Mathieu van der Poel could delay the start of his cyclocross season as his team are wary of stacking his calendar with a marathon 2020 season ahead.
The Corendon-Circus rider told Belgian media “nothing has been decided yet, I will certainly not get into action earlier than October 22”. This would mean missing a number of cyclocross events he won last year, with the Dutchman having only returned to training today after taking last week off to rest.
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Two weeks ago Van der Poel came close to challenging for the rainbow bands in the men’s road race at the Yorkshire World Championships. The 24-year-old blew up spectacularly in the closing kilometres, with Denmark’s Mads Pedersen going on to take the victory, saying he emptied the tank completely and felt “dizzy and empty”, a first-time occurrence for the rider who has never ridden a race of that length before.
Van der Poel will reportedly miss the World Cup in Bern and the second round of the Superprestige, but will contest the European Championships in November.
His team will be looking to keep him fresh and not burn him out ahead of a 2020 season that is likely to see Van der Poel competing for a number of major road racing titles.
Van der Poel will not only target the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but his trade team’s UCI World Ranking make it more likely he will be on the start line for whichever major WorldTour one-day Classics he chooses.
This is because Corendon-Circus have recently moved up to being the second-highest ranked Pro-Continental team, having dislodged Wanty-Gobert at the Mémorial Rik van Steenbergen race this past weekend.
The planned UCI reforms state that along with 18 WorldTour teams, the two highest-ranked Pro-Continental outfits of the previous season will receive guaranteed wildcard spots for all major WorldTour races.
Should the current standings remain the same, Total Direct Energie and Corendon-Circus will snap up these wildcard spots, but should the UCI confirm Cofidis and Arkéa-Samsic’s WorldTour licences for next season, the second-placed team’s guaranteed wildcard spot would expire.
These wildcard spots would allow Van der Poel to race all of the spring Classics, having already won the Amstel Gold Race in 2019, as well as any of the three Grand Tours. Although it’s unlikely he will add a Grand Tour to his race schedule, having previously said the Tour de France is a goal for the longer-term future.