Pauline Ferrand-Prévot received the positive news she had been hoping for after her final medical review following surgery on her left leg in early February. Last week, the CANYON//SRAM Racing rider was given medical clearance to resume a normal training load and couldn’t be more content with the news.
“I’m of course really happy with this news!” said the 27 year old. “It was a long nine weeks to arrive to this point, but I’ve been following the guidelines to the letter, so I’m smiling now that I have this clearance.”
After four weeks of no exercise allowed, the former road, cyclo-cross and MTB XCO world champion was allowed to start with a walking program, and after a further two weeks could return to low-intensity cycling.
“I started cycling quite slow—two days on, one day off—with first just 30 minutes and slowly built up to 3 hours. I can see that I lost quite a lot of muscle during that time off, so I needed more recovery in between my sessions. I was getting tired easily and standing up out of the saddle at first was hard!
“Now it’s okay and I feel much better. I’m allowed to train as long or with as much intensity as I want. Today for example I did four hours with no problems. Each week I feel stronger and stronger,” added Ferrand-Prévot.
Taking the positives from imposed time off
“At first it wasn’t easy not being allowed to ride the bike. I took some time to adjust, but instead of being frustrated at the time off, I used it to do a lot of things that my cycling career sometimes doesn’t afford,” said Ferrand-Prévot.
“I spent a lot more time with my family and my boyfriend’s children, I visited friends, and I looked for activities outside what’s been my ‘normal’ world for the past ten years.”
“The time was long, but overall it wasn’t bad as I expected. Where I usually spend my spare time watching races and checking results, this time I avoided that. I didn’t want to see everyone else training and racing. I followed my teammates results and that’s all.”
“Now I feel refreshed. I feel in good shape. The break was necessary, and I am confident I made the right decision to have the surgery.”
Long term, the current MTB French champion says she will continue to keep her eyes set on her goal of winning XCO gold at Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020. Short term, Ferrand-Prévot is aiming to return to racing in May.
“I’m taking it slowly at the moment, and making sure I’m listening to my body. Now, I still need a little more recovery time but I’m feeling confident to give myself that time, if and when it’s needed. I’m not worried if I need a day off, or I need to adjust the program. I feel confident to make changes. It’s something that I’ve finally learned!”
“Ideally I’d like to start the first race of MTB world cup season which is mid-May. For the road races, I have to see what fits with my CANYON//SRAM Racing team. Soon, I know I’ll be ready and super keen to start racing, but for now I’m keeping a rein on it and going through the process to reach that point. When I’m ready, then I can confirm my racing program,” smiled Ferrand-Prévot.
Canyon Pure Cycling Festival
The Frenchwoman will this weekend join the Canyon Pure Cycling Festival in Koblenz, Germany. The two-day event on 13 and 14 April sees Ferrand-Prévot and her teammate Hannah Ludwig lead group rides and join signing sessions as Canyon open its doors in Koblenz to a weekend of highlights for media, customers and fans. The pair will be involved in:
Saturday 13 April: 10:00CEST Canyon customer ride | 15:00CEST Canyon signing session | 17:00 CEST SRAM meet and greet and chance to win a signed jersey from Ferrand-Prévot.
Sunday 14 April: 10:00CEST Canyon customer ride | 11:00CEST SRAM customer ride | 14:00CEST Canyon signing session.
Find more details on the Canyon Pure Cycling Festival here.