Rising Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) will race the World Championships in Yorkshire on September 29.
The 24-year-old has been racing non-stop in recent months, winning the cyclocross Worlds, debuting in the big road Classics, taking victory in the Amstel Gold Race, before switching his focus to mountain bikes and winning his first World Cup.
While he wants to build towards the mountain bike event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, he could not miss the chance to ride the Yorkshire World Championships road race.
“The course in Yorkshire should suit me, and that’s why I am focusing on the road World Championships,” Van der Poel said.
“Besides, I really want to cover the test event in Tokyo, the 2020 Olympic Games are still my biggest goal.”
He made a splash on the road this spring, placing fourth in Ghent-Wevelgem, winning Dwars door Vlaanderen, crashing but then leading the main group over the final Paterberg climb in the Tour of Flanders, winning the Brabantse Pijl and then Amstel Gold Race.
The Dutch federation had been pulling for him to race the Worlds. National Coach Koos Moerenhout previewed the circuit a month ago.
“The Yorkshire worlds course is made for him,” Moerenhout told Het Nieuwsblad at the time. “I hope he says yes.”
Part of van der Poel’s decision comes from the complexities of racing three different disciplines. Given that the events span the world, he had to cut some corners. He will skip the Mountain Bike World Championships and the World Cup final in Snowshoe, both in North America. Doing so will give him more training and travel time for the mountain bike Olympic test event in Tokyo this summer and the road worlds.
“Combining three disciplines automatically results in the necessity to make choices,” said his Corendon-Circus team.
“We have analysed all possible scenario’s in detail, and we came to the conclusion that the combination of the Road championships and the test event in Tokyo would be more suited not just to Mathieu but to the whole team.”
“Furthermore, we really want to be present at the test event in Tokyo. For the last 18 months we have been working towards the 2020 Olympic Games. The Olympics are of course the main goal for both him and the team.”
The Yorkshire road course ends with a 14km circuit that looks technically similar the Amstel Gold Race. Given his talents, the Dutch team had to include him in its roster.
“We have a great team on the starting line in Yorkshire, and with Mathieu being selected, this team is now stronger” said Moerenhout.
Van der Poel will next race the Mountain Bike World Cup in Les Gets, France in mid-July. He is also squeezing in two lucrative post-Tour de France criteriums in Antwerp and Roosendaal, despite not racing the Grand Tour in July.
Building towards Yorkshire, he will race the Arctic Race of Norway and the Tour of Britain. The mountain bike test event is in Tokyo this October.