CANYON//SRAM Racing’s Pauline Ferrand-Prévot realised a dream to return to the podium at the highest level today at the UCI MTB World Championships in Cairns, Australia. The Frenchwoman won the bronze medal in an exciting race marred by punctures and crashes.
Ferrand-Prévot took bronze behind winner Jolanda Neff (Switzerland), with British rider Annie Last claiming silver. It wasn’t an easy race for Ferrand-Prévot who was tenth on the first lap, and after moving up to second position had a rear puncture on the third lap.
”I didn’t get a good start and here on this course it was really important to start well. There’s not many opportunities to pass other riders so it’s hard to gain time and positions on the leaders. I kept calm and accelerated on the flat parts. I went full gas whenever I could and got up to second position behind Neff,” said Ferrand-Prévot.
“On the top of the climb I had a rear puncture and I did all of the descent with a flat tyre. I had to stop to change the wheel. It takes not so long but enough to move out of the podium position.”
After the puncture Ferrand-Prévot dropped to sixth position but was determined to keep fighting and keep her podium dream alive.
“I kept fighting to the end, I wanted to give everything and have no regrets when I crossed the finish line. Finally I finished third and it’s a good result. I’m really happy at the moment and am not thinking about the puncture,” said Ferrand-Prévot.
“I’m happy not just because of the third place, but I’m happy because of my approach all year to keep fighting to be back at the top on an international level. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve done it. A year ago I stopped and wanted out, and today I’ve realised a dream to be back at the highest level. I’m not someone who is proud of herself, never, but for the first time in my life I’m happy about what I have done. There’s a lot of emotions. This third place is the best victory of my career.”
Team Manager Ronny Lauke said the team was thrilled with Ferrand-Prévot’s result but even more so her constant fighting spirit. “We are pleased to help Pauline get back to the top of the sport again. The season – the last 365 days – has had obstacles, but also many solutions and answers could be found. Pauline is obviously talented but she is a fighter, which is more helpful to achieve results,” said Lauke.
“Having her on the podium in WorldTour road races, MTB World Cup races, and now getting a medal at MTB world championships was something we have hoped would be possible to do, but did not expect it to happen in that short of time, considering where we started with Pauline in December. I am convinced this bronze medal is the beginning of more to come in the near future.”
Lauke added “Thank you to all of our team’s partners for their support and belief in our way with Pauline and special thanks to Roman Arnold for his continuous belief in our project together.”
Ferrand-Prévot will now look towards the UCI Road World Championships when she lines up for the women’s road race on Saturday 23 September.