Pauline Ferrand-Prévot to miss Gravel Worlds title defence

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Image credit: Getty Images)

Defending UCI Gravel World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot announced she will not be able to defend her title in Italy on Saturday.

The French rider contracted COVID-19 before the European Gravel Championships and had to miss that race, and says she has been told to allow more time to recover.

"Unfortunately, the Covid infection I've been suffering with for the last week has really taken its toll on me and I'm disappointed to announce that I won't be able to defend my rainbow bands tomorrow at the UCI Gravel World Championships," Ferrand-Prévot wrote on Instagram.

"It's the doctor's orders to take more recovery time to make sure I come back to full health as soon as possible.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend, that course is going to produce some great racing."

The second edition of the UCI Gravel World Championships starts with the elite women's race at 10:30 CET on October 7, 2023.

Headlining the field in Ferrand-Prévot's absence are new European Gravel Champion Lorena Wiebes and teammate Demi Vollering, winner of the Tour de France, along with cyclocross racers Yara Katelijn and Sanne Cant, gravel stand-out Tiffany Cromwell and US champion Lauren Stephens.

The elite men's race takes place on Sunday at 10:30 CET with defending champion Gianni Vermeersch, Wout van Aert, Matej Mohoric, 2021 Paris-Roubaix runner-up Florian Vermeersch and Daniel Oss heading a long list of WorldTour pros.

Gravel specialists Paul Voss, Nathan Haas, Keegan Swenson, Laurens ten Dam, and Ivar Slik are among the 200+ starters.

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