• Pauline Ferrand-Prevot before the 2016 Rio Olypmic road race (Getty)Source: Getty
Former world champion Pauline-Ferrand Prevot says "the bike was what I loved to do the most, but it has become my biggest nightmare," and is uncertain of her return to the sport.
By
Cycling Central

26 Aug 2016 - 5:08 PM  UPDATED 26 Aug 2016 - 5:13 PM

Ferrand-Prevot detailed on Facebook a cache of injuries and fatigue she has experienced in the past 12 months. Finished now for the season, the 24-year-old Frenchwoman does not know when she will return to the bike. 

The 2015 cyclocross and MTB world champion said she published the post in response to criticism received after withdrawing from the Olympic MTB cross country race last weekend. 

"Everyone can give an opinion or judgement. But I wanted to explain," she said. 

"I left the race crying. I do not think to go in the mixed zone to explain my abandonment to reporters, this is really the last thing you think about in those moments."

"I wanted to finish this race which I dreamed, but my body could not. It was really impossible for me. I am extremely disappointed, there are no words to express it. 

 

"Abandoning is losing"

 

Ferrand-Prevot begins her post with the phrase "abandoning is losing." She said those words kept playing in a loop over and over in her mind.

As a result of this mindset, the 2014 world road race champion believes she rushed back to training. 

"Being world champion in three disciplines in one year* may have been the worst thing that ever happened to me.

"Even injured I was working harder every day without giving up. I started this winter with stress fracture in the knee. Everything went very quickly: resumption of training too quickly and too much, without listening to the advice of my coach telling me to resume smoothly."

After the knee, Ferrand-Prevot experienced sciatica which responded to treatment poorly. Rather than recover and rest for an appropriate time, she pushed through with training and workouts despite producing poor power outputs. 

She then suffered allergies which required her to miss competition because of treatment. 

"We decided to put me on steroids. As the law against the fight against doping stipulates, I was forbidden to take part in a competition for 10 days. 10 days during which I will train even harder to lose even the least possible time. 

Ferrand-Prevot said treatment for her sciatica had recently produced some results and she was progressing slowly after Olympic qualification. 

But the road race and the MTB at the Olympics caught up with her which led to the heart breaking post, her prolonged abandonment now a cruel irony. 

"I end my season on abandonment. I do not know when I will go back on a bike. The bike was what I loved to do the most, but it has become my biggest nightmare."

(ed: her 2014 road race world championship win within that year)