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Pauline Ferrand-Prevot’s double rainbow

French rider is back on top and starting her next string of world championship titles

Pauline Ferrand Prevot XCM world championships

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot is back, and on a roll.

The French racer won her sixth elite world championship title on Sunday in Grachen, Switzerland. Ferrand-Prevot set the fastest time in the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships. The Canyon rider finished the 70 km course in 3:57.09.

Ferrand-Prevot’s latest world championship title comes just weeks after reclaiming her Elite Women’s XCO title at 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec. Between those two races, the multi-talented rider won the World Cup XCO finals in Snowshoe, W.Va.

Holding two world championship titles simultaneously is impressive for any rider. But with Ferrand-Prevot’s past, this could just be the start.

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot returns to rainbows at Mont-Sainte-Anne. Photo: Boris Beyer / Red Bull Content Pool

In 2015, Ferrand-Prevot became the first rider ever to hold elite world championship titles in three separate disciplines simultaneously. At just 23 years old, the French rider held road, cyclocross and mountain bike titles, adding a fourth in XC Relay just for good measure.

Ferrand-Prevot’s impressive streak in 2015 included winning mountian bike world championships in Vallnord, Andorra, where she was also on the winning French team XC relay team. That same year, she won the cyclocross world championships in the Tabor, Czech Republic. All of that followed on her UCI Road World Championships win the previous fall in Ponferrada, Spain.

After a storm comes the rainbow

The road back to wearing rainbows hasn’t been easy, though. In 2016 and 2017, the once-dominant rider struggled to find the same success that had seemed so easy at the start of her carreer.

Leading into this season, Ferrand-Prevot underwent surgery to fix a mysterious knee injury that had plagued her for several years. The French rider missed four months of competition, including early season racing.

The surgery appeared to have finally fixed the problem, though. Ferrand-Prevot quickly worked her way up the World Cup leaderboards.

Her return to form, and to the elite ranks of world cycling, came at 2019 Mountain Bike World Championships. At Mont-Sainte-Anne, Ferrand-Prevot went head to head with Jolanda Neff, coming away with the win in the elite women’s XCO. Her fifth elite world championship title was quickly followed by the World Cup win at Snowshoe, West Virginia.

Now, Ferrand-Prevot has her sixth elite title, having won XCM world’s in Grachen. The question facing the French rider is no longer “if” she can return to the top, but how much more can she win.