In the latest episode of ‘Rob Meets…’ mountain bike legend and commentator Rob Warner heads to sunny Côte D’Azur to meet Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, the only person to ever hold road, cyclo-cross and mountain bike world titles simultaneously. No wonder Rob tags her ‘the world’s greatest all-round cyclist.’
Pedaling back to the beginning of her career, we find out that Pauline’s parents were both competitive road cyclists at a national level. Initially, her mom didn’t want her to cycle, as she said it was “not a sport for girls”. But Pauline’s was not deterred, and won her first competition on a road bike age 5.
Sprinting forward, Pauline wins her first Elite MTB World Cup, in 2014: She was certainly living up to her claim of being “competitive and a bad loser.” To prove that the win was not a fluke, she goes on to triumph in her next race with a three minute lead. “I was in super good shape and flying,” she remembers, with a smile.
That same year, she takes the Road World Championship and a few months later, brings home the Cyclo-cross World Championship title. Pauline remembers the latter coming as ‘a big surprise’, as she had never won a World Cup before. Then in 2015 she secures the Cross Country World Championship.
“Winning is not always easy though,” admits Pauline as she and Rob discuss the follow three years in which she slipped from the podium and very nearly gave up cycling altogether. She says it was a mentally and physically challenging time because of chronic back pain and she admits, ‘I didn’t want to do cycling or even think about sports.’
She regained her love of cycling and competing when she fell in love with 5x UCI Cross Country World Champion, Julien Absalon. He convinced her that she could not only ride again but also win, and in 2019, after complex surgery to correct a narrow artery, she returned to the podium with two World Cup victories and two World Championships. She was undeniably back in the saddle!
To close the show Pauline takes Rob for a spin of her local hairpins and climbs but even on an e-bike Warner has to concede that he got well and truly schooled.
Via: Red Bull