Mathieu van der Poel forced to pull out of mountain bike World Championships

The Dutch star has been suffering with back pain

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel has been forced to pull out of the mountain bike cross country World Championships due to persisting back problems. 

The star of road, mountain biking and cyclocross, Van der Poel would have been hoping to bounce back from his crash at the Olympic Games, which saw him abandon the mountain bike race, but his back issues continue to cause problems, meaning he will not race at the mountain bike World Championships held between August 25 and 29.

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Adrie van der Poel, Mathieu's father, has suggested that maybe he should step off the bike for the rest of the season, as reported by Het Nieuwsblad: "Maybe he should consider not riding any more and go full for a cyclocross winter. It doesn't make sense to start in the Benelux Tour only to find out after three days that it's not going to work."

Van der Poel is currently still set to ride the Benelux Tour, formally the BinckBank Tour, where he is defending champion, before focussing on the World Championships road race and Paris-Roubaix.

His team, Alpecin-Fenix, released a statement saying: "Mathieu van der Poel has been dealing with back pain in the past weeks. While the situation is improving, the UCI mountain bike World Championships in Val di Sole comes too soon for the world cyclocross champion.

"It is now his intention to prepare for the goals in the next part of the season - including Paris-Roubaix - via the upcoming Benelux Tour, where he is defending champion."

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This all comes after Van der Poel left a team training camp in Livingo, Italy due to his back problems. 

The main focus for Van der Poel now is completely on the road where he can manage to pain and focus on the goals of the World Championships in Leuven, Belgium and his hotly anticipated debut at Roubaix.

The Benelux Tour will starts in Surhuisterveen on August 30 and finish in the famous Flandrien town of Geraardsbergen on September 5, ahead of the  Worlds road race on September 26 and Paris-Roubaix on October 3.

Tim Bonville-Ginn
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.