Pauline Ferrand-Prevot has announced that she will have to sit out of competition for four months after discovering she would need surgery to treat iliac artery endofibrosis in both legs. The news means that the The French multi-discipline World Champion will not be able to ride any cyclo-cross events and would miss the start of the road season with Canyon-SRAM.
"Due to the recurrent pain of the left lower leg - initially related to a sciatic problem and improved by treatment - having recently changed and intensified, particularly since the resumption of training a few weeks ago, Pauline has had to undergo further investigations in a specialised environment," read a statement from Ferrand-Prevot’s physician Dr Jacky Maillot on her Facebook page.
"These took place this morning [December 12 -ed] and revealed the presence of iliac endofibrosis on the left and on the right (to a lesser degree).
"Surgery will be scheduled quickly at the University Hospital of Lyon. The unavailability is expected to be about four months, before returning to competition."
At the end of November, Ferrand-Prevot revealed that she had been suffering ‘inexplicable pain’ in her left leg for four years.
She said that problems arose when she attempted to do efforts of '70 per cent of her max' and described the feeling of a dead leg. She said that she had scheduled an appointment with a specialist to get to the bottom of the issue.
Ferrand-Prevot first spoke publicly of the pain in her leg in June 2015 but said that it had been going on for a year already. She was soon diagnosed with sciatica after undergoing MRI scans, which revealed an inflammation due to fluid escaping from a joint. She was treated with fluid being removed from the leg, but the issue has continued over the following seasons.
Iliac artery endofibrosis is a rare condition but is often found in athletes and particularly cyclists. It can cause severe exercise-induced pain in the leg, due to damage to the arteries, and requires surgery to fix. Other professional riders have suffered from similar issues, such as Joe Dombrowski, Jacob Rathe and Dannis van Winden. Steven Kruijswijk had to undergo surgery in 2013 due to an issue with his femoral artery.