Cyclocross enthusiasts are in for a thrill as the current World Champion, Mathieu van der Poel, embarks on a robust 13-race journey this cyclocross season with Alpecin-Deceuninck. Poised to dazzle audiences, the Dutch cyclocross sensation will inaugurate his run at the Exact Cross in Mol on December 22, marking a strategic late-season start that aligns with his previous campaigns, albeit a month behind last year’s kickoff.
As the season unfolds, van der Poel will weave through a dense six-week schedule, culminating in a potentially historic moment at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Tabor on February 4, where he aims to secure his sixth elite men's world title.
The anticipation builds as fans recall his last breathtaking performance, where he clinched the world title after an epic clash with Wout van Aert in Hoogerheide. Amidst the roster of races, the UCI World Cup stands out with van der Poel taking on six rounds at prominent venues including Antwerp and Gavere.
His calendar is peppered with hallmark events such as the X2O Trofee series, promising a spectacle at Baal, Koksijde, and Hamme, alongside Exact Cross bouts at Mol and Loenhout.
Strategic Season Break
The cyclocross star’s ambition is sky-high as Tabor awaits, resonating with personal significance – the site of his first elite title.
But it's not just about the titles. For van der Poel, cyclocross is a cherished discipline that dates back to his childhood, shaping his endurance and sharpness for the grueling Classics season on the road. This tightly packed season also hints at van der Poel’s strategic planning, featuring a solitary but significant intermission between the Zonhoven and Benidorm World Cups in January.
This interval will likely coincide with a critical pre-road season training camp with Alpecin-Deceuninck, mirroring the approach that fortified his form the previous year. As he confirms his cyclocross agenda, which he believes primes him for road racing success, fans and rivals alike are keen to discover the moves of his formidable contenders, Van Aert and Tom Pidcock.
The cyclocross community watches with bated breath, as van der Poel's carefully calibrated season could lay the groundwork for an unparalleled road racing performance. Van der Poel's passion for cyclocross shines through his words, "Cyclocross is in my DNA, and it fine-tunes my edge for the Classics," he shared after his appearance at the Madrid Criterium.
With this steadfast approach, he's not just aiming for victories but honing a legacy that blurs the lines between cyclocross and road racing mastery.