by Christine Vardaros
About four months after winning the Elite Road World Championships, 22-year-old French cyclist Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Team Rabo-Liv) attempts to add yet another world jersey to her collection. In the penultimate battle of Hoogerheide World Cup before Cyclocross World Championships in Tabor, Prevot crossed the finish line less than 30 seconds behind winner Eva Lechner, proving that she is on target to achieve her goal.
While all other cyclocrossers were already competing in October, Prevot was taking some well deserved time off the bike. “After road worlds, I was busy with media engagements, something I don’t like too much, so I stopped riding my bike for a month before continuing to train. Hasselt/Overijse [held 6-7 December] was my first big weekend of racing. I was quite impressed with myself to finish 2nd behind Sanne [Cant of Enertherm-BKCP] so it’s a good start to the season,” exclaims Prevot.
Prevot followed up her successful weekend with a podium at Zolder World Cup and a second place in Superprestige Diegem behind Dutch teammate Marianne Vos. She also took home the French National jersey ahead of countrymates Caroline Mani and Lucie Chainel-Lefevre. “But worlds is my big goal for the season,” admits Prevot.
While Prevot may be lacking in race experience this season having competed only eight times as opposed to some of her compatriots such as Belgium’s Ellen van Loy who has already clocked in 37 times, what she does have in her favor are fresh legs and a fresh mind. As a pro mountain biker and road racer, Prevot can excel on any type of course so she is certainly one of the favorites for victory, especially considering teammate Vos is struggling with an injury sustained last week at Holland’s Rucphen Cyclocross.
No matter her Worlds results, though, Prevot will immediately switch her focus back to the road. “Every year I do a big training camp in Guadeloupe, the French islands near America. It’s good weather there so it doubles as a holiday, making it a nice break between cyclocross and road seasons. End of March is the beginning of my road season, starting with the Italian World Cup Trofeo Alfredo Binda.”
As for her commitment to cross, Prevot admits, “I did cyclocross since I was young. I really like it…also love the Belgian spirit. Cyclocross is a good preparation for the road season. I don’t want to do winter without racing. But I have a really good team on the road so I’ll never switch fully to cyclocross. I’ll do some mountain bike races this season as well since Marianne Vos is doing them. Ultimately, for me, the most important thing is to have pleasure with cycling.” And if Prevot can pick up yet another World title along the way, all the better.