By Jonny Long
Amstel Gold winner Mathieu van der Poel has said he really wants to ride a Grand Tour, making hints that he could ride one of the three stage races soon after competing in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
After his breakout spring Classics season, people are already asking the young Dutchman what his race calendar next year will look like, the 24-year-old saying that Paris-Roubaix will be added to the races he plans to ride.
Van der Poel won Dwars door Vlaanderen, De Brabantse Pijl and the Amstel Gold Race in 2019, having only raced one of the spring Monuments, the Tour of Flanders, where he finished fourth. The Corendon-Circus rider will therefore try and add a Monument to his already impressive palmarès, having won one national road race championship as well as two cyclocross World Championships.
"My Classics program will look about the same as it is now, only Paris-Roubaix is added," Van der Poel told Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. "The combination with the Amstel Gold Race is not simple, but I want to try it."
Van der Poel will also look to add an Olympic title to his list of career achievements, having now officially won a place at the 2020 Games in Tokyo after coming second in the World Cup mountain biking in Albstadt over the weekend, after accruing enough UCI points.
Although his sights will be set on victory in Japan, Van der Poel can't help but look to future opportunities after the Olympics, specifically riding a Grand Tour.
"I really want to ride one," Van der Poel said, apparently grinning. "When? It might come soon after Tokyo."
The Dutchman has three Grand Tours to choose between, with the Vuelta a España following directly after the Tokyo Olympics, with 2021's Giro d'Italia or Tour de France most likely proving a more realistic prospect, even if the 2020 Vuelta starts in his homeland's city of Utrecht and then spends the next three days in the Netherlands.
"The Tour de France remains the largest and for me the easiest I think." said Van der Poel. "In the Giro and Vuelta there is even more climbing and that is the least appealing to me now."
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