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Van der Poel is reportedly thinking of leaving the Tour after the gravel stage to focus on the JJs. OO. of MTB


Van der Poel weighs up the options the calendar offers you to arrive a full conditions at the Olympic Games in Paris. The Netherlands could leave the Tour early because of the proximity between the end of the Gran Boucle and the Olympic MTB event, as revealed by the selector.

The 2024 calendar puts those cyclists with mountain and road aspirations in difficulty. The Olympic Games have saturated the cycling agenda and runners like Van der Poel have to consider all options for design the road to Paris that predisposes them to obtain the best results. Although the Olympic summer is still some way off, now is the time to plan for the coming season.

Van der Poel the preparation for the return to the cyclocross, scheduled in three weeks at the Exact Cross in Mol. The passage through the mud results in thirteen races, which include big goals – the defense of the rainbow jersey, six World Cups and several confrontations with the other two beasts of the specialty. However, the cyclocross is a parenthesis in the season of mountain and road, which is when the problems begin to fit both calendars.

The Dutchman faces the season knowing that he has a guaranteed Olympic place, thanks to the good work of Tom Schellekens at the U23 World Cup. After a year in which the Orange Beast raced in Glasgow on a doubleheader – with an epic victory on the road and abandonment on the mountain -, the 2024 campaign plan could include the Tour triplet, JJ. OO. of road and JJ. OO. mountain

Going to all three dates seems like a wild ride even for Van der Poel himself. The balance is tipped towards the Olympics; in particular, he wants to recover from the fall and the subsequent injury he suffered in the mountain Review in Tokyo and try to get the gold. A goal that could combine -without too much trouble- with the Olympic road meet.

The MTB selector of the Netherlands, Gerben de Knegt, he sees this possibility with good eyes – even though there is only a five-day difference between the two -: “Combining mountain and road cycling at the Games is feasible,” comments in statements to Sporza.

De Knegt adds that “the only question is whether the mountain bike is the ideal preparation for the road race. In the end, all bicycles have two pedals and Mathieu can pedal really hard on them.”

However, the Tour complicates Van der Poel’s optimal arrival in Paris. La Grande Boucle drops the curtain on July 21, while the JJ. OO. of MTB are scheduled for July 29. “Finishing the Tour is not ideal given his mountain bike ambitions in Paris,” expressed De Knegt.

Faced with Van der Poel’s more than likely desire to participate in the Tour, occasion in which he will be able to show off the rainbow in the most important competition of the year, the MTB selector offers an option to his star: dismiss early to have enough days to prepare for the Games.

De Knegt stated that “for example, could leave right after the gravel stage, which is just before the first day off. Then there are still three weeks until the Olympic MTB race”.

The selector reflects that “Mathieu is aware that he will have to make decisions, but it is the one that worries him least of all.”

It is not yet known what the final decision will be, although everything points to the Dutchman accepting leave the Tour prematurely. Van der Poel you have several options on the table: the withdrawal after the first week of the race, stretch the gum a little more to complete the second or risk it and reach the finish line.

In the absence of knowing the decision, Van der Poel is getting ready to return to the mud in the coming weeks and clarify the unknown of the Tour and the Olympic Games.

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