Pauline Ferrand-Prévot is on the verge of signing with Visma | Lease a Bike, according to sources from WielerFlits. The French cyclist, currently with INEOS Grenadiers (who don’t have a women’s road team), aims to become a key contender for the Tour de France Femmes over the next 3 years with the team.

Recently, Ferrand-Prévot announced her retirement from mountain biking after the upcoming Summer Olympics. She has been a dominant force in the sport, securing four world championships in cross-country and two in short track over the past five years. Despite her numerous accolades, a World Cup victory has eluded her.

In a career marked by versatility, Ferrand-Prévot has excelled across multiple disciplines. She first rose to prominence in road cycling, becoming the junior world champion in 2010. By 2011, she had turned professional and quickly made her mark, leading to her recruitment by the prestigious Rabobank team in 2012.

2014 was a breakthrough year for Ferrand-Prévot. She won the Flèche Wallonne, triumphed in the Emakumeen Bira, finished second in the Giro Donne, and clinched the world road race title in Ponferrada. The winter following these successes, she also claimed the cyclocross world title and decided to focus more on her first love, mountain biking. She added another world championship to her collection in 2015.

Ferrand-Prévot made history by becoming the first cyclist to hold world titles in three different disciplines simultaneously. However, after 2015, she scaled back her road racing activities and prioritised mountain biking, with cyclocross becoming secondary. Her only remaining goal in mountain biking is an Olympic gold, which she hopes to secure on home soil this summer. In 2022, she also became the first world gravel champion.

The upcoming Tour de France Femmes offers Ferrand-Prévot a new challenge. Joining Visma | Lease a Bike is a logical step, as it reunites her with former teammate Marianne Vos. Additionally, her relationship with Dylan van Baarle, the Dutch national champion, who has introduced her to the team’s workings, influenced her decision. The arrival of Ferrand-Prévot will also allow rising star Fem van Empel to continue her development.

Despite Ferrand-Prévot’s most significant road successes being from a decade ago, this transfer could prove beneficial. Women’s cycling has grown rapidly in recent years, making her transition back to road racing challenging. Nonetheless, her impressive off-road record, past road performance, and physical capabilities suggest she could still excel in climbing races. Whether she can compete with top riders like Demi Vollering remains to be seen.