There may be a new champion in the making in French women's cycling, still dominated by the 52-year-old Jeannie Longo. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, just 19 years of age, took an impressive seventh in the Flèche Wallonne Féminine on Wednesday, with the victory going to Marianne Vos.
Also a mountain biker, Ferrand-Prévot is in her debut year within the pro ranks on the road. The young French woman has already won three world championship titles: the 2009 and 2010 junior cross country title, as well as the 2010 Junior Road Worlds. But at her second World Cup event ever, and being the youngest rider in the field, Ferrand-Prévot immediately placed amongst the strongest.
"The Flèche Wallonne, I was eager for it, it's made for me," she said on her personal website . "It's a mythical race, not only a World Cup event - it's more than that..."
Racing on the road with the French national team, she already placed ninth at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda in the end of March, but now did even better. "I'm happy with my race," Ferrand-Prévot continued. "I think I managed my efforts well, it's a great moment. I just have one small regret, I was with the first four riders and I cracked in the last 300 metres to the top [of the Mur de Huy ed.]. But I gave it everything, it hurt so bad."
The young and rising star may be on the same path as Nicole Cooke, who is the only female cyclist ever also to have won the road and mountain bike Junior Worlds in the same year.