COVID-19 strikes Pauline Ferrand-Prévot ahead of UCI Gravel World title defence

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot poses with her gold medal after the XCO World Championships in Scotland
Having won two World titles this year Ferrand-Prévot's hopes of a third are now in doubt (Image credit: Paul Brett)

The Gravel World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot has withdrawn from this weekend's inaugural European Gravel Bike Championships in Oud-Heverlee, Belgium having announced on her Instagram page that she has tested positive for COVID-19.

With just a week to go until she attempts to defend her UCI Gravel World Championships in Italy and add it to her rainbow jerseys won at Glentress in XCO and XCC during the summer UCI World Championships, the French star will certainly be up against it if she hopes to line-up in Italy on the 7th of October.

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot celebrates with her compatriot Loana Lecomte

Ferrand-Prévot announced she had tested positive for COVID-19 on her Instagram page (Image credit: Paul Brett)

Announcing her disappointment at not appearing at the European Gravel Championships, Ferrand-Prévot said, "Since Les Gets nothing is going really in the right direction. I managed to push myself every time to give my best and got a good result, but last week during the Olympic Games Test Event, I started to feel tired again and had no energy. Two days ago I started to feel sick, and now it seems the Covid has hit me again. I planned to compete this weekend at the European Gravel Championships but this will not happen.”

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot climbing on her Pinarello Dogma XC MTB

Ferrand-Prévot finished third in the Olympic MTB test event held at Elancourt, France (Image credit: Paul Brett)

Ferrand-Prévot finished third in the MTB test event held at Elancourt, France, and had opted for a gravel-focused schedule to end her season instead of competing in the last two rounds of the UCI MTB World Cup in Snowshoe. She would have been amongst the favorites to defend her title and perhaps claim her third-world title of 2023. In a race that will have a host of big names on the start line, including Tour de France Femmes winner Demi Vollering, Annemiek van Vleuten and Riejanne Markus, who all received wildcard places. The entire field will be feeling slightly more confident of taking the Gravel World title now that Ferrand-Prévot's participation is looking questionable.

We would love to see Pauline Ferrand-Prévot be on the start line next weekend and wish her a speedy recovery.

Paul Brett
Staff writer

Paul Brett is a staff writer for He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm