After a remarkable spring Classics season, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) is set to trade in the tarmac to focus on mountain biking this summer, but will first contest one final road race after adding an extra event to his calendar.
Having won Dwars door Vlaanderen, Brabantse Pijl and the Amstel Gold Race, the Dutchman was set to begin his mountain bike season with the World Cup race in Albstadt, Germany on May 19, but will now add in a final day on the road in preparation.
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The 24-year-old is set to race Puivelde Koerse four days earlier on Wednesday 15 May, a race his father Adrie van der Poel won when he was a pro.
Puivelde Koerse is a Belgian race, with the 54th edition covering 169km. Belgian Dennis Coenen won the race last year, with Sep Vanmarcke finishing fourth and Mathieu’s brother David van der Poel coming eighth. Traditionally, it’s a race that cyclocross pros also use to prepare for their season.
Van der Poel was meant to take the start line at this race last year, according to organisers, but didn’t due to a broken wrist. They contacted the Dutchman after a flying start to his 2019 season, with Van der Poel deciding to use the 2019 edition of Puivelde Koerse as he builds towards the mountain bike season.
The Corendon-Circus rider originally planned to climb off his road bike after the Amstel Gold Race, which he won by ambushing Julian Alaphilippe and Jakob Fuglsang in the closing kilometres, but has found the space for one more road race, which after his performances on the road so far you can understand.
As well as victory in the Ardennes Classic, Van der Poel won Dwars door Vlaanderen after beating proven Classics riders Bob Jungels (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) in a sprint from a select group, then besting Alaphilippe and Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) in a sprint at Brabantse Pijl.
Dutch national coach, Koos Moerenhout, has publicly said he wants Van der Poel to race the world championships in Yorkshire later this year, an event the Dutchman had not originally planned to race.
Moerenhout has said it’s a course that suits the rider “perfectly”, with the coach saying the 24-year-old would take team leadership responsibilities ahead of more experienced pros such as Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk because his results have been too good: “It may be that some of the riders frown upon it – a young upstart coming straight in – but on the other hand his class is unquestionable. Even the current riders will confirm that.”