'All of a sudden I was on the ground and my shoe was broken' - Mathieu van der Poel on World Championships win

Dutchman slipped out on a bend in closing stages and said that adrenaline kept him going on the way to the road world title

Mathieu van der Poel
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel explained that adrenaline kicked in after a late crash in the elite men’s road race at the World Championships left him with a torn jersey and a broken shoe.

The Dutchman continued his incredible form in 2023 - which has included two Monument victories at both Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo - and soloed to a sensational first-ever road world title in Glasgow.

On his way to victory he was unable to put consistent power through his pedals after breaking his cleat in the dramatic late crash.

Speaking to the media clad in his new rainbow jersey in Glasgow, Van der Poel said he was over the moon after delivering what had been the “biggest goal” of his career to date and that he was unable to explain how he suddenly slipped out on one of the final bends in the circuit.

“With the crash, I still don't know what happened to be honest,” he said. “I was really not pushing or taking any risks because my legs were feeling really good. So I knew I could make a difference on the climbs and the parts where you could push, and then all of a sudden I was on the ground and my shoe was broken.

“That made it hard to put power in the pedals, especially because I realised that the cleat was also broken so I didn't have a lot of power anymore. I think some adrenaline took over as well. So I'm really happy and lucky as my bike wasn't broken or anything and I could just continue.”

The 28-year-old admitted that his confidence had been knocked after hitting the ground in such dramatic circumstances. However, “instinct” kicked in and enabled him to blank out any pain and continue with victory and the rainbow bands still in reach.

“It's just instinct I guess,” he said. “You just want to go as fast as possible on the bike again and luckily I could find my rhythm. I didn't really trust any of the corners anymore after that and it made it even more difficult but my legs were still pretty strong.

“When I saw the time gap going up again it gave me a confidence boost and then the first time they showed the one minute mark I knew that on the way to the finish line I could take it easier through the corners and that I would make it.

“It’s such an incredible feeling.”

Mathieu van der Poel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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