MEET THE RIDERS AND THEIR RIDES: PAULINE FERRAND-PREVOT

PAULINE FERRAND-PREVOT

Paul Foulonneau | 3SO L’Agence

 

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot is a three-time world champion in cross-country mountain bike racing. In 2015, she became the first rider in history to win the Elite World Championships in road, cyclocross and mountain biking in the same year. Pauline won the mountain bike Elite Women’s  XCO World Championship again in 2019 and 2020.

In addition to her three Elite Women’s XCO Mountain Bike World Championship titles, Pauline has also racked up World Championship titles in cyclocross and road cycling.

RIDER PROFILE:

Name: Pauline Ferrand-Prevot

Nickname: PFP, Paupau

Age: 29

Birthdate: February 10, 1992

Birthplace: Reims, France

Shoe size: 39

Helmet size: S-M

Marital status: With Julien Absalon

Current home: Fréjus

Car(s): Mini Cooper cabriolet

Started racing or competing: 5 years ago

Turned pro: In 2011 on MTB with Lapierre and 2012 with Liv Rabobank for MTB, road and CX

Racing/riding specialty: MTB XCO

Favorite course or riding area (North America): Mont-Sainte-Anne

Favorite course or riding area (Europe): Les Vosges for summer and Fréjus in winter

Favorite food: Sushi, healthy food with fresh vegetables or pizzas when season is off

Goals: Being happy as often as possible

Heroes: No one in particular—human beings can be as heroic as they are pathetic in daily life, so I try to look at the first part and neglige [neglect] the second

Favorite recording artist: I have eclectic music tastes

Favorite movie: Same as music. I’m not the kind of person who stays on the same thing—movie, food—sorry! Life is too rich!

Favorite hobbies: Training—and spa!

Jobs held (other than racer): I’ll answer in some years

Most embarrassing moment: You mean the kind of moments when you’re facing someone with a piece of salad between the teeth and you don’t know him enough to tell him so? Well, I hope it’s not arrived yet and will never arrive!

Always takes on a trip: My Compex stuff, my AirPods

What you would be if you were not a racer: I love so much to be a racer! I’m enjoying it more and more every day, so I can’t imagine having chosen a different life.

Pauline is a ferociously good climber, as you might expect from a multi-time XCO world champion.

INSIDE THE PROS’ BIKES

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot’s BMC Fourstroke

 

Frame: BMC Fourstroke, carbon, size small, 100mm rear travel, 29-inch wheel size

“I love the BMC geometry, modern and perfect for the technical tracks we meet now in the world circuit! I feel really more at ease and confident on those bikes.”

Weight: 10.04 kilograms (22.13 pounds)

Front brake: SRAM Level Ultimate, 160mm rotor

Rear brake: SRAM Level Ultimate, 160mm rotor

Brake/gear levers: SRAM Level Ultimate

Fork: RockShox SID Ultimate 100mm, 32mm

Shock: RockShox SID Lux Ultimate, 100mm

Front chainring: SRAM XX1 AXS—32-tooth or 34-tooth, depending on the track

Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1 AXS

Cassette: 10-50

Wheels: New Duke carbon SLS, 28mm inner (front), 30mm inner (rear); DT Swiss rims; Boost 148 (R), 110 (F); Sapim spokes

Tires: Vittoria Mezkal, 29×2.25 inches (most of the time)

Handlebars: BMC carbon, 700mm (27.56 inches)

Stem: BMC, 50mm (1.97 inches)

Headset: BMC

Tape/grips: MTB 90

Pedals: Time

Saddle: Prologo PAS

Seatpost: BMC RAD, 0-20mm to 80mm drop

Pauline is not afraid to get dirty when a gold medal is at stake, and she has won a lot of them.

MBA Q&A

MBA: Where did you grow up?

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot: In Reims, in France, famous for the champagne wine!

MBA: What kind of work do (or did) your father and mother do?

PFP: My father had a bike shop and my mother worked for a national insurance company.

MBA: When did you first start riding a bicycle?

PFP: At 5 years old.

MBA: If you raced other kinds of bikes before mountain bikes, how long did you do that?

PFP: I started with CX and XC, so no need to switch.

MBA: What have been your best competition results on non-mountain bikes?

PFP: I love road racing, so I guess my best result there is to win the Flèche Wallonne in 2014.

MBA: When did you first start competing on mountain bikes?

PFP: In 2005. I used to compete with older riders and boys, as few girls were on the track.

MBA: How did you do in your first mountain bike event?

PFP: I was really excited, because I’ve always been a competitor, love training, so I wanted to prove my parents an MTB race was the right place for me, as my mother wasn’t really happy to have a daughter riding MTB, despite she rides bikes, too! But, she wanted me to [do] ice skating. I tried, less than one year. No way! I couldn’t stand being judged by someone. I prefer when the chrono is the answer!

While the rainbow-striped XC World Championship outfit is well worth smiling about, don’t forget how much work it took to earn it.

 

MBA: What have been your best national and international results on mountain bikes?

PFP: Maybe seven Elite World titles on XC, CX and road. All are great memories, but I really enjoyed the last two in 2019 and 2020, as they have been the sign of a resurrection for me in my career after three difficult years fighting against injuries and doubts.

MBA: Where did you go to school?

PFP: In Reims. I love French. I was a pretty good student, loving school, even if I was quickly involved in a mix of school-sport section. That’s the reason I hate when I publish some French mistakes on my social medias! But, I must admit that I don’t really work on my “posh fresh language” for years now!

MBA: Do you have any other career training?

PFP: No.

MBA: Did you earn any awards in sports or academics while in school?

PFP: It was after school. I had the chance to be nominated to the Sportel Awards in Monaco last year. Good memories.

MBA: What other sports do you do besides mountain biking?

PFP: Road biking, cyclocross, a bit of motocross. I love trail running, too.

MBA: Have you competed in any of them?

PFP: Road and CX, yes.

MBA: If so, how well have you done?

PFP: World champion in 2014 and 2015,

MBA: If possible, please tell us something interesting or unusual about yourself or your family that is not widely known.

PFP: I love salted butter caramel macarons, and I’ve always loved to ride on a special bike. It was one of my demands when I signed with BMC, but none was as special as my BMC is! It was a fantastic experience to work with the artist No Curves to create that unique version of my Fourstroke and Twostroke. I had to associate images with traits of my character, not always qualities! It was like an invitation to take my place in his artistic universe. I don’t think I have a creative side, but I have to admit that I really got into the game. But, I didn’t see the creation until it was finished, so I discovered it after my mechanic and so on. It was a very special moment. There is always a fear of discovering a personalized bike: Are you going to like it or not? It’s a bit like a gift. It also comes to say whether the person who gives it to you knows you well or not—and if you have given him the means to know you as you are. And even if I knew all the investment of BMC, No Curves and all the people who worked on this bike, and that I thank today from the bottom of my heart, I would have never been able to ride a bike that I wouldn’t have liked, so the stakes were really high!

So, finding out was a moment of intense truth—and a real relief! I’m really happy, because besides being beautiful, this bike is also a way for me to let people get to know me a bit more, behind the appearances or what they think they know about me without knowing me deeply. Everything has meaning, and I find myself there fully. I was already in love with the geometry of my BMCs; now, I’m more than ever proud, honored and happy to ride them every day. 


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