Pauline Ferrand-Prevot starts her CX season and sets her sights on the World Championships
After a few years away from cyclo-cross racing, the French rider returns to the mud discipline with her sights set on the World Championships to be held next February in the Dutch town of Hoogerheide. In the meantime, she will have to regain her racing skills and adapt to her new stage in the colours of INEOS Grenadiers.
Cyclocross in Pauline Ferrand-Prevot's plan to win Olympic medal at Paris 2024
With the first two World Cup races, held the previous weekends in the United States, the cyclo-cross competition is starting to heat up in Europe, with next weekend's third round of the cyclo-cross World Cup calendar in the Czech town of Tabor as the main event.
The start of the European season also marks the return to racing of many top cyclists who usually decide to extend their breaks and skip the American events. One of these cyclists is Pauline Ferrand-Prevot who in recent weeks has enjoyed a well-deserved recovery period after winning her fourth rainbow jersey of a fantastic campaign by winning the first Gravel World Championship.
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot will start a new stage in her sporting career on 1 January, joining the all-powerful INEOS Grenadiers, which for the first time incorporates a woman into its line-up in the current trend for professional road teams to diversify their activities.
In addition to the change of team, the French rider has also returned to the cyclo-cross discipline, where she has set herself the goal of winning her second rainbow jersey in the mud speciality this season, after the one she won in 2015 at the World Championships in Tabor.
A winter discipline from which she has been absent since 2020, partly because the company that supplies the bikes for her current team, Absolute Absalon-BMC, does not have a cyclo-cross bike in its catalogue and partly because of the problems she had been suffering from in her iliac artery, which forced her to undergo surgery in both 2019 and 2020.
Now, she returns to cyclo-cross as a perfect complement to her main priority, the mountain bike season, as her main objective is set two years ahead, to win the gold medal in the XCO event at the Paris Olympic Games, the only title that is still missing from her extensive list of honours.
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot admits that she has a difficult cyclo-cross season ahead of her. She has been out of the circuit for a long time, so she has no points, which will force her to start very late on the starting grid of the first races she takes part in, a handicap in such an intense discipline.
Ferrand-Prevot plans to start her season in the mud at the Koppenbergcross to be held on November 1st in the unique scenario of the slopes and cobblestones of the mythical Belgian wall. From there, her calendar will continue with participation in the European Cyclo-cross Championships, which will take place the following weekend on the very tough circuit of the Belgian city of Namur.
The French rider is very excited about her new stage with INEOS Grenadiers, a team whose colours she will start to wear on January 1st and of which she has highlighted the tremendous level of professionalism that surrounds the whole squad, giving as an example that in just a couple of days she completed the tests, medical check-ups and other tests that normally would take her six months.
In her first declarations after joining INEOS Grenadiers, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot also spoke about a possible return to road cycling, a discipline that she left completely fed up with, and there were even rumours that she might retire in 2016. She does, however, leave the door open to a return to road cycling, while still combining it with other disciplines. But not before the Olympic Games.