Paris 2024, the discussion surrounding Mathieu van der Pole’s racing calendar has been a hot topic in recent months. The Dutchman who clinched the World Championships Road Race rainbow jersey in August has made it. Some unexpected appearances late in the season. Looking ahead to 2024, Dutch publication Wielerflits interviewed Van der Pole’s national coaches. Gerber de Knelt and Coos Moerenhout, to shed light on his plans.
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Given Van der Pole’s status as the unrivalled best one-day rider in the men’s peloton, one might assume that. His racing schedule for the upcoming season would be straightforward. The leader of Alpecin-Deceuninck undoubtedly aims to defend his titles in Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix. He may even set his sights on one of the only two Monuments he has yet to conquer Liège-Bastogne-Liège. However, a complication arises in the form of the Paris Olympic 2024.
In addition to being a world-class Classics specialist and a Grand Tour stage winner, Van der Poel excels in mountain biking and has. His sights are firmly set on a quest for Olympic gold next summer. His preparations have already commenced, with the 28-year-old participating in the Olympic Test Event in Ela court this Sunday. Regarding his mountain biking aspirations, Mathieu’s coach, Gerber de Knelt, remarked, that only after this weekend will we have a clear picture of the course and can plan accordingly.
Paris 2024: Van der Poel’s Olympic Paris Dreams and Tour de France Uncertainty
I’ve tried to gather information about the course in various ways, but it’s quite limited. Elancourt features a 250-meter high hill. That can lend itself to various types of courses, from climbing with two long ascents to an interval-style course with multiple short slopes. After Sunday, Mathieu might reassess his mountain biking goals for Paris. A glance at Van der Pole’s impressive track record reveals his mastery of timing and peaking at crucial moments in various cycling disciplines.
He boasts five Cyclotrons world championships and holds the current road race world champion title, previously secured. The European mountain bike championship has triumphed in three of cycling’s prestigious Monuments Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix. Mathieu van der Poel is acutely aware of how precious opportunities like the World Championships and Olympic Games are in the world of sports.
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His entire focus in the 2021 season was directed toward the Tokyo Olympic Games. But despite being in good form, a fateful crash during the cross-country mountain bike event dashed his medal aspirations. This experience has undoubtedly intensified his desire to set things right as he looks ahead to 2024. The question of whether Van der Poel will participate in the 2024 Tour de France remains uncertain. The last time we saw a reigning world champion at the Tour was in 2021.
Olympic Games: Van der Poel’s Dilemma Balancing Tour de France and Paris Olympic 2024 Aspirations
When Julian Alaphilippe took part. However, Van der Poel’s presence in next year’s race is far from guaranteed. Gerber de Knelt, his coach, has expressed his preference for an ideal preparation. That excludes the Tour de France, or at most, includes participation until the first rest day. This is because mountain biking demands highly specialized preparation, and with Tom Paddock. A formidable mountain biking competitor, also focusing on the discipline, the challenge becomes even more significant.
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De Knelt believes that if Mathieu also commits to mountain biking, he could be a strong contender for the gold medal. Both Paddock and Van der Poel completed the entire Tour de France this past summer before the World Championships in mountain biking. However, Pidcock has noted the disparity in preparation compared to rivals like Nino Schurter and Sam Gaze.
The Olympic cross-country event is scheduled for July 29, just eight days after the Tour de France concludes in Nice. In the previous edition of the Tour, two years ago, Van der Poel participated for only the first eight days before withdrawing to focus on the Tokyo Olympics. The debate over the best approach for Paris 2024 remains open. Moerenhout, his national road coach, humorously noted the winner is always right alluding to Van der Poel’s recent World Cup victory.
Paris 2024: Debating Van der Poel’s Tour de Paris Olympic Participation
However, he emphasized that the specific plan should be discussed with Mathieu’s Alpecin-Deceuninck team. Taking into account how actively he competed in the Tour and the route leading up to the race. The goal is to ensure that Van der Poel doesn’t arrive. At major championships fatigued from the rigors of a long Tour de France campaign. Gerber de Knelt remains concerned about the potential risks associated with Mathieu van der Poel replicating his 2021 preparation.
Which he views as ideal. In his view, Van der Poel was in excellent shape during that period. De Knelt points out that undertaking the entire Tour de France means a three-week hiatus. From mountain biking, leaving only eight days to reacquaint oneself with the feel of a mountain bike. This perspective is undoubtedly influenced by Van der Poel’s recent crash at the World Championships in Scotland. On the other hand, Coos Moerenhout believes.
That the decision should ultimately be left to Mathieu van der Poel himself. He sees the Tour de France not as a hindrance. But as a potential asset to mountain bike preparation. Moerenhout expresses his trust in Van der Poel’s professionalism and determination. Citing a similar situation with Tom Desmoulins in the past. In his view, the Tour could provide added value to Van der Poel’s preparation for the Olympic road race.
Olympic 2024: Van der Poel’s Singular Focus on Paris Olympic and Ongoing Debates
What remains clear from both coaches’ comments is that the top priority for Mathieu van der Poel in the upcoming season will be the Olympic Games. While he may proudly wear the rainbow jersey as the world road champion, his focus is squarely on Paris 2024. Having missed out on a medal in Tokyo two years ago, and considering that he will be 33 years old. When the 2028 Summer Olympics arrive, the time is ripe for Van der Poel to make his mark on the grandest stage of sports.
There is also ongoing debate within the national team regarding Van der Poel’s participation in the Olympic road race. Which follows shortly after the mountain bike event. For further insights, readers can refer. Additional comments from Moerenhout and information on the peculiar rules governing team allocations in the event, as detailed in the Wielerflits interview.
Richard Plugged, the general manager of Team Jumbo-Visma, has described the day when their rider, Michel Hussmann, tested positive for doping as a “dark day. This is an unusual response from the team regarding the doping investigation involving their 22-year-old rider, which became public in August. In his column for RIDE magazine, translated by Cyclingnews, Plugged expressed his thoughts on Hussmann’s positive test.
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