Mathieu van der Poel's cyclocross preparation has been thwarted following a crash in training which saw the reigning world champion injure his knee, according to a report.
Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) had to spend time off the bike completely to allow the knee to recover before joining his team's training camp in Spain four days late.
According to a report by WielerFlits the incident happened during a forest training session in Lichtaart where the Dutch superstar crashed and slid on the ground, injuring his knee. Fortunately, he did not need stitches, but a few days off the bike were necessary.
The report said that the crash had put him 'slightly behind in his preparation for his cross season'.
Van der Poel is the last of the 'big three' cyclocross riders to join racing with Wout van Aert coming back with a bang at the Superprestige race in Boom as well as Tom Pidcock who finished seventh at that race.
Both of those riders are set to ride in the snow of Val di Sole which has been deliberately kept as snowy as possible in a bid to show it could be classed as an event in the Winter Olympics.
Van der Poel, however, is going to make his season debut at the Rucphen race on Saturday, December 18 before immediately racing the next day in Namur too.
The reason for the delay was due to a long road cycling season that saw Van der Poel complete a full Classics campaign as well as Tirreno-Adriatico and the first week of the Tour de France.
He also suffered a serious back injury at the summer Olympics in the mountain bike cross-country race meaning he had to miss the Benelux Tour and the mountain bike World Championships.
Van der Poel won't be racing as many 'cross races as usual either as he focuses on the World Cup races as well as the World Championships in Fayetteville in the USA, with 12 races currently on his programme.
Van der Poel is back to properly training again with his team in Spain and is still set to make his first racing appearance of the 'cross season in Rucphen.
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1