The Swiss clinched a hat-trick in the women’s mountain bike event, with Jolanda Neff winning ahead of Sina Frei and Linda Indergand. Announced as favorites, the French Loana Lecomte and Pauline Ferrand Prévot finished sixth and tenth.
We could dream of a French double, it is finally a Swiss treble! Big disappointment this Tuesday for the French delegation during the women’s mountain biking event, where Loana Lecomte and Pauline Ferrand Prévot could legitimately aspire to the Olympic title, or at least a medal, in view of their recent results. But it was Switzerland which triumphed, with a tripled history, on a course made muddy by the showers of the morning.
Jolanda Neff took the gold after a perfect race, ahead of Sina Frei and Linda Indergand, and the Blues had to settle for sixth and tenth. Everything had started well for Pauline Ferrand Prévot (29), the three-time world champion 2015, 2019 and 2020, who found himself in the lead with Neff in the first of the five rounds on the program. But her race changed when she took a small fall on a climb. Her bike got back down and she wasted time going to retrieve it, with shoes slipping on the rock.
At the end of the first lap, Loana Lecomte was third 23 seconds behind Neff, alone in the lead, and “PFP” sixth at 31 seconds. The two French women then experienced ups and downs in the last four laps. Ferrand Prévot first managed to get back into the group that chased the leader, but a change of wheel in the third lap, and what looks like a physical slack caused him to fall back in the standings little by little, to finish tenth in the end, 4’32 behind Neff. The Olympic title, the only one missing from its immense record, will therefore not be for this year.
As for Lecomte, who turns 22 on the day of the closing ceremony and has won four World Cup rounds this season, she struggled in the second round, even finding herself eighth at one point (a chain jump caused her to lose time), but it gradually climbed, without however being able to join in the race for the podium. The native of Annecy finished sixth at 2’57 behind Jolanda Neff, the 2017 world champion who, at 28, won the Grail. For the French, it will be necessary to wait at least three more years …