After a successful start to the MTB season, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot will return to the road at the French national road championships this weekend on Saturday 29 June. It will be Ferrand-Prévot’s first road race in the 2019 season, after undergoing surgery on her left leg in January.
After missing her usual winter cyclocross season, the 27-year-old current French MTB champion returned to MTB racing in May, and despite missing her peak shape, already collected several podiums, including at just her second UCI MTB World Cup of the season.
“I didn’t expect to be so good so quickly,” admitted Ferrand-Prévot after stepping on the podium for fifth at Nové Mêsto XC Short Track World Cup last month in Czech Republic. She followed with ninth place in the XCO World Cup two days later. Before this she had placed third at a French national cup and last weekend was second at Internazionali d’Italia series. It’s safe to say, the Frenchwoman is making every step in the right direction.
“The French national cup in early May, was a really hard step back into high level racing. So too was the World Cup in Albstadt in Germany the weekend after.”
“My coach was suggesting it was too early for me to go back to racing at that level, because he knew I wasn’t yet in full form and believed it might not be good for my morale if things didn’t go well,” revealed Ferrand-Prévot.
“But I needed to race. I needed it for motivation for the next races, to push even harder in training.”
Ferrand-Prévot admits her mindset when approaching those early races is somewhat different to her younger self.
“I went into those races doing my own race. I wasn’t there for winning, I was there for myself, for my preparation and as part of my own path to my goals. In my mind, I knew the first two World Cups were for training.”
“I felt happy and free to be there, and not listening to what people were expecting of me. Already getting some good results was a bonus!”
“After this I’ve trained really hard. I know the gap that I need to fill. Now, I want to be good for road nationals and the upcoming MTB World Cups. I’d like to win a World Cup this year––that’s my goal. If I podium in a World Cup after mid-July that will give me selection for Tokyo Olympics, and this remains my next goal,” added Ferrand-Prévot.
The Frenchwoman speaks with quiet confidence, “I’m doing better training than last year and that’s why I’m confident. My numbers are there, the results are coming, I’m training well, and now it’s up to the racing. It’s why I want to do road nationals too.”
“I think the road course suits me, and I would like to be a part of the French team for road world championships in Yorkshire in September. This weekend is a good way to show my chance for that,” claimed Ferrand-Prévot.
The final weekend of road nationals
Earlier this month, Belarus held its national road championships, where Alena Amialiusik claim second and third in her individual time trial (ITT) and road championships respectively. In Israel, Rotem Gafinovitz defended her blue and white stripes in the ITT.
This weekend, alongside the French road championships, the following riders from CANYON//SRAM Racing will also compete in their respective road national championships.
Great Britain | Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes.
Germany | Tanja Erath, Lisa Klein, Hannah Ludwig, Christa Riffel.
Israel | Rotem Gafinovitz (road only), Omer Shapira (road only).
USA | Alexis Ryan (road only).