Ineos Grenadiers’ multi-discipline stars Tom Pidcock and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot kick-started their 2024 mountain bike seasons in an important Olympic year with victories at the Shimano Supercup Massi round in La Nucía, Spain at the weekend.
The pair are the respective men’s and women’s elite cross-country mountain bike World Champions and both donned their rainbow jerseys as they rode to solo victories.
Pidcock makes his road debut at the Volta ao Algarve on Wednesday before switching his focus to a reduced spring Classics campaign, with the Tour de France and Paris Olympics highlighted as key objectives. He seems to have no problem in switching from road training to mountain bike racing and back into stage racing.
He faced serious competition from last year’s winner in La Nucía, Samuel Gaze (Alpecin-Deceuninck). Gaze is the MTB short-track World Champion and finished second to Pidcock in the cross-country race at Worlds in Scotland last summer.
The New Zealand rider was ahead of Pidcock in the opening laps until the Briton closed him down and made his winning move on the final ascent of the climb, winning with an eventual margin of 26 seconds.
“I’ve been on a long training camp now so it was a bit difficult to get into the race rhythm,” said Pidcock after the finish.
“But I think the endurance came out at the end. It’s difficult for these explosive climbs but I think it’s a nice way to start the year. Seems to be becoming quite a continual thing, having a battle with Sam in MTB races so more of that this year.”
After announcing that she has a new agent and so could look to leave Ineos and join one of the major women’s WorldTour teams in 2025, Ferrand-Prévot was supreme on her season debut and won by 50 seconds from Nicole Koller and Savilla Blunk on her 32nd birthday.
The 12-time World Champion across MTB, road, gravel and cyclocross is into her second year with Ineos Grenadiers, with 2024 set to be her final season unless she extends with the British team.
Ferrand-Prévot’s primary focus for 2024 is the Paris Olympics, with a cross-country mountain bike gold medal being one of the very few titles missing from her illustrious palmarès.
Mountain bike and cyclocross have become her main disciplines in the past few seasons with no appearances on the road since the French national championships in 2021, but Ferrand-Prévot has indicated that a return to road is in her future ambitions.
“I do miss it, especially now that we have a Tour de…