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Sept 28, 2014 – Pauline Ferrand-Prevot insisted she had no intention of lightening her multi-tasking workload now that she is the road race world champion.
AFP/Kare Dehlie Thorstad
Climbing specialist Ferrand-Prevot stunned her rivals by winning a sprint finish following a 127km race on the 18.2km circuit around Ponferrada in northern Spain on Saturday. While reigning champion Marianne Vos — three times a winner of the rainbow jersey — could only finish 10th and double world title-holder Giorgia Bronzini of Italy was fourth, Ferrand-Prevot added the elite women’s crown to her junior gold medal from 2010. But even so, she says she will not give up competing in either mountain biking or cyclo-cross, in both of which she is French champion.
“I like to do both (road racing and mountain biking) and I really don’t want to choose because Ihave doing both since I was six,” said the 22-year-old. “This year I feel I have a good balance between MTB (mountain biking) and road and I want to keep doing both.”
Although cyclo-cross is not an Olympic sport — and hence has a much lower profile — Ferrand-Prevot uses it as winter training. But as for mountain biking and road racing, she wants to keep her options open to give herself the best chance possible of making France’s Olympic team in Rio in two years’ time.
“This year I really wanted to try to do both and be good in both MTB and road,” she said. “Also, for the Olympics in Rio it’s important to me to show to the (French) federation I can do both and be good in MTB and road. Cyclo-cross I do more for preparation for the season. If you choose well your races, it’s possible to do both.”
However, she added, joking: “But I don’t want to do more (disciplines) like BMX, it’s enough!”
Ferrand-Prevot’s list of achievements across the different cycling disciplines is impressive. As well as world champion in the road race, she has become national champion in the road race, time trial, mountain biking and cyclo-cross, as well as winning the European under-23 championships in mountain biking. But perhaps her most impressive victory this year, before the worlds, was at La Fleche Wallonne Feminine, in which she accelerated to victory with a blistering attack on the brutal Mur de Huy (Wall of Huy) final climb.
She has actually been French timetrial champion for the last three years while she was junior road race world champion in 2010 and two years later was the youngest competitor in the Olympic road race field, finishing eighth.
Yet even so, she admitted she didn’t think she’d win a sprint finish in Spain, not least given the competition around her, including Olympic champion Vos, overall World Cup winner Lizzie Armitstead of Britain and sprint specialists such as Bronzini and Shelley Olds of the US.
Now that she has added sprinting to her list of abilities, she may just be in line to replace Vos as the new star of the sport, and even follow in the footsteps of French legend Jeannie Longo. Already, in winning the world title, Ferrand-Prevot became the first Frenchwoman to do so since Longo won the fifth of her titles in 1995