World road race and cyclo-cross champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot has undergone treatment for sciatica, which was diagnosed earlier this week after she had struggled with severe pain in her left leg for the past two months.
The French rider abandoned last weekend's Mountain Bike World Cup round at Albstadt as a result of the injury and underwent an MRI scan in Paris on Tuesday. This revealed a lumbar inflammation caused by fluid escaping from a joint. The fluid was drawn and Ferrand-Prévot has been told by her doctor to rest for 10 days.
In spite of this layoff, the Rabo Liv rider still plans to defend her French road and time trial titles at the end of this month. She is also hopeful of lining up in the Giro d'Italia at the start of July.
"I'm relieved because this has been going on for a year," she told L'Équipe. "It had gone, but it came back around the time of Flèche Wallonne [in late April], and it was hard to deal with mentally. Everything seemed very black to me. I started to worry about racing because I knew it would be painful."
Having recently decided against participating in the Giro, Ferrand-Prévot is now confident she will start the race, which runs 3-12 July. "I've got the form," she said. "I'm going to rest and we'll see how things go. The Giro is tiring, but if I recover well it could be good for the rest of the season."
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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