After a successful and eventful road- and cross-country summer season team captain Mathieu van der Poel said: “I am on track.“ Unlike previous years when he got a late start into the season due to knee surgery, he stayed free of injury during summer months despite a challenging program.
“It almost felt a little strange. To stay healthy was one of my main goals, of course“, he said with a wink.
In addition to this, the 23 year-old cycling all-rounder collected some remarkable results. He won, e.g., a stage of the Tour of Belgium when he beat Philippe Gilbert in the final sprint, won four-day stage race Boucles de la Mayenne on the new STEVENS Comet, and finished 8th and second in mountain bike world cup races in Nove Mesto and Albstadt on his STEVENS Jura Carbon Team.
Due to these good results in the mountain bike world cup the race program as well as the training schedule got slightly adapted. But with regard to the season Mathieu van der Poel said: “I am on track.“
The goals of the Dutch Champion for the upcoming season are the following: “I want to keep a level as high as possible for the whole season, with as many wins as possible.“ In the past season, he collected 22 single wins. And regarding the World Championship in Valkenburg, Netherlands (his home country), he said: “Though it is a while till it will take place, I am already training for this event.“
He explicitly welcomed new rider Tom Meeusen: “Tom is an asset on and off the bike. It was a fun and great summer with him.“ It was of advantage to have a rider like Meeusen in a sport that is as fast and tactical as cyclo-cross.
Tom Meeusen himself said that he was very happy about his new environment. “David and Mathieu are from the same region as I am, therefore we can train well together.“ Also long training rides were more fun together. As all eyes were on Mathieu, he could race freely and play off his strengths, especially in technical races. His summer program with road races, e.g. in France, had been very different from previous years. “I was not used to this, but it made me stronger.“
Besides Mathieu van der Poel and Tom Meeusen, David van der Poel and Philipp Walsleben will start in the Elite category. Both riders contributed to Mathieus overall victory at Boucles de la Mayenne (UCI 2.1) – and to the overall win. David van der Poel finished within the top 10 in some very competitive races throughout the season, e.g. at Boucles de la Mayenne or Tour du Limousin (UCI 2.1). Philipp Walsleben won e.g. the mountain category at four-day stage race Tour du Limousin.