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Door open for Mathieu van der Poel to lead Netherlands at World Championships

Joe Robinson
24 Apr 2019

A packed schedule of cross-country mountain biking and cyclocross may hamper Van der Poel riding in Yorkshire

Mathieu van der Poel could continue his multi-discipline dominance as the Dutch national team opened the door for him to race the 2019 road race World Championships in Yorkshire.

It is yet to be confirmed whether the recent Amstel Gold Race winner would take to the Harrogate startline in September, with Van der Poel scheduled to return to the cross-country mountain bike circuit this summer, ending his road season in the spring.

However, Dutch national coach Koos Moerenhout has confirmed to Dutch newspaper AD that the Netherlands would happily pick him despite his lack of road miles due to the course suiting the rider 'perfectly'.

'It’s a course that suits Van der Poel perfectly. It should come as no surprise that I would like to have him there,' said Moerenhout.

'If he goes to the world championships, and is as perfectly prepared as he was for this spring, then he belongs there.'

The biggest issue for Van der Poel could be timing. The 24-year-old has made no secret that his biggest goal is to win gold in mountain biking at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

With that in mind, Van der Poel had previously confirmed he would only ride the road until Amstel Gold, last weekend, before turning his attention to winning the cross-country mountain bike World Championships that will be hosted in Canada at the end of August.

After that will then be a return to cyclocross with the season getting underway properly in late September. This gives Van der Poel a time frame of only three weeks to switch from mountain bike to road and then back to cyclocross if he wishes to race in Yorkshire

It will be a tight squeeze, even for somebody of Van der Poel's quality, although Moernenhout is fully prepared to hand the rider team leadership duties if he decides to race.

'It is primarily a matter for Mathieu. He has to see if it fits in with his programme, given his activities on the mountain bike and his preparation for the ‘cross season,' said Moerenhout.

'It may be that some of the riders frown upon it – a young upstart coming straight in – but on the other hand, his class is unquestionable. Even the current riders will confirm that.'

Van der Poel has technically ended his 2019 road racing season already. 

It only lasted 15 race days but, within that, it produced six victories including Dwars door Vlaanderen, Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold Race. It also garnered a fourth-place finish at the Tour of Flanders on his debut.

If Van der Poel does race in Yorkshire, there is a good chance he could be looking to become the first rider since Pauline Ferrand-Prevot in 2014 to complete the rainbow jersey trio across the road, mountain bike and cyclocross.