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'If Van der Poel’s there it’ll be the Van der Poel show'

Jack Elton-Walters
10 Oct 2019

He may be racing a reduced programme but at least one of Van der Poel's rivals is still expecting him to make headlines. Photo: Canyon/Ramon

After a successful debut road season that included WorldTour wins at Dwaars door Vlaanderen and the Amstel Gold Race, plus the overall at the Tour of Britain, fatigue finally caught up with Mathieu van der Poel when he faded in the latter stages of the World Championships earlier this month.

As such, his choice to take a break and race a reduced cyclocross season this winter is perfectly understandable. Even so, he's still expected to take the start line of the DVV Trofee series of races and will also defend his Cyclocross World Championship title in Switzerland next February.

However much Van der Poel races, one of his new rivals – new after only just stepping up from the U23 ranks – is already expecting the Dutchman to pick up where he left off.

Photo: Charlie Crowhurst / Red Bull Content Pool

'If Van der Poel’s there it’s going to be the Van der Poel show,' Tom Pidcock explained ahead of the recent launch of his team for the upcoming cyclocross season.

Not to be put off by the winning reputation of his rival, Pidcock remains set on riding elite level races this winter despite being young enough for a few more seasons at U23.

'I think I’ve achieved everything I wanted to at U23 so I don’t think there’s any point to staying U23.'

Besides, the current U23 Cyclocross World Champion has got his eye on another rider with whom he's already clashed.

'Eli Iserbyt is the leader of the World Cup at the moment so it gives me quite a lot of confidence. I think there definitely will always be the rivalry there because we’ve been rivals for two years now. I think it’ll always be him that’s noticeable to me and the other way round.'

However, the 20-year-old Brit will race the course that's put in front of him and against anyone who takes the start. 'I ride my own races. It’s not necessarily about beating one person.'