Mountain biking: Pauline Ferrand-Prévot makes history by winning her fourth world cross-country title

Mountain biking: Pauline Ferrand-Prévot makes history by winning her fourth world cross-country title

The madness that took over the Haute-Savoie resort of Les Gets on the occasion of the historic treble of the French downhill mountain bikers on Saturday, August 27, has not evaporated. On Sunday, for the long-distance tests, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot rekindled the flame… and in what way. To conclude the golden week of tricolor mountain biking, Rémoise won his fourth world title in the Olympic discipline, after his successes in 2015, 2019 and 2020.

“I’m super happy, I still don’t realize it, rejoiced at the microphone of La Chaîne L’Equipe. It’s just, I knew there was a way to do it, but it all had to fall into place. »

The last MTB World Championships organized in France -already in Les Gets- date back to 2004. The French public was able to give the 30-year-old rider a standing ovation. Clearly in the lead, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (“PFP”) took the time to celebrate her last hectometers before crossing the line, blue-white-red flag in hand, one minute and thirty-five seconds ahead of Swiss Jolanda Neff and two minutes and thirteen seconds over the American Haley Batten.

The big smile of “PFP” was quickly followed by tears of lively and frank emotion. “I based my entire season on this weekend”, warned at a press conference on Thursday. Although the goal was brilliantly achieved, not everything was easy this season for the 2014 road world champion, as she herself admits.

Also read: Cycling – Mountain Bike Worlds: At Les Gets, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot aims for a fourth rainbow jersey in cross-country

Glow of a difficult season

“I am not old, but I have been at the highest level for quite some time. I had ups and downs, she admitted to La Chaîne L’Equipe. Two iliac artery operations, equipment problems this year, let’s not hide it. It has been a very difficult season on a personal level. So I also took the time to digest everything that had happened this winter and tried to rebuild myself. » However, no sense of revenge – “for losers”says – encouraged the Marnaise when she arrived at Les Gets.

Nor was he frustrated by his unlucky second place finish at the European Championships in Munich, Germany on Sunday, August 21. Leading the vast majority of the race, he had to relinquish the title promised to his young teammate, Loana Lecomte (23), due to a mechanical problem.

Also read: Cycling: Loana Lecomte European champion ahead of Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, French double

The form was there, despite everything. The first world title of his career on short track, acquired on Friday, confirmed it. It only remained to materialize, on Sunday, in the great race of the weekend.

To do so, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot copied and pasted her Munich strategy by flying away from the first of the six laps of the race. “The strategy was to get out fast”confirms in La Chaîne L’Equipe Yvan Clolus, the coach of the French national team. “I was in charge from the beginning, I repeated to myself: ‘Don’t be wrong, Pauline, above all don’t be wrong’ “says the world champion with a smile.

The difference with his pursuers quickly exceeded a minute and a half and “PFP” secured himself in the technical parts of the route, being impressive in each ascent. This time, the mechanics did not stop. Nothing could stand in the way of his quest for the rainbow jersey, and indeed prevent him from writing a new page in mountain biking history.

a new record

By winning a fourth world cross-country title, the Frenchwoman equals the record of Norway’s Gunn-Rita Dahle. “Record hunting, I see him a bit like an old curmudgeon, who needs it to tell his grandchildren “when I was younger, I did that”, so as not to be forgotten by history”. she explained WorldIn the past week. I don’t have that kind of aspiration. What motivates me are the great races, unique moments in life to give everything to improve yourself…”

On Sunday, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot combined the filling of the list of winners with emotions. The French public did not ask for anything better. Except, perhaps, a second Habs on the podium, at the foot of the one who finally finished Loana Lecomte.

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