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Pauline Ferrand-Prévot wasn’t joking when she said she “likes winning” after she claimed the inaugural gravel world title Saturday.
A whirlwind turnaround including a six-and-a-half hour journey, three-hour sleep, and three-hour race put the dominant Frenchwoman on the top of another podium at the Roc d’Azur mountain bike marathon in Fréjus, France, on Sunday.
“It was a challenge to be there at the start, but I had prepared myself mentally for it. I started in the middle of the pack to see how my legs were feeling. And on the first climb, I went to the front,” Ferrand-Prévot said. “I am on cloud nine, I feel so good these days, and I just do what I do.”
Ferrand-Prévot is without doubt on a tear in 2022.
The 30-year-old scored short track and cross country mountain bike world titles in Haderslev in August, backed it up with the marathon MTB rainbow jersey three weeks later, and Saturday made it four at the multi-surface gravel worlds in Veneto, Italy.
Ferrand-Prévot’s second victory in the premier Roc d’Azur race only continued the theme.
“It was important for me to be at the Roc d’Azur to thank the French public,” she said. “I really wanted to race on my training tracks with this world champion’s jersey.”
Ferrand-Prévot has been linked with Ineos Grenadiers in a recent churning of the rumor mill. Whether she stays with her current BMC setup or makes the headline-grabbing move to the British team in the new year, you can bet on more wins coming her way.
Jordan Sarrou makes it four as pro roadie Romain Bardet switches tires
Ferrand-Prévot wasn’t the only French winner Sunday.
Former cross-country world champion Jordan Sarrou fended off Hugo Drechou and Andreas Seewald for his fourth victory at the Roc d’Azur and also winning in 2014, 2016, and 2019.
“Winning the Roc d’Azur for the fourth time is mountain bike history,” he said. “It was my objective for the end of the season … I had a blast, and it’s awesome to finish like this.”
And it wasn’t only Ferrand-Prévot that switched disciplines to start the prestigious MTB race Sunday.
DSM team captain Romain Bardet traveled from Como, Italy, after finishing in the top-1o of road monument Il Lombardia, fitted some fat tires, and “had a great time” as he pedaled into the off-season via the Fréjus marathon.
“Unlike last year when I rode hard, this year I took my time. I enjoyed myself a little bit on the first climb by coming back to the front, but then I changed my approach,” he said. “We stopped at the refreshment station. I had a great time on the Roc d’Azur.”