Mathieu van der Poel to focus on the road after 2020 Olympics
Sep 30 2017 08:02 pm CET

Mathieu van der Poel to focus on the road after 2020 Olympics
Mathieu van der Poel to focus on the road after 2020 Olympics
Photo of Mathieu van der Poel by Beobank-Corendon

Mathieu van der Poel has announced that he will devote himself completely to road racing after the Olympic Games of Tokyo 2020.

The son of Adri van der Poel - winner of two stages of the Tour de France and several classic races, and grandson of Raymon Poulidor, the 'Eternal Second' in the Tour de France and winner of the Vuelta a España - doesn't want to follow in the footsteps of his family just yet.

The 22-year-old has been dedicated to cyclo-cross and wants to compete in mountain biking at the Olympics. "My intention is to go to the Olympic Games. That is my highest goal and cyclo-cross is not an Olympic discipline," he said to the Dutch broadcaster NOS.

"I've already proven in mountain biking that I can compete for the podium in a world championship. To say whether that will be the same in the Olympics would be difficult. But I was not super professionally prepared for that World Cup. So I think it will be better if I take another step in the right direction and with the proper guidance."

Van der Poel's main competitor Wout van Aert has already taken the decision of focusing more on the road and will ride less cyclo-cross events in the winter so he can compete in the spring classics. The Dutchman thinks it's a shame that his rival will not be in cyclo-cross full time but states that he can understand.

"I'm also starting to enjoy road cycling, particularly the longer distances when it becomes heavy. I think that suits me. I also have the ambition to become a road racer," he commented.

But this will have to be after 2020 when he will be 25 years old. "My father would prefer me to focus on the road and I haven't heard much about the opinion of my grandfather, but I'm behind my own decisions. If I go to Tokyo, I'll be 25 when I start focusing on road racing, a normal age at which you can make a career for another 10 years," he explained.
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