Pauline Ferrand-Prévot made her debut with Absolute Absalon-BMC at the Copa Catalana Internacional on February 27 in Banyoles, Spain. The reigning world champion finished seventh, and while she said she struggled during the race, she hopes to be in top form come July.
“Too beautiful today. I take 7th place at the @copacatalanainternacional of Banyoles. First half of the race in the lead, and I crack at the end. But too mega happy to put a bib back on and see where I am,” Ferrand-Prévot wrote in a post on Instagram.
“I’m still struggling to get back on track (and yes, 29 years old guys!!!!) so I didn’t expect anything regarding my result of the day. In 5 races it will be much better, and in June-July I hope to be at the top."
The Spanish race was a UCI HC category race, an ideal early-season competition for the reigning World Champion to find her race legs in the lead up to the mountain bike World Cup season and the Olympic Games.
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After spending four seasons with Canyon-SRAM, Ferrand-Prévot announced at the start of the New Year that she signed with Absolute Absalon-BMC and that she has a focus on the Olympic Games in Tokyo, rescheduled for July 23 to August 8, 2021.
“I am really excited to be riding BMC, a brand with an envied racing pedigree and a Swiss excellence I find very inspiring,” Ferrand-Prévot said in a news release from the team in January.
Copa Catalana Internacional marked Ferrand-Prévot’s debut with her new team at an international mountain bike event.
Trek Factory Racing took the top two spots on the podium with Evie Richards taking the victory by 1:20 ahead of her teammate Jolanda Neff. Germany’s Elisabeth Brandau was third. Ferrand-Prévot finished in seventh place at 1:22 behind the winner.
Ferrand-Prévot’s decision to change teams means that she will not compete on the road events this year and has now strictly turned her attention to the cross-country event at the Tokyo Olympic Games. In the lead-up to the Olympics, Ferrand-Prévot is expected to be at the first World Cup XCO race on 8-9 May in Albstadt, Germany.