While reflecting on the first week of his Giro d'Italia debut, Van der Poel says wearing the pink jersey fulfilled the ambitions he set at the start of the race. After winning the opening stage in Hungary, the Dutchman held onto the GC lead as the peloton landed in Italy for the fourth stage.
Despite achieving his main goal at the Giro, though, the Alpecin-Fenix rider suggests the work doesn't stop there as he points towards other opportunities for stage wins in Italy.
“I think it was a big success," Van der Poel told Het Nieuwsblad. "Both for me and for the team.
"The idea was to take the pink jersey in stage one and keep it until after the time trial. It was cool to wear it in Italy too. I can only be happy with how the first week went for us and in weeks two and three there will definitely be opportunities to try something with the team.
“I think there are at least three more stages that I should like. Something is definitely possible on Tuesday [stage ten] and in weeks two and three you never know what else is possible.”
Despite his desire to ideally take further further glory at this year's Giro, the Dutchman's mentality seems to have shifted somewhat since wearing the maglia rosa on stages two, three and four.
For Van der Poel, simply enjoying the race is what he aims to do from now on, with his main intention to finish the full three weeks. With the 27-year-old also due to start the Tour de France in July, taking time to recover and prepare optimally now seems at the forefront of his mind, as he undoubtedly aims to wear the yellow jersey once again.
“This Giro is already a success for us," Van der Poel repeated. "We came for the pink, we achieved that goal and now we are looking at other rides. But I'm quite relaxed, precisely because in that first week we already achieved everything we wanted. I will now continue to enjoy without stress.
“I can think of a lot of reasons [to quit], but I'm really going to go through to the end. Only it is something new, such a second and third week in a big round. I also don't know how my body will react to it, but I am convinced that it will make me stronger.
"Last year in the Tour it was completely different. Then there was still the pandemic and the Olympics were coming. That's different now. I'll go through to the end and then we'll see what program I need to be good in the Tour."
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