Mathieu van der Poel will ride World Championships road race

The Dutch star has recovered from his back injury enough to compete for the rainbow bands

Mathieu van der Poel riding the Primus Classic 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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. 

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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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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.