Choices lie ahead for Ferrand Prevot

Pauline Ferrand Prevot is used to winning, both on and off road. The French woman earned her second consecutive junior cross country world mountain bike championship on Wednesday at Mont-Saint-Anne, Quebec, Canada. It was also her second world title of the year; earlier this season she won the junior women's road race world championships.

Wednesday marked her first time competing in Canada and the petite racer, with a long blond braid, smiled and patiently answered reporters' questions while beaming in her new rainbow-striped jersey.

While many young riders can race and excel at multiple disciplines, older riders are often forced to chose between road and mountain bike competition. As a junior in her final year, she knows that a decision may be in her future, but she aims to postpone it as long as possible.

"It'll be a tough choice to make to decide what to do," she said. "In my mind, it's possible to do both. I can't imagine a season without both mountain biking and road racing. The two disciplines bring a certain balance in my life, and I'd like to keep doing both."

Ferrand Prevot admitted that this summer, she's done more road racing than mountain biking. "I've still been getting out on a mountain bike to keep my technical skills up." She spent extra time on the course at Mont-Saint-Anne with her coach, honing her technical skills on a course perceived to be technically challenging by most of the racers.

As she matures, her decision may come down to the Olympics. The young rider has a dream to compete at the Olympic Games, but she did not specify which year she might be targeting: 2012, 2016 or beyond.

"There are only two spots for the Olympics for mountain biking and there are more on the road," she said, hinting at a possible direction, before qualifying her response. "I haven't made a decision; I love both."

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.