Pauline Ferrand-Prevot's BMC Four Stroke did not have the life it expected. The grand plan was to charge to Olympic victory and then take pride of place on a wall or podium somewhere. When her Olympic dreams unravelled on that rainy hillside in Tokyo, that future as a museum piece evaporated. The bike was called in to service for the remainder of the season and then winter training.
As part of dealing with her Olympic disappointment, Pauline made some significant changes to her programme - plus her public split with partner and team-manager, Julien Absalon (she will remain on his team, but with some of her own staff inside the team). The biggest outward symbol of that is her new partnership with the Ravanels. After reflecting on her season and where she could improve, she recognised both explosivity and technical skills - both things that Cecile and Cedric are perfectly suited to helping her with. In fact, both of them are with her in Brazil for the opening round of the World Cup to both help her with her lines, but also help create a fun, relaxed environment so she can hopefully enjoy her racing more. This bike shows some hints of just how that partnership is changing her riding.
We caught up with her at the elite CREPS training facility in Southern France as Cecile put her through the paces on the stepdowns and road gaps.
Height 5'6" / 170cm
Weight 119 lb / 54kg
Hometown Saint Raphael, France
Frame Size Small
LSC 2 clicks from closed
Rebound 6 clicks from closed
Rebound 14 clicks from closed
In the past, many road and XC racers would have help a similar setup throughout their career, so the changes may not appear dramatic to those who follow the downhill each week, but they are significant and it will be worth watching over the coming months and years to see how far her style evolves. Rather than running the lighter 32mm-stanchioned version of the SID, she has stepped up to the 35 for a burlier chassis and added an extra 10mm of travel to the mix. Her mechanic, Fabien Boissonet, describes her setting as "very supple" and she prefers to keep a consistent setup all season long.
Pauline's partnership with the Ravanels goes both ways - Duke wheels have supported Pauline for several years now, but as of this year the Ravanel's riders are now running Duke too. There's not too much to say about these wheels - they're lightweight XC carbon wheels shod with fast-rolling Vittoria Mezcal and Terreno tyres.
The bar is a 700mm Truvativ carbon bar, paired to a 50mm -5 degree stem - short by XCO standards. This will be a really interesting area to watch as Pauline talked about how the sport is changing and being able to descend better is becoming more and more important, and the Ravanels were the only riders in the XCO paddock to run riser bars - they don't buy into the received wisdom of an ultra-low cockpit for racing. The design on the frame is actually an intricate design in coloured tape made by a French artist.
SRAM provide a full XX1 groupset, with AXS gears, Level Ultimate brakes and a twist-shifter actuated lockout - although because the seatpost is proprietary to BMC it is not connected to AXS and she controls it with a regular cable.
They may not be a name on everyone's lips in mountain biking these days, although Mavic did license their technology a few years ago, but Pauline stays French with a pair of Time pedals. BMC are one of the only brands who offer a fully integrated dropper post with the XC racing frames. Prologo provide a custom perch for her - a minimal, carbon-railed affair. A set of minimalist foam grips finish the build