Pauline Ferrand-Prévot achieved her dream today, when she won the 2019 Women Elite XCO World Championship title in Mont-Saint-Anne in Canada. The CANYON//SRAM Racing rider was able to overcome a third row start and a first lap crash. Lap by lap the 27-year-old Frenchwoman reeled in her rivals to take her second career individual Women Elite XCO World Championship title.
“I’m just so emotional and happy with this win. I had a great preparation; my season has been building and building. This week I felt amazing. I started on third row and I had a crash on the first lap. Instead of panicking, I just said to myself ‘okay I have to give maximum but now it’s going to be hard to win,” admitted Pauline Ferrand-Prévot after the podium.
“But I was feeling super good and I could come back to the front riders step by step. I kept to my own race. I knew that I was faster than the leaders, and when I started to pass other riders it was very motivating to keep going. When I got to the leader Rebecca (McConnell) I immediately attacked and had a gap. I know she is a strong rider but I also knew that she hasn’t been in the situation to be in the front at a world championship. So I passed her immediately. I said ‘okay, there’s two laps to go, so now it’s full gas!” added Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.
The Frenchwoman, who missed the 2018/2019 cyclo-cross season to undergo left leg surgery at the end of January, made steady progress when she returned to the MTB season. Ferrand-Prévot made her world championships intentions clear with five consecutive podiums in the final five MTB world cups and kept her focus on the rainbow jersey.
“The final lap was quite stressful. I had a lot of people from the French Federation giving me time splits, so I knew the gap to Jolanda. I stayed concentrated to go full on the climbs, and to keep smooth and safe on the downhills. The last downhill I did was very messy! But I got through it. and then I enjoyed the last moments to the finish line. The race overall was so crazy; to come from 15th to win!” exclaimed Ferrand-Prévot.
“I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. I gave everything I had from the start to finish. I really wanted to win today and I’m so happy to do it. It’s been a hard journey to get back to here. But this makes all of the hard decisions, all of the efforts and sacrifices worth it,” said Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.
“I have to say thanks to a lot of people who have supported me. The last four years and with my injury, I now understand that I need to say that it was a part of my career. It’s brought me to where I am now. It gave me recovery time, focus, motivation. Thanks to CANYON//SRAM for allowing me to do my wish to focus on MTB for the world championships and for Tokyo Olympics, to Canyon for their constant support and to SRAM. With Canyon and SRAM I know that I have the best equipment possible. I also need to thank my coach Barry Austin, my boyfriend, and my family!” added Ferrand-Prévot.
Jolanda Neff (Switzerland) took the silver medal, 43 seconds behind Ferrand-Prévot, while Rebecca McConnell (Australia) held on for the bronze medal.
The new world champion, Ferrand-Prévot will show off her rainbow jersey in the final round of the MTB World Cup in Snowshoe, US from 6 to 8 September. And tomorrow? “A recovery ride!”