The Gravel World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot has withdrawn from this weekend's inaugural European Gravel Bike Championships in Oud-Heverlee, Belgium having announced on her Instagram page that she has tested positive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