Ferrand-Prevot to ride cyclo-cross Worlds after nationals win

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot has confirmed that she will race the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Valkenburg after winning the French national title at the weekend. 

Ferrand-Prévot had originally planned to hang up her cyclo-cross bike after the French race but a dominant performance saw her win a third national title ahead of the defending champion Caroline Mani.

She now plans to extend her season by a few weeks and has added the remaining two rounds of the World Cup in Nommay (January 21) and Hoogerheide (January 28) to her calendar to help improve her starting position for Valkenberg.

"Together with Canyon-SRAM we decided I go until World Championships," Ferrand-Prévot confirmed.

"I still feel good and fresh. I saw the Valkenburg circuit after the Zolder World Cup and I really like it. I think it will be a great race. My focus is to do as best I can in the next two World Cups so I can have a better starting position for Worlds. I'll use these two races as my final preparations."

The 2017-2018 cyclo-cross season is Ferrand-Prévot’s first in two years after injury and illness played havoc with her career. Still just 25, she won back-to-back national titles in 2014 and 2015 before going on to win the world title in 2015, added to the road race world title she’d earned a few months earlier.

After struggling with illness and injury problems, she came close to pulling the plug on her career but 2017 has been something of a revival of fortunes for her.

The Canyon-SRAM rider announced her return to cyclo-cross last month and rode the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee in Essen a few days later, finishing fourth. She went on to win the Vlaamse Druivencross ahead of current world champion Sanne Cant and has enjoyed a string of top-five finishes. While it has been an extremely competitive cyclo-cross campaign, Ferrand-Prévot said there was no pressure on her going into the national championships at the weekend.

"I wasn't nervous at the start. I had nothing to lose. I was not the defending champion," she said. "The course was muddy and slippery. I had to stay focused all the way to the end. I did my own race and tried to be the best I could in the technical sections. I'm really happy to have this win."

The UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships will take place in Valkenburg between February 3-4.

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