Mathieu van der Poel won't be racing for at least two more weeks

The Dutchman misses out on defending his Strade Bianche title, with his return to action still unconfirmed

Mathieu van der Poel on recon for 2021 Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel will not defend his Strade Bianche title he so emphatically won a year ago, as he continues to recover from a back injury that has delayed the start of his 2022 road season.

Mathieu's father, Adrie van der Poel, confirmed his son won't return to competition for at least another two weeks, despite logging a seven-hour training ride on Strava in Spain last week. 

Speaking on Sporza's Extra Time Koers show on Wednesday evening, Adrie said: “He is very enthusiastic about the location he’s in now, and he is going to stay there for another two weeks. So he won't be racing for at least two more weeks.

“He has been training for three or four weeks now. It's going well, but those training sessions are not the same as racing for more than six hours with an average of 45kph. He still lacks hardness. His last decent race was actually last year's Tour. After that, it was a bit of a hiccup.”

Neither rider nor father has confirmed when he plans to make his first appearance of 2022, with Adrie also suggesting on the show that Van der Poel should only race again when he doesn't have anymore pain. Consequently, he could still miss Milano-Torino on March 16, and Milan-San Remo on March 19. 

The Dutchman has suffered from a longstanding back injury he sustained from a nasty crash in the mountain bike event at Tokyo 2020 last summer. He managed to secure third at Paris-Roubaix in October, but back pain continued to affect him for the rest of the season. 

After a couple of months rest, Van der Poel then raced in the UCI World Cup cyclocross race on Boxing Day at Dendermonde, but he cut his season short to try and properly heal his back, including missing the cyclocross worlds in January, before taking an extended rest to try and properly heal his back.

During his time off, he also received knee surgery in order to return to flying form at the beginning of his road season. 

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