Pauline Ferrand-Prévot is tempted to return to road racing, but only after the 2024 Olympics

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Pauline Ferrand-Prévot has won a lot in her career, but one thing is missing from her medal cabinet, an Olympic gold medal.

The 30-year-old, who has just signed a two-year contract with Ineos Grenadiers, recently won four world titles in a matter of weeks. Despite being one of the most prolific runners of her generation, with world titles in four separate disciplines, the Olympics have been an unlucky hunting ground for the Frenchwoman.

Leading up to the 2016 competition in Rio, she was one of the favorites for the mountain bike title, but a season of injuries conspired against her. Fast-forward to 2021 and Ferrand-Prévot looked to be in fine form at the right time a few weeks before Tokyo, but she struggled to a disappointing 10th.

With the Olympics heading to his native France for 2024, Ferrand-Prévot is keen to rectify that and add a gold medal to his enviable collection.

“My main goal will be to try to be Olympic champion in Paris in 2024, that’s the only title I’m missing so I really want that one. The next two years will be mainly mountain biking to try to to be Olympic champion on home soil,” Ferrand-Prévot said at a small media rally on Monday.

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Ferrand-Prévot isn’t letting any distractions get in his way, with Paris 2024 just under two years away. had a lot of discussions about whether she could branch again into other disciplines.

She was once the poster child for cross-country racing as the only rider to hold the mountain bike, cyclocross and road racing world titles at the same time, but hasn’t raced on the road since 2019 and in cyclocross since the beginning of 2020.

The 30-year-old said recent developments in the world of road racing, with new races like the Tour de France Women with Zwift, prompted her to make a comeback, but not before the Olympics.

“Why not go back to road racing, but not for now, that’s for sure. When I watch the Tour de France, and those big races. Of course, maybe I want to be part of it later. And I just want to focus now on my dream, and with this Olympique at home, I think it’s a good chance.

If a possible return to the road has been postponed for at least two years, cyclo-cross is back on the menu at Ferrand-Prévot. The chance to return to winter racing was made possible thanks to his recent two-year contract with Ineos Grenadiers.

Injuries and a lack of proper equipment have kept Ferrand-Prévot out of cyclocross in recent years. In 2019 and 2020, she underwent surgery to treat iliac artery endofibrosis, cutting short her winter runs.

For the past two seasons she has raced for the Absolute Absalon – BMC mountain bike team. With no cyclocross offering in BMC’s bike collection, that complicated things for Ferrand-Prévot. Ineos’ bike sponsor Pinarello is making one and she thinks the discipline will mesh well with her mountain bike racing.

“It’s 50 minutes of racing and I know I can be good. It’s perfect for me, like between a cross race and a short race. I like this type of effort, and also, I really like the Belgian fans and the fries. Just kidding,” she laughs. “I will be really happy to be back in Belgium and in cyclocross, but we also started the MTB season in May now with the World Cup. So it’s also a good way to not spend the winter without doing anything.

Ferrand-Prévot is looking forward to racing against Marianne Vos again when she begins her cyclocross season in the coming months. However, after two years away from the discipline and only a few years of limited racing before, she doesn’t know how she will fare against her rivals.

“I’m not expecting anything because it’s like we thought it was a long time without cyclocross for me. So yeah, I just want to see where I can be,” she said. “I really don’t know where I can be. I feel good. But cyclocross is another discipline, so I think I need more time to be on top of my game.

Although Pinarello makes a cyclo-cross bike, it does not yet make a mountain bike. Ferrand-Prévot does not yet know what she will race on next season. The Frenchwoman said she would also like to add more gravel races to her schedule, although it depends on the schedule.

Still good and good race

Despite his dominating performance in cycling, Ferrand-Prévot’s relationship with the sport has been tumultuous. She has announced herself as one of the most talented riders in the peloton with her victories at the 2014 Road World Championships and the 2015 Cyclocross and Mountain Bike World Championships.

However, she soon found herself struggling with mental fatigue from racing and was planning to retire by the end of 2016. She decided to refocus her racing program the following year and rediscovered her passion for racing, but difficulties with iliac artery endofibrosis kept her from hitting. his best.

Free of lingering injuries and in a place where she can choose her path, Ferrand-Prévot is once again in love with the bike. It showed at the end of that season as she won four separate mountain bike world titles in the short track, cross country and marathon disciplines, as well as becoming the first ever world champion. of UCI gravel.

“I’m super happy,” she said. “After finding out that I needed surgery for this iliac injury, I felt I could now perform at my best. I haven’t been at my best for the past few years, but now I could find that, my best form ever. It’s good to feel that you can win races and feel motivated to go to training.

“I think I haven’t really realized what I’ve done this season. The last title was already gone a week ago, so it hasn’t been done that long, I’ll say. But, yes, I feel good and happy. And also super happy to finally be able to say that I will be running for Ineos Grenadiers for next season. I can’t wait to start this journey.

Throughout his career, Ferrand-Prévot has had to deal with the pressure of expectations. However, she never let that expectation dictate how she handles her own career and she always charted her own path, which helped her find her own happiness.

“We all have dreams and goals and of course we all know what is good for us or not. I’m really sure I know what I want to know what I don’t want. I like deciding what I’m going to do, where I want to go and which path I should take,” she said.

“Of course, when I was a junior, and even after, they asked me to choose between a road and a mountain bike, but I didn’t want to. Finally, a few years later, I was world champion in three disciplines, so I was very happy to continue pushing as I wanted and to have made this decision. That’s also why I wanted to do cyclo-cross. I know I can still be good at mountain biking and doing everything is also a big motivation for me. That’s also why I’m happy with the bike and want to train every day. I think I have to change my bike so I don’t get bored.

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