Pauline Ferrand-Prevot to retire from MTB after 2024 Olympics, eyes final shot at gold

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot Cyclocross

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot has confirmed this will be her final season in mountain biking, marking a potential return to road cycling after competing in the MTB event at the 2024 Paris Olympics. The five-time Cross-Country World Champion revealed her plans after a dominant solo victory in Nové Mêsto. Her strong performance keeps her as a leading favourite for her home games.

Chasing Olympic Glory

Ferrand-Prevot has enjoyed tremendous success across multiple disciplines, yet an Olympic medal has so far eluded her. In the Rio 2016 road race, she finished 26th, following an eighth-place finish in London 2012. Her MTB results include an eighth-place finish in Tokyo, alongside previous disappointing results of a DNF and 25th at earlier Games. “It’s my last chance to try to be Olympic champion, so I don’t want to miss it,” she told Eurosport. “It will be my last year on MTB, so I want to do everything possible to be good this year and try to win the Olympics at home.”

Ferrand-Prevot has been a dominant force in off-road cycling. She claimed her first senior MTB XCO world title in 2015, and her most recent title came just last year in Scotland, where she also won the short-track (XCC) event. Reflecting on her career, she said, “I think I did everything in MTB. I still like it, but it doesn’t make sense to continue. Also, it’s my last chance to be Olympic champion at home, so it’s good to finish there.”

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot

Potential Return to Road Racing

Ferrand-Prevot’s shift away from MTB opens the door to road racing, a discipline in which she was World Champion in 2014. Since 2018, apart from the French Nationals, she has scarcely competed in road events. The new Tour de France Femmes particularly interests her, especially as a French rider. Her last road contract ended in 2020 after four years with Canyon-SRAM. On Geraint Thomas’s podcast, she mentioned, “I do miss it, especially now that we have a Tour de France for women. I would like to ride the Tour de France one day. Right now I’m very focused on the Paris Olympics, but why not get back to road racing next year, or the year after? I would like that.”

However, a potential return to road racing poses logistical challenges as Ineos currently do not have a women’s team, which could mean Ferrand-Prevot might need to leave. She joined the British side in 2022 as their first-ever female rider on a two-year deal, aimed at her home Olympics in Paris, now just two months away.

For now, Ferrand-Prevot remains focused on mountain biking, with the Paris MTB cross-country event on Sunday, 28 July as a key target.

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