Mathieu van der Poel delays cyclocross season start again due to knee injury

The cyclocross world champion crashed on a training ride and only returned to training last week

Mathieu van der Poel
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel's team has confirmed that he will be delaying his cyclocross season return further still due to knee injury.

The reigning world champion in cyclocross was due to return to the sport on Saturday, December 18, but has now been forced to delay his season debut by a week, to Boxing day (Sunday, December 26).

Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) crashed while training in a forest back in the Belgian village of Lichtaart, where he slid out and damaged his knee. Fortunately, no stitches were required but Van der Poel did have to spend a week off the bike before heading down to Spain to join his team-mates at a training camp in Spain.

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 Alpecin-Fenix said: "This has been decided by the rider and team management after consulting with the team’s performance and medical staff.

"The main reason for this is the healing process of his knee injury which takes longer than initially anticipated, as a result of which he has not yet been able to complete specific CX training. 

"This means van der Poel will return to CX competition in Dendermonde on December 26."

This will likely be a bit of a blow for the superstar Dutch rider; if rival Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) continues his consistent run of form he could sweep up three wins in a row including the first ever World Cup race at Val di Sole, Italy, on the snow.

Alongside Van Aert, British Ineos Grenadiers rider Tom Pidcock has also returned to racing with a seventh and a third with the latter in Italy too.

Van der Poel has suffered a fair bit from injuries as of late with his fall at the Olympic mountain bike cross-country race seeing him hurt his back, forcing him to pull out of the mountain bike World Championships and the Benelux Tour where he was defending champion.

This also potentially hampered his shot at the Road World Championships in Leuven, Belgium where he finished eighth. He did bounce back quite well though taking third at Paris-Roubaix behind Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Florian Vermeersch (Lotto-Soudal).

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.