Mathieu van der Poel hoping to lead Giro d'Italia: 'My pink dream is just as big as the yellow dream I had in the Tour last year'

The Dutchman also revealed he is planning on finishing both the Giro and the Tour this summer

Mathieu van der Poel Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel is dreaming of wearing the pink leader's jersey at the upcoming Giro d'Italia, with the Dutchman expressing how his ambition reflects the same level he had last year for the yellow jersey at the Tour de France

The Dutchman wore the Tour de France yellow jersey for six days in 2021, with his second stage victory to the steep climb of Mûr-de-Bretagne seeing him move into the overall lead. He eventually relinquished control of the lead after the eighth stage, though, which also signalled the end of his Tour campaign as he headed to the Olympics shortly after.  

However, with the first Giro stage in Hungary thought to suit Van der Poel's abilities, he is now fully focussed on chasing a stint in the maglia rosa. Speaking at the Alpecin-Fenix press conference ahead of the beginning of the Giro on Friday May 6, the 27-year-old revealed what he's aiming for.

"My pink dream is just as big as the yellow dream I had in the Tour last year," Van der Poel said. "But it will not be easy, because there are many candidates who want to win. We will see who has the fastest legs."

Van der Poel's desire doesn't stop at leading the Giro, though. 

Instead, he has also set his sights on finishing both the Italian Grand Tour and the Tour de France later this summer. While he realises preparations might not be optimal considering his Classics season, he still aims to cross the line on the final day of each event without worrying about his overall finishing position. 

"I want to finish the Giro and the Tour," he added. "Of course there was not a lot of time after the Classics to fully prepare myself, especially because it was already a race against time to be ready in the Classics. I have absolutely no classification ambitions at the end of both tours and just want to finish."

The Alpecin-Fenix rider is making his debut in the Giro d'Italia on Friday, with his Tour appearance set to be the first time he has raced in two Grand Tours in the same year. Van der Poel has only competed in one stage race in 2022, too, where he finished 30th overall at Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali at the end of the five days.

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Staff Writer

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.