Mathieu van der Poel suffers heavy fall as he crashes out of Tokyo Olympics mountain bike race

The Dutchman was inside the top five at the time of the crash

Mathieu van der Poel
(Image credit: Getty)

Mathieu van der Poel crashed out of the Tokyo Olympics mountain bike event after a heavy fall on a downhill section of the course.

The Dutchman had started brightly, inside the top five in the opening laps before coming over a rock ledge for a jump down to the rest of the course, his bike angled downwards, sending him sprawling onto the ground.

Van der Poel looked to be in pain but managed to pick himself up and continue, but with the medal places already too far up the road he abandoned the race, sitting on the ground and clutching his hip in the technical zone.

He has since been taken to hospital for checks on his hip, with further updates to follow on his condition.

>>> Mathieu van der Poel suffers heavy fall as he crashes out of Tokyo Olympics mountain bike race

While waiting for an x-ray, Van der Poel responded to a Dutch journalist on Twitter, saying he thought there would be a ramp down from the rock, as there was during the recon.

"I wasn't aware, that shelf was there during the reconnaissance. Only learned that he had been taken away at the test event," Van der Poel said. 

The journalist then asked if he was told about the removal of the ramp before the start, and also how his hip was feeling.

"No, I didn't know anything," Van der Poel replied. "In the hospital for photos right now. [My hip was causing me] too much trouble to finish."

Dutch National Coach Gerben de Knegt had a different version of events, however, saying he'd spoken to Van der Poel about the removal of the ramp in the week leading up to the race as well as the morning before the event. "We have talked about it multiple times this week. This morning again."

The race was won by Britain's Tom Pidcock, the pre-race favourite alongside Mathieu van der Poel. 

Pidcock romped home after going clear of the second-place Mathias Flückiger, who then finished second, with Spain's David Valero picking up bronze.

This is Britain's first-ever medal in the mountain bike event, and comes only seven weeks after Pidcock broke his collarbone in five places after a crash during a training ride.

Jonny Long

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.


Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).


I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.