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Tirreno effort will have 'positive impact' on Milan-San Remo form, says Van der Poel

Will Strickson
18 Mar 2021

Milan-San Remo favourite doesn't believe his struggle to the line at Tirreno-Adriatico will hinder his chances at La Primavera this weekend

Mathieu van der Poel thinks his burnout at Tirreno-Adriatico will have a 'positive impact' on his form for Saturday's Milan San-Remo.

Speaking in a pre-race press conference, the Dutchman said of the effort, that saw him almost squander a four-minute lead to Tadej Pogačar, 'I don't think it will have an impact on San Remo, maybe even a positive impact because I noticed in previous years when I dug this deep I also got better from it.

'I just need to have the time to recover from it and I think I did. The day after that effort was quite ok and the day after that was a time-trial. We had three easy days to recover so that should be more than enough.'

Despite being favourite to take the win at the season's first Monument, Van der Poel admitted he doesn't really like the race. 'The first 150-200km is just riding in a bunch and trying not to fall asleep so it's not really my kind of racing,' he said.

'It's one of the most difficult to win because there's not a lot of places where you can force the race. Most of the time you have to wait until the Poggio, but it's difficult to really make a gap.'

In typical favourite fashion, Van der Poel, who beat eternal rival Wout van Aert to the last Monument at the delayed Tour of Flanders last October, was quick to talk up his competitors, 'I think Michael Matthews was really good last year and he has a really fast sprint. He had a really good Paris-Nice as well so I think he will be a guy to watch.'

He also couldn't rule Van Aert out, 'I think Wout has a little bit of an advantage already in that he has won the race once so I think for him it's a bit easier. But it will be a new race and San Remo is quite an honest race so the strongest normally wins.'

If Van der Poel does win, he would replicate the feat of his late grandfather, Raymond Poulidor, almost exactly 60 years later.