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Euro mountain biking: the advent of Lecomte, the revival of Ferrand-Prévot

"First objective fulfilled.

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Euro mountain biking: the advent of Lecomte, the revival of Ferrand-Prévot

"First objective fulfilled. Now I will refocus on next week", quickly projected the Haut-Savoyarde, who was playing her first European Championships in the elite.

A precocious talent, winner of his first round of the World Cup in 2020 at the age of 21, Lecomte took advantage of a mechanical incident with "PFP", alone in the lead in the mud of the Olympiapark after a third of the race, to soar to victory.

"I don't know (if she could have won without the derailment). But the classification is made at the finish, not during the race", preferred not to linger Lecomte, winner with 37 seconds ahead of his compatriot.

The Dutch vice-world champion Anne Terpstra completes the podium, 2 min 31 sec from the second of the two French women, ultra-dominant a week before their World Championships at home in Les Gets.

Sixth at the Tokyo Olympics, of which she was one of the favourites, Loana Lecomte had bounced back from Japanese disillusion by signing two World Cup successes this season at Leogang in June then Lenzerheide in July.

This continental title against the three Swiss Olympic medalists (4th, 7th and 9th Saturday) promises for the 2020 world champion hopefuls before her first Worlds in the elite next Sunday where her biggest opponent promises to be Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.

- "The story of my life" -

After a transparent season, made "complicated", in his words, by the disappointment of the Games and the cohabitation in the team of his ex-companion Julien Absalon, here is "PFP" back in top form.

"It's kind of the story of my life. Ups, downs," she said. "I'm a fighter. It allows me to always push my limits and tell myself that I can always do it."

Admittedly, the 30-year-old mountain biker did not achieve a hat-trick at the European Championships, of which she was double title holder. But the three-time cross-country mountain bike world champion (2015, 2019 and 2020) seemed the strongest in Bavaria.

After slipping away from Lecomte, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot quickly widened a gap of thirty seconds. Mattress more than wasted in the middle of the third of the circuit's seven laps when she lost more than a minute replacing her muddy chain which had come off.

"It was really stuck. It didn't want to recover, she said. I heard my parents behind me, I saw Loana coming back, I said to myself it's carnage. (...) would have bothered if someone other than Loana won. It could have been worse."

"PFP" can claim a fourth world cross-country title next week. She would then equal the record of the Norwegian Gunn-Rita Dahle (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006).

"I think I will be even better next week," warns the Champenoise, who expects better effects from her three weeks of training at altitude for the Worlds.

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