Less than three months on from his astounding performance in knocking more than two seconds off the world kilometre record on the Mexican track at Aguascalientes, François Pervis achieved en equally staggering feat by winning three individual titles at the UCI Track World Championships in Cali, Colombia.
Having already bagged the keirin and kilometre titles, the Frenchman sealed his hat-trick by defeating world sprint champion Stefan Bötticher. Speaking to L'Équipe after beating the German to win the sprint crown, Pervis said: "What makes it special is that here in Cali I haven't lost a single sprint. No one has beaten me. And I was up against the defending world champion in the final and in the semi-final I faced the Russian [Denis] Dmitriev, who prevented me from getting to the final last year. I'm the first to achieve the triple, it's huge!"
So often the nearly man of track sprinting, Pervis acknowledged that everything has come together for him this year. "It's incredible. I would never have dreamed of all this. If someone had told me about this when I was young, I would never have believed them," he declared.
He said that he is aware that the attitude of his rivals towards him has changed over the past few days in Colombia. "I feel that I inspire a mixture of fear and respect in them. They analyse me from head to toe before races. I get the impression that they are looking at every little detail: my bike, my helmet, at absolutely everything," he said.
The Frenchman will now turn his sights towards the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and hopes to receive a significant boost to his preparations for the Games by signing a deal with a pro road team. If confirmed, the deal will enable him to focus completely on track training and racing.
"If a professional team does secure the services of a sprinter who only competes on the track and pays him for racing it would offer recognition for all track riders, not just me alone," explained Pervis, who had a similar deal in place with Cofidis in 2009 and 2010. "I hope that my contacts with this team will lead to a successful conclusion.
Pervis said he needs to keep progressing with Rio in mind, revealing that he doesn't think the form he has had in Cali will be good enough to win him Olympic gold in two years. He said that the recent opening of the new French cycling centre at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines will boost his Olympic prospects significantly having previously trained on a 166-metre track.
"Now we can train every day on a 250-metre track like those on which the World Championships take place. It will help us progress and become even better performers,” said Pervis, who described the new facility as “magnificent”.
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