussies who were staying at Le Boomerang?

JC: Manu (Huber) decided to choose this hotel because we wanted to be cut off all the pressure. I think it was the good solution because the press was everywhere.

DW: Every year France seems to produce a handful of young fast riders, do the French federation give a lot of help to the younger riders?

JC: The French federation help a lot of the young riders, especially thanks to Manu Huber, the coach. He organizes stages, and makes the young progress very quickly.

DW: How’s Fabien, has he calmed down now?

JC: Fabien is still the same, very excited. We are always doing some freeride together, looking for new lines, jumps and he is very good at that.

DW: He lives in the same town as you?

JC: No, I live on the coast 200 meters from the sea and he lives in the mountains, 20 minutes drive from my town.

DW: A lot of France’s best bike riders come from your region, what’s so special about 'down south'. Is it just because of the sunshine?

JC: I think that Nico is the reason why we have a lot of fast riders in the south of France. After, it’s also because we have some good courses, and with all those fast riders the young want to do the same.

Nico Vouilloz [jon_e foto]

DW: You were the French DH Champion in the Cadet class in 1999 and 2000 and then Junior Champion for the next two years, and you got a second in the juniors at the World Championships in 2001. Did it feel like there was a big jump in the level of riding when you moved up a class?

JC: For me it was hard at the beginning of the season, I needed a lot of time to find the good rhythm, the good position on my bike. But after the European Champs in Graz (Which Julien won.), I knew that I could be one of the top riders.

DW: Does Mickael Pascal drive a white Fiat Panda?

JC: Yes of course.

DW: After witnessing his driving in Les Gets I think he should take up rallying like Nico.

JC: Yes maybe, but I ‘m not sure that the car will be alive after the first special.

DW: I heard that you were riding at Bercy?

JC: Yes, I did the Minibike race at Bercy and I won the Saturday night race. It was a very good experience for me.

DW: Talking of other stuff, you focus on DH only. So no plans to do some 4X?

JC: Yes, I‘m going to do some four cross in 2005.

DW: Last year you were working with Q-bikes on the development of their DH bike, how was that?

JC: It was very interesting for me; I think that with all those races, the 2005 Q-bikes is going to be a good bike.

DW: Has that helped with knowing how to set a bike up better?

JC: Yes, I think that’s one of the reasons why I had a better season than in the past. I worked a lot on my bike, and I adapted my style to the bike.

DW: You rode in the XC at Red Bull Giants of Rio that must have been hard riding against people like Julien Absalon?

JC: I was dead! This course was f**kin hard, especially the final climb after 40 km race, 1 km at 30 percent! You can ask Bas de Bever!

DW: You're heading back to Brazil in July for the World Cup out there, is it good to go somewhere else to race for a change rather than just Europe and North America?

JC: That’s what I like in sport, travelling, discovering other cultures, its fun.

DW: So what are your plans for this year?

JC: I ‘m riding for Commençal Oxbow. I tried the bike and I think it was the best opportunity for me. My target is now the top 5 and I know that they are very motivated. We are going to ride with Fox suspension, and I’m really excited to ride with the new DH fork.

DW: Any shout outs, thank you’s?

JC: Thank you to all my sponsors, Commençal, Oxbow, Mavic, Fox, Six Six One, and Formula. Thank you to Max Commençal, Fred, François, Jean Yves, Arnaud Viac, Karim Amour, Nico Vouilloz and my family.

Julien - Les Gets World Championships 2004
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