Mathieu van der Poel Contemplating Early Road Season Exit Amidst Form Struggles

Van der Poel Faces Critical Decision Amidst Stellar Season

by Zain ul Abedin
Mathieu van der Poel Contemplating Early Road Season Exit Amidst Form Struggles
© Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport

Mathieu van der Poel, the reigning world champion, is considering the possibility of ending his road season prematurely after finishing fourth in the GP de Wallonie, his third race since earning the coveted rainbow jersey.

The Dutch sensation, who recently claimed his first road world title in Glasgow, expressed doubts about his ability to reach peak physical and mental form for the remaining three races on his 2023 calendar. In an interview with Het Nieuwsblad, Van der Poel confessed that his performance at Wallonie exceeded his expectations, given the demanding year he's endured.

His season commenced with a rigorous winter cyclocross campaign, culminating in his fifth world title in that discipline. The athlete explained, "I never expected to win yet," referring to Wallonie, adding that he originally intended to conclude his season with the MTB World Championships in August.

Van der Poel's Uncertain Road Future

Van der Poel has opted to participate in the 2024 Olympics MTB test event on September 24, highlighting its importance in familiarizing himself with the mountain bike and the Olympic course.

However, he remains uncertain about continuing his road season, acknowledging that his current form falls short of his best. While the Super 8 Classic, Circuit Franco-Belge, and Paris-Tours await him, the decision to compete in these races hinges on his physical condition.

Van der Poel emphasized the importance of having a purpose for racing, saying, "Just riding around to ride around doesn't make much sense. Maybe it would be better to rest and prepare for the cyclocross season. A longer period without a race will do me good." Reflecting on his remarkable but arduous season, which included victories in prestigious races like Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix, Van der Poel acknowledged the toll it has taken on his body.

He conceded that his performance no longer mirrors his earlier form, stating, "I know my body well enough – I notice it during training. I don't ride around as easily as I did earlier this season." As the cycling world eagerly awaits his decision, Mathieu van der Poel's potential early exit from the road season raises questions about his future plans and whether a period of rest and recovery will set the stage for his return to peak performance in the cyclocross season.

Mathieu Van Der Poel