Cycling News

Road to Paris: Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Alessandra Keller earn early-season wins

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot in Ineos Grenadiers world championship kit

The Paris Olympics are roughly 130 days away, which means it is time for cross country’s biggest stars to start ramping up their racing towards the Games.

Over the weekend, Pauline Frerrand-Prevot, Nino Schurter, Victor Koretzky and Alessandra Keller all earned early-season wins. Closer to home, Team Canada wrapped up a training camp in Victoria with the Island Cup XC season opener at Hardland.

French Cup Marseille (UCI HC)

With the Olympics landing in their home country, no riders are more keyed up for Paris than the French. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Ineos) opened her season with an XCO win in the French Cup round in Marseille-Luminy over the weekend. While the world champ took the win on home turf, it was U.S.A.’s rising star, Savilia Blunk (RockRider Ford) flying into second place ahead of Austrias Laura Stigger (Specialized) for the lesser podium spots. That pushed former World Cup overall winner Loana Lecomte (Canyon) into fourth.

On the men’s side, Simon Andreassen, Specialized’s Dane, couldn’t stop a French sweep of the elite men’s XCO. Victor Koretzky (Specialized) takes the win. Joshua Dubau, RockRider Ford’s surprise World Cup winner last year, takes second. Former world champion Jordan Sarrou slots into third. That is setting up a race to get into the race as the French bid for one of the host country’s two berths on the Olympic XCO startline.

Swiss Bike Cup Gränichen

The French rider’s main rivals in Paris will likely be the perenially fast Swiss. After sweeping the podium at the Tokyo Games in 2021,  the Swiss women have only added more top talent. Alessandra Keller (Thomus Maxon) earned the win in Gränichen ahead of Trek’s Jolanda Neff. Monique Halter (Thomus Akros – Youngstars) bested Liv’s veteran Linda Indergand to claim the final podium spot.

With Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) off in South Africa chasing Cape Epic glory, his rival Lars Forster was free to take a win in Gränichen. Forster’s teammate, Vital Albin, rolls across the line second with Luca Schätti (Solothurn) beating out German veteran Maxim Brandl (Lexware) for the bronze.

Bjorn Riley, Trek Future Racing’s promising young U.S. racer, landed a big result in seventh.

Island Cup XC

Here in Canada, Vancouver Island’s grassroots Island Cup series kicked off the domestic racing calendar. With the Canadian national program hosting a team camp in the week leading up to the race, it was a stacked field for a regional race.

Jenn Jackson…

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