Mathieu van der Poel is not so optimistic before the start of the Tour de France, as he does not expect to win at the opening. “I have to see where I will be against the specialists in the TT - if I lose 10-15 seconds, which would be a really good performance, maybe I can try something in the days after.
Maybe until the Roubaix stage it will be possible [to claim yellow]. You never know. The time trial hurts anyway so you have to go all in and see what I can do”. - he said, as quoted by cyclingnews. Mathieu van der Poel expects it to be much harder than last year, and he even compared this year's competition to F1.
“It’s beginning to look a little like Formula One in some aspects - it’s really something special,” he said about the advancements in time trialling. “You have to have the best tech, the best aero position to even have a chance of winning.
Power output alone is not enough anymore. It also makes it quite a cool aspect of the sport. “Of course I have the power to do it, and it means [I’ve had] top-10s a lot of the time, but to really be amongst the best you have to get the marginal gains.
It really means a whole year of working and having the ultimate aero position, and it’s not really the case in my set-up now. “Along the way I have made a few steps to get better, and I showed that already in some of my results, but to really beat the specialists is not something I believe in.
“But tomorrow if I can put myself in the top-10, maybe something will be possible the day after and I can still try and get the yellow jersey this year. But it will be more difficult than last year”.
He compared his condition now to the condition before Giro.
We will see how much he can do this time, but we know his qualities and we are aware that van der Poel has the quality for the biggest goals. “The only difference is that maybe I have more race days in my legs,” he said.
“It’s difficult for me to win a mountain stage [in the third week], so I will try and race and see what is possible. I hope to have the same legs here in the third week and try something. You have to feel good”.