Mathieu van der Poel abandons altitude camp due to back pain, team insist his race program remains unchanged

The Dutchman is scheduled to race again at the end of August

Mathieu van der Poel
(Image credit: Getty)

Mathieu van der Poel has left an altitude training camp in Livigno, Italy, early due to back pain, his team has confirmed.

The Dutchman fell heavily in the Tokyo Olympics mountain bike race, having tumbled on a downhill section where he claimed he didn't know organisers would remove a ramp that had been present during practice laps.

After abandoning the race, won by Britain's Tom Pidcock, Van der Poel was taken to hospital for x-rays on his hip, which had been causing the 26-year-old some discomfort in the aftermath of the fall.

Van der Poel has now returned home early from his altitude training camp after experiencing back pain, Alpecin-Fenix confirmed, yet team boss Christoph Roodhooft has told Het Nieuwsblad: "His program remains unchanged."

>>> ‘I know a lot of riders paying to be in teams’: Willie Smit uncensored in underworld tales of pro peloton

Van der Poel will return to mountain biking on August 29 at the World Championships in Val di Sole in Italy, before getting back to road racing following his debut Tour de France.

The Alpecin-Fenix star will ride the Benelux Tour, the renamed BinckBank Tour that Van der Poel won last year after taking the final stage in spectacular fashion.

He will then take part in the World Road Race Championships in Belgium on September 26th, a Flandrian course that could suit the Dutchman.

His debut appearance at Paris-Roubaix should then follow on October 3rd, the Hell of the North having not taken place since April 2019.

For now, though, Van der Poel is hoping to take revenge for his Olympics disappointment with the mountain bike rainbow jersey.

“I am looking forward to the World Cup. After the Games, it was important for me to set new goals. I like coming to Val di Sole. It is a beautiful track that I have fond memories of, such as the 2019 World Cup race that I won," Van der Poel told Het Nieuwsblad.

“It would be cool to become world champion in all three disciplines. It will be very difficult to achieve that in one year, but hopefully, I will succeed one day.”

Jonny Long

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.


Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).


I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.