Mathieu van der Poel sets aim at Gravel World Championships

The superstar will also be aiming to add the cyclocross and road racing world titles next year

Mathieu van der Poel
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel has set his sights upon racing the new UCI Gravel World Championships.

If the Dutch star took to gravel as well as he has every other discipline involving a bike, he could make history by attempting to win four world titles in cyclocross, mountain biking, road racing and of course gravel.

It was announced by the UCI in late September of this year at the Road World Championships in Leuven that there would be a full international calendar that would lead to riders qualifying for the Worlds, meaning Van der Poel would have to race some prior events and do well to qualify.

>>> 'What he did today is enormous': rivals react to Wout van Aert's victorious return to cyclocross

In an interview on GCN's YouTube channel, Van der Poel answered very quickly to the question whether he would like to try to ride the Gravel World Championships with a "yes."

Before replying to the question of whether he will win it with: "I don't know, I've never raced on gravel before."

Van der Poel isn't the first big name in cycling who wants to have a go at the gravel races next year, with Team TotalEnergies' new leader Peter Sagan also keen to have a go as well as heading back to his roots in mountain biking.

In other questions Van der Poel said that he believes team-mate Tim Merlier is faster than Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step AlphaVinyl), if he had to choose one discipline it would be mountain biking, refusing to really answer the question of 'who is best' out of himself and Wout van Aert. 

Other controversial topics included white shorts, leg warmers over or under socks and cycling cap peaks.

Van der Poel had an incredible 2021 but didn't retain his title at his favourite race, the Tour of Flanders. But he put in some amazing shows on the opening stage of the UAE Tour before leaving due to Covid, his amazing victory at Strade Bianche with two more at Tirreno-Adriatico.

Not to mention his stage win on stage two of the Tour de France and the following six days in the yellow jersey. 

Crashing in the Olympic mountain bike race meant that Van der Poel then missed out on multiple races including the Benelux Tour and the mountain bike World Championships before claiming eighth at the road worlds and second at Paris-Roubaix where he ended his season.

He is expected to return to racing in cyclocross on Boxing day this year.

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.