Mathieu van der Poel has knee surgery during time off bike

Dutchman uses time off for back injury to have minor surgery on scar tissue

Mathieu van der Poel
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel had knee surgery last weekend in yet another setback for the Dutch cyclocross world champion.

He has already been forced to cut his cyclocross season short thanks to a back injury which may also delay his road racing season.

His team, Alpecin-Fenix, announced that he had minor surgery on his knee performed to remove scar tissue relating to a previous crash.

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Van der Poel crashed in the build up to his 'cross season, and cut his knee. However, it did not need stitching but was slow to heal. The minor knee injury is not related to the back injury which has forced him off his bike and he chose to "proactively" have the operation during his time away from racing.

“Mathieu van der Poel underwent a minor surgery on the knee on Saturday in the AZ Herentals hospital. In a previous crash, a tear had appeared in the capsule of the kneecap,” a statement from Alpecin-Fenix read. “As a result of that tear, scar tissue had formed in which a hardened strand scrubbed against the bone.

“Up until now this has been painless and hasn’t bothered him, but now was the right time to proactively take it away. That is why van der Poel was operated on last Saturday and a positive evaluation followed after a check-up with Dr. Toon Claes. 

"This operation is unrelated to the back injury from which van der Poel is currently recovering.”

The Dutchman only made his cyclocross season debut on December 26 before stepping off the bike due to his back. As a result, he'll miss the Cyclocross World Championships in Fayetteville at the end of January, while his road schedule is still unclear.

When he announced his absence from the worlds, which he described as a "real downer", he made clear that he would not rush back to racing.

Van der Poel said: "We’ll only set a date and goals if we can do so in a substantiated manner. Until then, I'll do what I can."

Adam Becket
Adam Becket

Hello, I'm Cycling Weekly's digital staff writer. I like pretending to be part of the great history of cycling writing, and acting like a pseudo-intellectual in general. 


Before joining the team here I wrote for Procycling for almost two years, interviewing riders and writing about racing. My favourite event is Strade Bianche, but I haven't quite made it to the Piazza del Campo just yet.


Prior to covering the sport of cycling, I wrote about ecclesiastical matters for the Church Times and politics for Business Insider. I have degrees in history and journalism.