Cycling superstar Gros poses with Ballon d’Or trophy ahead of Track Champions League

Cycling star Mathilde Gros got a chance to pose with the Ballon d’Or trophy ahead of the UCI Track Champions League 2022 getting underway.

The 23-year-old French rider was victorious on home soil earlier in the year as she took gold in the Women’s Sprint at the Track World Championships.

Gros triumphed after eliminating defending world champion Emma Hinze in a thrilling semi-final, before beating Lea Friedrich in the final to win gold at the Velodrome National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.

She is now set to be a star once more at the hotly-anticipated UCI Track Champions League, which starts with the first race in Mallorca on Saturday, November 12.

Before she hits the track, Gros had an opportunity to check in with the famous gold ball, which was won this year by Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema (men’s Ballon d’Or) and Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas (women’s Ballon d’Or).

“Thanks to L’Equipe for the lunch invitation today,” she wrote on Instagram accompanied by photos.

“Beautiful photos taken, a great time to discover the set and the premises of the headquarters as well as all the people who work there!

“Thanks to them for the welcome and the invitation, it was great.

“P.S., I had the chance to touch the REAL golden ball.”

Eurosport caught up with Gros and she explained why she is so excited about the upcoming edition of the UCI Track Champions League, after the success of the event in 2021.

“I’m super happy and excited to be back here in front of my family and friends for the Track Champions League,” Gros told Eurosport.

“I feel it’ll be a very huge moment, lot of emotions will resurface but I’m looking forward.”

“‘Which sprinter is…’ – French star Mathilde Gros faces the questions!”

Reflecting on her experience of the high-octane competition so far, she added: “It was incredible, so good. There were so many people in Mallorca.

“I remember my parents came with my grandmother. We saw a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of people. It was a new format, a new lights atmosphere, they really put track cycling in the spotlights, it was so great and I loved it.

“The format surprised a lot of the riders because of the lack of recovery between races. Sometimes you could have one or two hours in a normal race between two rounds of the sprint.

“I think that also gave us the opportunity to progress in endurance. At the end of the five rounds, we had the endurance and it was cool. The first weekend was hard but then round to round, we evolved in this aspect.

“I think every year is different, we’ll have to start from zero again. It’ll be hard. We have 18 talented riders with new ones who want to fight and race some more experienced riders. It’ll be a surprising season with twists and turns, and for sure we’ll have a nice show.”

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After a great debut season, the UCI Track Champions League is back for season two, with Laura Kenny joining the party. You can watch it all live and on demand on discovery+. We will have extensive coverage across and the first race is in Mallorca on Saturday Nov 12, with the action starting at 5:30pm UK time.

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