In the seventh round at Heusden-Zolder, Matthew van der Poel (26) surrendered yesterday. Two cyclocross races to start the season seemed too much for the world champion.
Adri van der Poel knows: “His back is back.” “That’s not surprising after the tough cross vortex at Dendermonde and the first two laps at Heusden-Zolder. As we’ve learned, it takes time.”
“It just didn’t make sense to finish the race,” says the senior Van der Poel. “Quitting is not in Matthew’s dictionary, but he also has to think about his health. After a couple of days off, it will be much better.”
On a Thursday in Loenhout, Van der Poel will usually be at the start again. And Adri confirms that “his season will continue as planned for the time being.”
“The next race is just going to start from zero again. There are still a few crosses in the program, so he has more time to recover.”
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Not only is Mathieu van der Poel worried about his back, but his knee problem hasn’t gone away yet. “He hasn’t actually been able to ride a decent race since the Tour de France,” Father Adri sighs.
“The Paris-Roubaix game (where he finished 3rd, edition) went well, but we didn’t see Super Matteo there either. After it went down, the cyclocross season started off and on. I think it’s currently a month away.”
Shouldn’t Mathieu van der Poel think about winning? “Maybe he should polish his ambitions, there’s nothing wrong with that,” says the 1996 world champion.
“Definitely not if you knew where it came from. It wouldn’t be healthy to enforce it. If you’re in pain, you have to be careful.”
“Matthew shouldn’t be in a hurry. Maybe he should be satisfied with fifth.”
His father concludes, “The World Cup remains the main goal, but there are worse things in the world if he can’t win. We’ll see.”
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