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Woman Crush Wednesday – Pauline Ferrand-Prévot

Our variation of Woman Crush Wednesday is intended to highlight the great women of cycling at the height of their career, as well as to introduce you to some riders who are on the brink of stardom.

Who

Since Bernard Hinault’s retirement in 1986, the French have expectantly, hopefully, anxiously, resignedly searched for their next great champion. Riders such as Virenque, Jalabert, Vasseur, Moreau, Chavanel, and Rolland have all provided their countrymen glimpses of their glorious past, but to date, none have come close to matching Hinault’s accomplishments or his public appeal.

Unwittingly, the French may have been looking in the wrong place (or better yet, at the wrong gender) all along.

Enter Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.

Why

At first glance, you may wonder why the theatre owner in Inglourious Basterds decided to give up acting and race a bike. But upon closer inspection, Melanie Laurent is still working in front (as well as behind) the camera, and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot is a starlet on two wheels whose stage is truly any outdoor parcour.

Actress Mélanie Laurent (left); Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (right)
Actress Mélanie Laurent (left); Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (right)

A rarity in this day of cycling specialization, Ferrand-Prévot is a true all-rounder. She has proven to be equally adept on the road, dirt and mud, winning races and championships in various road disciplines, cross country mountain biking, and cyclocross.

More than just a cycling factotum, Ferrand-Prévot showed that she was a master of each discipline throughout an exceptional 2014 campaign, which ultimately resulted in Velonews naming her their 2014 International Cyclist of the Year. Ferrand-Prévot not only captured the 2014 French National Mountain Bike, Road, Time Trial, and Cyclocross Championships, but she also latched on to a rare double rainbow with UCI World Road and Cyclocross Championships (the latter was held in January 2015).

Given her penchant for training and love of all cycling disciplines, Ferrand-Prévot’s career arc is undoubtedly on the ascent, but only time will tell if the French or cycling will hold her in the same regard as compatriot Jeannie Longo, who is arguably one of the greatest cyclists of all-time regardless of gender. Slated to compete in both road and mountain bike events at the Rio 2016 Olympics (the second time she has chosen to undertake both disciplines in the same Olympics), victories (or medals) in both would most likely vault her name into the same conversation with Longo.

Palmares
2009
1st European Junior Time Trial Championship
1st French National Junior Time Trial Championship
2nd World Junior Time Trial Championship
2nd World Junior Road Race Championship
2nd Saint-Quentin Cyclo-cross
3rd European Junior Road Race Championship
3rd Besançon Cyclo-cross

2010
1st World Junior Road Race Championship
1st French National Junior Road Race Championship
2nd European Junior Time Trial Championship
2nd European Junior Road race Championship
2nd World Junior Time Trial Championship
2nd Saint-Jean-de-Monts Cyclo-cross
3rd French National Cyclo-cross Championship
3rd Saverne Cyclo-cross
3rd Miramas Cyclo-cross
8th World Cyclo-cross Championship

2011
1st Rodez Cyclo-cross
2nd Lignières-en-Berry Cyclo-cross
2nd Hamme-Zogge Cyclo-cross
3rd European Cyclo-cross Championship
3rd Besançon Cyclo-cross
4th National Time Trial Championships
4th Halle-Buizingen
5th Grand Prix Elsy Jacobs
5th Grand Prix Nicolas Frantz
7th La Flèche Wallonne Féminine
9th Trofeo Alfredo Binda – Comune Di Cittiglio

2012
1st French National Time Trial championships
1st Sprints classification Holland Ladies Tour
1st Pontchâteau Cyclo-cross
2nd French National Cyclo-cross Championship
2nd Omloop van het Hageland – Tielt-Winge
2nd Besançon Cyclo-cross
4th World TTT World Championships
5th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
7th Trofeo Alfredo Binda – Comune Di Cittiglio
7th 7-Dorpenomloop Aalburg
8th Overall Festival Luxembourgeois du cyclisme féminin Elsy Jacobs
8th Olympic Games Road Race
10th Ronde van Drenthe

2013
1st French National U23 XC Championship
1st French National Time Trial championships
1st Saint-Pompon Mountainbike
1st Flamanville Cyclo-cross
2nd French National Cyclo-cross Championship
2nd French National XC Championship
2nd World XC Championship
2nd World Team Time Trial Championship
2nd Kalmthout Cyclo-cross
3rd Dwars door de Westhoek
4th GP Leende
6th National Road Race Championship
8th Overall La Route de France
1st Youth classification

2014
1st UCI Road Race World Championships
1st French National Cyclo-cross Championship
1st French National Time Trial championships
1st French National Road Race championships
1st French National MTB championships
1st U23 European XC Championship
1st Overall Emakumeen Euskal Bira
1st Stages 1 & 3
1st La Flèche Wallonne Féminine
1st Mountains classification FLdC Elsy Jacobs
1st Youth classification
1st Lons-le-Saunier Mountainbike
1st Nove Mesto na Morave Mountainbike
1st Albstadt Mountainbike
2nd Overall Giro Rosa
1st Youth Classification
3rd GP de Plouay
5th Trofeo Alfredo Binda — Comune di Cittiglio
5th Overall GP Elsy Jacobs

2015
1st French National Cyclo-cross Championship
1st Coupe de France Cycliste de Cyclo-Cross – Lanarvily
1st UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships – Tábor

What (the What)

Nicknamed “PFP” for obvious reasons, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot has earned her share of hardware for her neck and mantle over the years, but it is a piece of hardware in her mouth that makes her uniquely recognizable. Although not to the extent of Kayne, Lil’ Wayne or even Lana Del Rey’s grill work, PFP’s smile would certainly be more blinding if she chose to mark each victory with another diamond stud.

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Where

More information about Pauline Ferrand-Prévot can be found on the Rabo-Liv Women Cycling Team website, or simply click on one of the links below to follow her on your favorite social media platform.

Lenny B
Leonard Basobas - Among my many and varied interests are cycling and writing. I am deeply passionate about both. Strangely enough, neither has come very easy to me.I had such a horrible crash as a small child that I did not attempt to ride again until the 6th grade. From that point forward, you could say that I have had a love affair with two-wheels. When I was not out on my bike, I could be found tearing apart or putting back together other bikes. The frames and parts found in my parents’ basement today are a testament to that fact. Around the same time that I began riding again, a young rider named Greg Lemond had just won the U23 World Championships. Following his career was my entry point into the sport of cycling, but I never participated in organized racing until I was past my cycling prime. Today, a healthy curiosity about racing has me lining up on the road and in the nearest velodrome.In regard to writing, I am not a trained journalist. My writing, instead, strikes a creative bent in the form of short stories, at least when I not writing for my day job in clinical research. Although I have yet to be published for my creative writing, I have authored several abstracts and papers, and been published as the lead author for a paper in a well-known peer reviewed medical journal.I have covered the sport of cycling, as both writer and photographer, at such races as the Amgen Tour of California (2008 to 2014) and the US Pro Cycling Challenge. I was also the featured Guest Contributor for LIVESTRONG.com, commentating and moderating the site's live blogging feed during the 2009 Tour de France.