Pauline Ferrand-Prévot yesterday stormed to fifth place in her first UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup of the season in Namur, Belgium. The race was won solo by British young rider Evie Richards with Ferrand-Prévot just over one minute behind.
Starting from the back of the grid, Ferrand-Prévot lost 30 seconds on the leaders already in the initial lap after being held up from riders and crashes ahead of her.
The Frenchwoman then fought her way through the field, moving from the back of a 60-rider peloton to 14th on lap one. Gaining positions lap after lap Ferrand-Prévot finally acquired a clearer run to chase the leading group of four riders in the fourth and final lap.
“It was complicated to pass. In the technical sections you’re concentrating on getting through but also you need to go full gas to try to pass people. There were crashes in front of me and at times I had to brake and stop. I didn’t have the best sensations on the bike but I didn’t give up and I kept working my way through the field,” said Ferrand-Prévot.
“I’m happy with the result for sure but at the same time I’m a bit frustrated because there was just so much traffic at the beginning. After five minutes of racing I lost 30 seconds on the leaders just because of the traffic. In the final lap when I had a clear run my time was as fast as the leaders. So I feel a bit of both emotions.”
Looking ahead, Ferrand-Prévot will take confidence into her next race at the Heusden-Zolder World Cup on 26 December.
Ferrand-Prévot commented, “I can’t forget that yesterday was just my second weekend of racing. I knew that the Namur circuit, where you need a lot of power in that type of mud, wouldn’t really suit me. So it’s already good to be in the top five and in a world cup. Everything considered it gives me confidence for sure. I will take that confidence into Zolder.”