Pauline Ferrand-Prévot retained her women's elite cross-country title ©Getty Images

France’s Pauline Ferrand-Prévot successfully defended her women’s elite cross-country title at the International Cycling Union (UCI) Mountain Bike World Championships in Austria, as Jordan Sarrou ended Nino Schurter’s five-year reign as men’s world champion.

The women’s elite race began without 2016 world champion Annika Langvad of Denmark, who withdrew due to a stomach issue and subsequently announced her retirement at the age of 36.

Ferrand-Prévot began the five-lap race at Leogang-Saalfeldenon the offensive, with the French star ending the opening lap with a one-minute advantage over Australia’s Rebecca McConnell.

The reigning world champion remained in control for the remainder of the race to secure a solo victory in a time of 1 hour 27min 33sec.

She has now won the event in 2015, 2019 and 2020.

McConnell was caught on the final lap by Eva Lechner and ultimately was beaten in a sprint finish by the Italian rider.

Lechner and McConnell both finished 3:01 behind Ferrand-Prévot.

Schurter began the men’s race as the rider to beat having earned eight individual world titles, including five consecutive wins at the event.

The Swiss star’s challenge faded early, with Dutchman Milan Vader and Sarrou forming a leading duo on the first of six laps of the race.

Vader crashed on the third lap, with the incident seeing his challenge fade and putting Sarrou solo at the front.

The French rider saw a lead of more than one minute slowly reduce, but he remained clear to triumph in 1:25:37.

Switzerland’s Mathias Flückiger finished as the runner-up, ending 45 seconds adrift of the winner.

The podium was completed by France’s Titouan Carod, who finished a further 10 seconds down.

Schurter finished down in ninth place.

A French rider would secure all three titles on offer at the World Championships today, with Loana Lecomte winning the women’s under-23 event.

Lecomte dominated the race, which featured four 3.4-kilometre laps, finishing in 1:13:34.

Hungary’s Kata Blanka Vas ended as the runner-up at 1:11 down, with The Netherlands’ Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado third at 2:42 behind.

The UCI Mountain Bike World Championships will conclude tomorrow with the downhill events.