Mathieu van der Poel could miss Strade Bianche as he continues to recover from the flu, his coach has confirmed.
“Mathieu is not ready for cycling yet”, Kristof De Kegel told Wielerflits before the start of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which Van der Poel was due to start before being struck down with illness.
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With the Dutchman still off the bike and Strade Bianche taking place on Saturday March 7, there isn’t much time for him to recover in time to make the start line for what would be his first appearance at the Italian one-day race.
“We look at his situation day by day, but he does have a strong flu. Hopefully we will get clarity about those Italian rates as soon as possible, then we will see how the situation of Mathieu evolves.”
Alpecin-Fenix team manager, Christoph Roodhooft, adds that Van der Poel won’t even travel to Italy if he is not 100 per cent fit: “In any case, he will not start in optimum conditions. He has been without a bike for four or five days now. It makes no sense to start with a non-fit rider in a race like the Strade Bianche, even if it is Van der Poel.”
Van der Poel had been favourite for both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, as the 25-year-old begins what was supposed to be his first full Classics season.
After Strade Bianche and Milan – San Remo, he is also expected to race the Volta a Catalunya, then Dwars door Vlaanderen, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Brabatnse Pijl, Amstel Gold and Flèche Wallone.
This summer he will be stepping away from the road bike however, as he is targeting the Olympic gold medal in the mountain bike event in Tokyo, before looking to the cyclocross season once again.