Mathieu van der Poel pulls out of Volta a Catalunya

The cyclocross world champion has just returned to training after a week-long bout of the flu

Mathieu van der Poel at the Volta ao Algarve 2020
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel is back training in Spain after recovering from what turned out to be flu, which he caught shortly after riding at the Volta ao Algarve.

While the Alpecin-Fenix rider is in Spain, he will not be racing the 100th edition of the Volta a Catalunya and is instead going to focus on his classics preparation with a training block in Flanders.

In an article on, team manager Christoph Roodhooft says: "Of course his condition today is a little less than what it was year ago, but that makes sense,

"Van der Poel's programme for the coming weeks hasn't been set one hundred percent yet. What is certain is that he won't ride the Volta a Catalunya."

The suggestion is that Alpecin-Fenix are waiting to see what races are actually on before committing to releasing the Dutchman's new schedule.

But races like Nokere Koerse, GP Denain and Ronde van Drenthe are all races that could gain the presence of the superstar as they are all still down as going ahead with no sign of change.

Van der Poel has had a quiet start to the road season after coming off the back of yet another dominant cyclocross season where he won all but one race he started.

He spent the whole of the Volta ao Algarve working for his teammate, Sacha Modolo, and tuning his condition, when climbing the Alto da Fóia, before planning to open his classic season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, won by Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo).

Unfortunately for the former Dutch road race champion, he had to pull out a few days before the race as he had come down with influenza. 

He was down to ride Strade Bianche but Roodhooft confirms he would not have been able to ride even if it wasn't cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak:

"Mathieu would not have made it to Strade Bianche, but he might have done Milan-San Remo - not in top form, but to participate.

"Both we as a team and Mathieu were looking forward to his debut in la Primavera."

Van der Poel will reportedly fly to Belgium on Saturday to join his teammates to build up his Classics training, along with build up races, towards his main goals of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

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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.