Pauline Ferrand-Prévot rode away from the competition in Les Gets, France, to take her fourth world championship cross country mountain bike world title in front of a home crowd, two days after she also won the short track title.
Swiss Olympic gold medallist Jolanda Neff finished second, 1:35 back. The 23-year-old American star Haley Batten claimed a career-topping elite bronze, 2:13 behind Ferrand-Prévot.
Ferrand-Prévot wasted no time, leading up the first climb of the course with Neff and fellow Frenchwoman Loana Lecomte in tow. Neff caught up to Ferrand-Prevot on the first lap, but the Frenchwoman extended her lead to 22 seconds by the time she passed through the start/finish chute.
Both Neff and Lecomte dropped back on the second lap with Batten moving up into second place and Alessandra Keller (Switzerland) training shortly behind. Ferrand-Prévot extended her lead to more than a minute, making it increasingly clear that she was on perfect form.
On the next lap, Neff and Lecomte chased their way back into the top five. Keller moved into second place, but on the fourth lap a mistake in a wooded section of the track caused her to lose time.
Heading into the final lap, Neff and Batten had moved into second and third place respectively, while Ferrand-Prévot held a 1:33 advantage. The roar of the French crowd welcomed home Ferrand-Prévot as she won the elite XCO world championship stripes for the fourth time in her illustrious career.
“Right now I can’t realize because It’s just like a dream,” she said after the finish. “I really want to see my parents and my friends. I think it’s going to be a big party tonight.
After a similarly dominant XCC win on Friday evening, Ferrand-Prévot is the first rider to ever win both the cross country and short track jerseys.
— UCI MTB (@UCI_MTB) August 28, 2022
Ferrand-Prévot rode a hardtail bike to tackle the Les Gets course, and said after the race that her strategy was to open a gap straight from the start.
“It was a super hard race,and I made the choice to start with a hardtail bike because I knew I could go fast on the climb,” she said. “It was a bit risky but I wanted to go straight from the start to go full gas and to try to make a gap. After that I adjusted to try to be soft and clean on the downhill so I made it and completed it.”
Following Batten’s bronze medal performance, Americans Gwendalyn Gibson, Savilia Blunk, and Kate Courtney placed 12-14th respectively. Fellow North American Emily Batty placed 19th for Canada.
2022 XCO world championships
- Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (France): 1:22:08
- Jolanda Neff (Switzerland): +1:35
- Hayley Batten (USA): +2:13
- Loana Lecomte (France): +3:27
- Alessandra Keller (Switzerland): +3:46
- Anne Terpstra (Netherlands): +4:09