Pauline Ferrand-Prévot successfully defends her XCC mountain bike world title with a dominant performance in Glentress

Pauline Ferrand-Prévotwinning the XCC at 2023 UCI XCC World Champs
An always in control Pauline Ferrand-Prévot defended her XCC title in Glentress (Image credit: Paul Brett)

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot retained her XCC short track cross-country world title with a comfortable victory in Glentress, Scotland at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. After shadowing her rainbow jersey rivals for the entire race Ferrand-Prévot made her decisive move on the last lap, surging clear on the main climb and away from the lead group of riders. With none of her rivals able to hold on to her wheel, Ferrand-Prévot crossed the line with a four-second gap ahead of Puck Pieterse with Evie Richards a further five seconds behind to round out the podium.

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot winning the XCC at 2023 UCI XCC World Champs

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot looked cool, calm and collected in the her warm-up box (Image credit: Paul Brett)

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot had looked cool, calm, and collected in her warm-up box before the race and it was a look she retained throughout the race that was ridden at a blistering speed from start to finish. From the green light, the pace was instant and Italy's Martina Berta led the way ahead of Puck Pieterse. On lap two Evie Richards was looking to set the pace roared on by a partisan crowd hoping for a home win, again with with Puck Pieterse, and Ferrand-Prévot riding close behind with Berta.

Puck Pieterse and Evie Richards climbing at the XCC at 2023 UCI XCC World Champs

Puck Pieterse and Evie Richards lead the group up the main climb shadowed by the ever present Ferrand-Prevot (Image credit: Paul Brett)

The 1km laps went quickly with the front group of riders attempting to make decisive moves and Rebecca Henderson as well as the US duo of Gwendalyn Gibson and Savilla Blunk all having turns on the front. By lap four it was Henderson pushing on the front with Pieterse, Richards, and the ever-present Ferrand-Prévot stalking her prey close behind. Swiss rider Sina Frei spun out on the gravel, went down and with the unrelenting pace never recovered to challenge.

Rebecca Henderson followed by Ferrand-Prévot and Evie Richards at the XCC world champs

Australia's Rebecca Henderson on the front of the race (Image credit: Paul Brett)

The lead group was whittled down to just six riders Pieterse, Keller, Gibson, Henderson, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, and Richards. With time running out to make a winning move, it was Evie Richards who drove the pace but with Ferrand-Prévot sitting on her wheel the inevitable happened and the defending champion hit the gas on the final climb and quickly surged clear. With her challengers unable to hold on to her wheel, the French rider pressed home her advantage to cruise over the line and what looked like an almost effortless victory.

Evie Richards, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Puck Pieterse heading into the final lap at the 2023 UCI XCC World Champs

Evie Richards leading out on the final lap (Image credit: Paul Brett)

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot now heads into Saturday's XCO race at Glentress as a formidable favorite and it's hard to see who will stop the French rider bagging another rainbow jersey.

There are still limited digital ticketing options left for this weekend's XCO events with remaining tickets available at For those not lucky enough to see the action close-up, watching the TV coverage is the next best option.

How to watch the 2023 MTB World Championships on TV

In the US, you can watch the XCO Mountain BIke World Championships live and on-demand with a subscription to Flobikes, which also covers the remaining events mainly the Women's road on Sunday.

In the UK, the BBC will show highlights of the MTB XCO UCI World Championships on BBC Two and BBC Three, and also have streaming live and on-demand via on iPlayer and the BBC Sport website. You can also watch live or on-demand on GCN+, Eurosport, and Discovery+. Events are also covered by free-to-air broadcasters across Europe.

Paul Brett
Staff writer

Based in Edinburgh, 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