21 things you didn’t know about Mathieu van der Poel

From his relationship with Wout van Aert to his favourite video game

Mathieu van der Poel
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Date of birth19/01/1995
BornKapellen, Belgium
NicknameMVDP / The Flying Dutchman
Height1.84m/ 6ft 0.5in
PartnerRoxanne Bertels
Turned pro2014
BikeCanyon Aeroad CFR
UCI race wins42
Stage race wins4
Grand Tour stage wins 2
CoachKristof de Kegel

Mathieu van der Poel is a man who has almost won everything within his powers. The 28-year-old has won Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, and the Tour of Flanders twice, stages of the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, over a glittering career. The Dutchman has also been cyclo-cross world champion five times, and likes to dabble in mountain biking too. 

Mathieu van der Poel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Mathieu was born in Belgium to a French mother and a Dutch father, but races under the Dutch flag

2. His grandfather on his mum’s side was Raymond Poulidor, “the Eternal Second”, who finished second in the Tour de France three times, and third place five times. The Frenchman died in 2019

3. His team honoured this at the 2021 Tour de France, wearing a special purple and yellow kit for the first stage that year, in the colour of the Mercier-BP-Hutchinson team

4. Both Van der Poel and Poulidor tasted victory at Milan-San Remo, as well as both claiming stage wins at the Tour de France, 50 years apart

5. He rode for the IKO Enertherm - BKCP club in 2012, a multi-gender group which also had three-time cyclo-cross world champion Sanne Cant on its roster

6. His dad is former Tour de France stage, Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Adri van der Poel

7. The wins that both Van der Poels share are stage victories at the Tour of Britain, Tour de France and and Tirreno-Adriatico, and victories at the Amstel Gold Race, the Dutch National Championships, Brabantse Pijl, the Tour of Flanders and the Amstel Gold Race

Mathieu van der Poel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

8. He once took part in a race because he was bored. In October last year, the Dutchman took part in the Giro del Veneto in the days between the Gravel World Championships and the Serenissima Gravel because he didn’t want to sit around in his hotel room 

9. Mathieu van der Poel’s elder brother, David, is also a rider, with a single career victory, at the Tour Alsace in 2018

10. He first pulled on the cyclo-cross rainbow bands - as a junior - in 2012 at Koksijde, where he beat then man who would go on to become his main rival through his career, Wout van Aert

11. Van der Poel is not friends with Van Aert, his great rival. "They have never been close," Niels Albert, Van Aert's former coach, told Cyclingnews. "They would never really talk to each other at races, and especially not away from races.”

12. His first major road win came in 2013, when he won the Dutch National Championships as a junior, with the World Championship road race also coming his way that year

13. He loves the video game Fortnite so much that Shimano made a special pair of cycling shoes adorned with motifs from the battle royale-style phenomenon

14. He became the youngest ever cyclo-cross world champion when he won the World Championships in 2015, at 20 years and 13 days

Mathieu van der Poel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

15. His first senior road win came in 2014 at the Ronde van Limburg, but his first WorldTour win did not come until 2019 at Dwars door Vlaanderen

16. He hit 1362 watts on his way to storming to victory at Strade Bianche in 2021

17. He has never won a stage of a Grand Tour past stage two: his only wins came on stage two of the Tour de France in 2021 and stage one of the Giro d’Italia in 2022

18. He is only one of four riders to have won Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix in the same year, after his 2023 exploits

19. He is a brand ambassador for Lamborghini Antwerp, with his own Urus complete with specialised number plate

20. He has dabbled in mountain biking, winning the European Championships in 2019, and competed at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. It was at the Tokyo Olympics that he crashed and injured his back, an injury which has hampered him since

21. He was charged with two counts of common assault at the 2022 World Championships in Wollongong, Australia, after a confrontation with two teenage girls. He was fined but the conviction was later quashed by an Australian court

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