Mathieu van der Poel has been confirmed to be riding the World Championships road race in Flanders, despite his ongoing back injuries.
Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) was a major doubt for this year's Worlds after having to pull out of multiple races with back pain.
The 26-year-old had been suffering with the issues since May of 2021, but it really came to a head after his crash at the Olympic Games where he landed heavily on his back.
This led to concerns he would not be able to ride the World Championships or Paris-Roubaix, he last two road racing goals of the season.
Dutch national coach, Koos Moerenhout, spoke in a press release by the Dutch cycling federation (KNWU): "Mathieu has not had the ideal run-up to this World Championships, but he certainly gives an extra dimension to our road team, it increases our chances of success that he participates.
"He may not be the outspoken favourite due to his physical issues leading up to this World Championships, but he will certainly be a rider to watch. I'm glad he's getting started."
Van der Poel looked to put doubts on his condition behind him with three small Belgian races and he did just that by winning the first, the Antwerp Port Epic.
He also came eighth in the Primus Classic, which was won by Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), and finishing finally with a 46th place at the Gooikse Pijl as he tried to set up team-mates.
Van der Poel has only ever raced one World Championship road race in his career and that was in the incredibly difficult conditions in Yorkshire in, where he launched an early attack but then cracked and drifted out of the top-40.
The Netherlands have a strong team to choose from for the Worlds road race with various riders having a real possibility of taking the win.
Alongside Van der Poel are Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education-Nippo), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma) and Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix).
Speaking before Van der Poel was confirmed for the team, Moerenhout said: "Mathieu van der Poel's experiences over the past weekend are so positive that we are hopeful that he can drive. Mathieu has to weigh himself after the weekend whether his back can handle the load and whether he can perform the necessary training work towards the World Championships.
"We have more riders who can play for a long time on this terrain, but with Mathieu there, we obviously have more pronounced chances of a good result."
The World Championships road race takes place on Sunday, September 26 with a finish on a tough hilly circuit around the town of Leuven in the Belgian region of Flanders after 268.3km of racing.
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