Mountain

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot will have a new team and mountain bike focus in 2021

French multi-discipline star will leave Canyon-SRAM in 2021 as she focuses on ambitions at Olympic mountain bike race.

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot will have a new team and a focus on the trails in 2021.

The highly-decorated Frenchwoman confirmed Monday that she will be parting ways with Canyon-SRAM at the end of this year, calling an end to the relationship that started in 2017.

“After five seasons with the Canyon team, it’s time for me to open new doors, thanking all those who believed in me despite the hardships, have accompanied and supported me during these four years rich in intense memories,” Ferrand-Prévot wrote on Instagram.

Contract obligations prevented the 28-year-old from confirming who she would race for in 2021, but it’s likely to be a mountain bike team as the multi-discipline star places the Tokyo Olympic cross-country race at the center of her ambitions.

Having long attempted to balance a program of mountain bike, cyclocross, and road racing, Ferrand-Prévot is leaving the road and ‘cross bikes in the storeroom for 2021.

After suffering a disappointing Rio Olympics that saw her ride to an anonymous 24th in the road race and abandon the mountain bike race due to nagging leg injuries, Ferrand-Prévot has opted to go all-in on one discipline next year.

“I have learned and improved a lot since 2016, in all areas,” she told VeloVert.com. ‘I know that I have to reach 100 percent on D-Day, so I won’t be able to ride all my goals this year, so that especially means aligning with one discipline at the Olympics: mountain biking. I do not want to miss this deadline again.

“If I am beaten in 2021, it is because the others will be stronger, but for my part, I will have done everything to do the best.”

Ferrand-Prévot temporarily parked her road ambitions for 2020, though raced a handful of ‘cross events. Despite saying she was not ruling out a return to the tarmac, 2021 does not seem to be the year Ferrand-Prévot will be ending her hiatus from the road.

The 28-year-old’s typical foray into the mud of ‘cross competition has been abandoned for this winter as the hangover of a season delayed by COVID-19 takes its toll.

“I will not be doing cyclocross this winter,” she said. “The off-season is too short this year, that would mean almost uninterrupted three seasons in a row given that the 2020 season ended later than usual.”

Ferrand-Prévot’s four years at Canyon-SRAM made for a rollercoaster ride that saw her take the mountain bike marathon world title and twice win the cross country world championships. She also endured repeated iliac artery surgeries that kept her off the bike for long spells from 2018 through 2020, before making a triumphant comeback with a third cross country world title in Leogang.

“Thank you Pauline for being a part of Canyon-SRAM Racing,” read a statement from the team. “We are proud of everything achieved in the past four years and we wish you all the best for 2021 and beyond!”