We caught up with multi-discipline cycling star Pauline Ferrand-Prévot of Team Absolute Absalon-BMC as she ended her season. She details her history with TIME Pedals and reveals her favorite place to ride. Hint, she really loves her home country!
How is the winter break/ recovery going?
Pretty good. I went on holiday. I decided to end my season after the Lenzerheide short race simply because I felt it was time to stop. I felt that I was physically and mentally tired. I didn't want to go beyond what my body could do and what I was able to simply do. It may seem a bit pretentious, but I didn't want to start the World Cup in Lenzerheide to finish 15th in pain. Everyone has his/her own objectives. It’s been a month since I stopped riding. I went on vacation with some friends to unplug and try to recover as much as possible and slowly resume training and then have a good winter again.
What are your takes from this last season, your first with the Team Absolute Absalon-BMC.
First year within the team, and in addition, it was an Olympic year so a lot of things at the same time. It has been a good season but not exceptional, either. We have to use this season to re-establish a working base for this winter and to progress for next year. I think I was at the top physically but technically a little less and mentally a little less too and that played on the final result of this season.
If you had to go on a cycling vacation, just for fun, where would you go?
I will stay in France. I would like to go to the southwest of France to discover because I do not know this area at all.
Do you like duck [Southwest of France is famous for Duck amongst a lot of other things]?
I don't necessarily like duck, but I like foie gras and sweet wines.
What is your favorite hobby besides cycling?
[Long silence.] During the season, it's hard to find time. It’s full focus on training and recovery. I like girl stuff, shopping, taking care of myself, going to the beauty salon. The Spa, I love. Take care of Mauricette (her rabbit, more on that in a bit!). Rather simple things actually.
Let's talk a bit about TIME. What's your story with TIME pedals?
It’s funny because I had already ridden TIME pedals when I was at Scott's as a junior. It must have been in 2008, I believe. Then I switched to a competing brand and came back to TIME this year. No actually, last year already [World Champion on TIME in 2020]. These are pedals that I love because they are versatile, whether in the mud or in dry conditions. You know they are reliable too and that is very important. They are also easy to clip in. Starts matter a lot for positioning so you can’t afford to miss the first pedal stroke. You have to clip very fast. I quickly found my marks with these pedals. It’s clear that it would be quite hard to switch to another pedal brand now.
Do you still ride on the prototype pedals you had last season, with short axles?
Yes, and I still have the same.
What does it bring to you?
We wanted to keep the same Q-Factor on all my bikes, so it was important to have the same position on all the bikes. Particularly because I had this problem with the iliac artery. So, it was important not to change position too much depending on the bikes. I also have a pretty narrow pelvis so that's something I would like to keep.
Do you see an advantage with TIME pedals in relation to knee and joint pain?
I never really had pain in my knees or anything. So, I can't really say but since I never have any issues, what's for sure is that they are good. MTB pedals too. On the road. I love my MTB pedals. You have a lot of angular freedom and you don't always have a fixed position where your foot is fixed and that allows you to have a little freedom. It suits me well. I thought that the fact that these pedals are with angular freedom helps to limit pain in the knees and joints. We are in a sport where we are already in an axis so if we have super fixed pedals it would not be ideal.
What are the most important aspects for XC pedals?
Like I said, it has to be a functional pedal. Meaning that at the start you really have to be able to find the pedal quickly and make sure that you clip-in as quickly as possible in all conditions. A reliable pedal for sprints and even at the start when you're at full power.
Why don't you use road pedals on your training road bike?
As I said earlier, it's to keep the same position and use the same equipment on all my bikes. For me, this is quite specific due to my surgery. They asked me to keep the same position as much as possible.
When you raced all the disciplines, you were changing. Right?
Yes, I was changing. But they told me it wasn't necessarily good for me. The cause of my pain is not exactly known.
If you had to make an improvement to your pedals, what would it be?
Lighter. But they are already very light ...
[Long silence.] Honestly, I don't know.
Custom pedals. Maybe with a super reliable power meter but not heavier.
Honestly, France is a country where wherever you go, it's awesome to ride. When earlier you asked me where I would like to go riding for fun, I didn't hesitate. I will stay in France. There are so many beautiful landscapes, it’s so diverse. We really have everything!
Tell us about Mauricette? Do you take her everywhere with you?
[She said with a laugh as Julien Absalon, team manager, was next to her]. I would like to, but I have a team manager who is difficult.
When we're not here she stays with Grandma. She has her own room. I am going to get her back and I’m wondering how she is going to be because she has taken so many bad habits. It's going to be hard to get her back on track. Mauricette is doing very well. I post photos regularly. I hope to get her back next week. Maybe we'll take her to the races next season (lol). It will be necessary to hide all the cables though.
What is your goal for next season?
World Championship in Les Gets in France! And I would like to try to win the World Cup overall classification.
What can we wish you for next year?
To be happy and to be able to improve on all the points that I want to improve. If I can do this, I would be unbeatable.
All photos by @3solagence