Mathieu van der Poel's yellow Canyon commemorates grandfather Poulidor with an emotional message

"Yellow was not meant to be till now" remembers late grandfather Raymond Poulidor's Tour record

Van der Poel yellow Canyon
(Image credit: Canyon)

Rarely has a Tour de France race leader’s yellow bike had as much significance as the Canyon Aeroad CFR presented to Mathieu van der Poel for the start of stage three.

The 26-year-old Dutchman’s grandfather, Raymond Poulidor, never wore the yellow jersey and was known as the ‘eternal second’ after finishing second or third in eight of the 14 Tours he rode.

Van der Poel yellow Canyon

(Image credit: Canyon)

The message under the down tube of Van der Poel’s bike ends: “Yellow was not meant to be till now,” and Van der Poel himself was overcome with emotion after his solo win atop the Mûr de Bretagne as his achievement started to sink in. 

Poulidor died in 2019 aged 83 and never got to see his grandson race the Tour.

Van der Poel’s Alpecin-Fenix team clearly decided that the commemorative bike should get the full yellow treatment - discreet accents would not suffice.

Mathieu van der Poel

(Image credit: Alpecin-Fenix Cycling Team)

So every inch of the frame is yellow - and so is the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt. The original Elemnt Bolt was available with a yellow casing but we haven’t seen the new version in this colourway yet.

Van der Poel yellow Canyon

(Image credit: Canyon)

Naturally there are yellow Elite Fly bottles in yellow-trimmed Elite Vico Carbon cages to finish the look.

Van der Poel yellow Canyon

(Image credit: Canyon)

Alpecin have stopped short of speccing yellow bar tape, plain black matching the new ‘aerocockpit’ bar and stem - details of which haven’t yet been released. This replaces the CP0018 Aerocockpit that snapped on Van der Poel’s bike at Le Samyn earlier in March, forcing Canyon to release a ‘stop ride’ notice. Canyon had promised its customers replacements by the autumn, and this looks like it.

Van der Poel yellow Canyon

(Image credit: Canyon)

The bike is specced with a Shimano Dura-Ace 9170 groupset, with no sign of the much-anticipated new version so far.

The wheels are Shimano Dura-Ace C60s, rolling on Vittoria Corsa tubulars.

Van der Poel rides the Selle Italia Flite Boost Kit Carbonio SuperFlow saddle - he has a signature version launched at the Tour of Flanders.

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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).


In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.


What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.


And the vital statistics:


Age: 53
Height: 178cm

Weight: 69kg