Ineos Grenadiers have announced the signing of Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, the first female rider to join the team, and the first rider who is purely joining their "off-road roster".
The news broke last week, and was confirmed to Cycling Weekly by a source, but now Ineos have confirmed the deal. Ferrand-Prévot has signed a two-year deal with the team, which continues past the 2024 Olympics in Paris, which is her biggest goal.
The Frenchwoman has had a record-breaking 2022, which has seen her win the short track, cross country and marathon mountain bike World Championships, as well as the inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships.
The multi-disciplined star currently rides for the Absolute–Absalon–BMC team and is a four-time World XC champion.
The Frenchwoman currently holds the world titles in elite women's XCC short track, XCO cross-country, won in late August in Les Gets, France, and the XCM marathon won in Haderslev, Denmark in mid-September. She is the first to win all three titles in the same season. She has also won the cyclocross and road World Championships in the past.
Ferrand-Prévot said that the deal was a "dream" for her, and that she was excited to join the Ineos family of athletes.
“Signing with the Ineos Grenadiers is a dream for me," she said in a press release. "I’m super excited to be joining the off-road team and becoming part of a wider group of riders and the Ineos family of athletes. The Ineos Grenadiers’ professionalism is world-renowned and I have always admired the team’s ethos and spirit.
“To have the 2024 Olympics in Paris is huge for me. I want to be the best rider I can be in front of a home crowd and that will be my main goal over the next two years. An Olympic gold medal is the only one missing from my palmarés so it’s the one I want the most. It was a key reason to join this adventure with the Ineos Grenadiers. I still have a lot of things to learn and it is the best team to help me reach my goal.”
She will join Tom Pidcock as a MTB rider on the team, who is the reigning Olympic and European mountain bike XC champion, rides in Ineos colours on the road, in cyclocross and in mountain biking, but the latter two have very much an individual operation. Ben Tulett, another Ineos road rider, also rides cyclocross in the team colours.
Rod Ellingworth, the deputy team principal, welcomed Ferrand-Prévot and praised her talent and dedication.
“Signing a world-class rider like Pauline is a huge boost as we grow the number of multi-disciplinary athletes racing as Grenadiers," he said.
“Pauline is a unique talent. Her palmarés speaks for itself, especially after just winning four world titles in the space of two months. But what sets her apart and makes her a great addition to the Grenadiers is her drive and grit. She loves the sport and is a natural born racer and that comes through in the way she rides.
“Pauline is on her own journey to try and win gold at her home Olympics and this is an area where we thrive and have proven success. We are excited to support that ambition and help her achieve her goals over the coming years.”
Ferrand-Prévot said that her main goal of the season was to be world champion in Les Gets, which she followed through on.
"I wanted to prove to myself that I could win in my home country with the increased pressure and media attention that brings," she said. Because of the Paris Olympics in 2024 that was an important test for me, and it went perfectly. I had all my family there so it was really cool to win in front of them all. I have now won four World titles in one year and I’m really happy with that!”
“I’m still feeling super good at the moment and really motivated so I’m looking to start cyclocross again in November and try and become European Champion in Namur. After that I will take a small break and then I want to start cyclocross again and be in the best condition for those World Championships.”
Pinarello, the current bike supplier at Ineos Grenadiers for road racing, does not manufacture a mountain bike and therefore Pidcock races on an unbranded BMC Fourstroke when he competes cross-country, although he uses a Crossista when doing cyclocross, Pinarello's first CX bike in 30 years. With Ferrand-Prévot currently using a BMC in her MTB racing, this partnership could continue.
However, it has been previously reported that Pinarello are developing a mountain bike to be used by Pidcock, although it might not be ready until 2024.
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