Mathieu van der Poel

This is the page about Mathieu van der Poel, a Dutch cyclist from Alpecin-Deceuninck. He is the Netherlands' beacon of hope for victories in cyclo-cross, mountain biking, and road cycling. keeps a close eye on all news related to Van Der Poel, along with maintaining a biography of his career.

Mathieu van der Poel
Mathieu van der Poel

Van der Poel makes his breakthrough in cyclo-cross 

Mathieu van der Poel was born on January 19, 1995, in Kapellen and is the son of retired Dutch cyclist Adrie van der Poel. From a young age, the Dutchman proved to be a versatile athlete. Whether in cyclo-cross, on the road or on a mountain bike, young Mathieu quickly started racking up victories. However, his breakthrough came in cyclo-cross during the 2013-2014 season. As an under-23 rider, he won the World Cup and the Dutch National Championships, and as a pro, he began accumulating impressive results. In the 2014-2015 cyclo-cross season, he won his first elite race. From there, his career rapidly ascended.

Since joining the elite ranks in 2015, he has won the World Cup once, the Superprestige four times, the DVV Trophy twice, and he has also been crowned European and World Champion twice. He won the Dutch National Cyclo-Cross Championships five times in a row since 2015. In the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 seasons, Van der Poel impressed with 32 victories throughout the year, earning him a place in the record books. Having won everything there was to win in cyclo-cross, he shifted his focus to road and mountain bike racing after the winter of 2019. However, in the 2019/2020 winter, he still became European and World Champion in cyclo-cross.

Van der Poel shines in road cycling and mountain biking too

Van der Poel's ambition is clear: to become an Olympic champion in Tokyo 2020, even though the Games have been rescheduled to 2021. To achieve this, he started competing seriously in mountain biking in 2018, with remarkable success. He won the short-track races in Albstadt, Val di Sole, and La Bresse. However, it was in 2019 that he truly began to challenge the elite in mountain biking. The Dutch rider secured victories in five short-track events and also won his first cross-country races. He triumphed in Nove Mesto, Val di Sole, and Lenzerheide, and was crowned European Champion. He skipped the World Championships, but the conclusion was clear: Mathieu was ready for Tokyo.

This was even more remarkable considering he also competed in an almost full road season in 2019. Van der Poel started with a few races but soon realized he could achieve a lot more. After clinching the Dutch national road championship title, he truly astounded in 2019. He sent early warning shots with victories in GP Denain, Dwars door Vlaanderen, and Brabantse Pijl, but the true glory came later with a win in the Amstel Gold Race. Van der Poel continued his momentum, leading up to the World Championships in Yorkshire and he also won the Tour of Britain. However, the World Championships turned out to be a bit of a letdown. Van der Poel dropped back in the final round due to exhaustion, leaving him short of the ultimate victory to cap off his remarkable season.

Mathieu van der Poel

Van der Poel claims his first victory in a monument and sets his sights on the Tour

The pandemic disrupted much of Van der Poel’s 2020 season. Following a cyclo-cross season where he once again became world champion and won nearly every race he entered, the road season came to an abrupt halt. The cycling peloton was sidelined from mid-March to early August due to the virus. This meant the Dutch rider had to forgo his planned mountain bike summer. Nearly all World Cup events were canceled and the Tokyo Olympics were postponed by a year. The spring classics were moved to the autumn, where Van der Poel then focused his efforts. His success in the restructured season was evident; after a slow start in Italy, he hit peak form in the Flemish classics, winning the Tour of Flanders in an epic sprint against Wout van Aert.

The Dutch rider also hoped to make his grand tour debut in 2020, but his team, Alpecin-Fenix, didn't get a wildcard for any of the stage races. Therefore, his focus shifted to 2021, with one eye towards the Tour de France. Since Alpecin-Fenix won the Europa Tour in 2020, they earned the right to participate in all major races in 2021. This allowed Van der Poel to look forward to his first Tour de France. In the first half of the season, he demonstrated his capabilities for the Tour. After defending his world title in cyclo-cross, he achieved victories on the road in the UAE Tour and Strade Bianche. He then won two stages in the Tirreno-Adriatico, but then narrowly missed out on winning Milan-San Remo. In the Flemish spring classics, he was a dominant force but didn’t secure a win. He finished third in the E3, and Kasper Asgreen outpaced him in the Tour of Flanders. Immediately after the Tour of Flanders, his focus shifted to the Tour and mountain biking in preparation for the Olympics.

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Van der Poel struggles with back pain but still achieves impressive victories

In his first Tour de France, Van der Poel found the tailor-made first stage somewhat disappointing, but he made a remarkable comeback in the second stage: he launched an incredible attack and captured the yellow jersey, dedicating it to his late grandfather, Raymond Poulidor. Van der Poel held onto the yellow jersey for six days (including a stellar performance in the time trial) before leaving the Tour to focus on the Olympics. There, disaster struck when he fell hard after missing a ramp and had to withdraw.

This accident kept him off the bike for a while, but his sights were already set on the autumn season, with the World Championships in Leuven and Paris-Roubaix. In these, he finished eighth and third, respectively – results that fell short of what Van der Poel, still battling back issues, had hoped for. After that, the following cyclo-cross season and part of the 2022 classics were also a letdown.

Van der Poel keeps winning but faces many setbacks

Despite these challenges, the Dutchman's spring season in 2022 can be considered a great success. After a brief preparation, Van der Poel won the Tour of Flanders and Dwars door Vlaanderen for the second time. He also secured notable places in the Amstel Gold Race and Paris-Roubaix, before making his first appearance in the Giro. There, he immediately grabbed the pink jersey in the opening stage and then entertained the crowd throughout the Giro d'Italia. He carried this momentum into the Tour de France, but the event ended in disappointment; unable to find his form after ten days, Van der Poel returned home with a sense of despair.

Van der Poel took a break from cycling and set his sights on the World Road Championships in Australia in the autumn, on a course that seemed to fit him like a glove. However, things went disastrously wrong: the night before the race, Van der Poel was arrested by Australian police after a confrontation with two girls who were disturbing him by knocking on his door. Frustrated by several hours of lost sleep, Van der Poel confronted the girls in their room, which led to his arrest. He still participated in the World Championships but withdrew from the race after just 30 kilometers.

Van der Poel makes a comeback in cyclo-cross

In the 2022-2023 cyclo-cross season, Van der Poel made his comeback. His first victory came in Hulst, and he also triumphed in Antwerp, Asper-Gavere, Herentals, Benidorm, and Besançon. At the World Cyclo-Cross Championships, the battle seemed set between Van der Poel and Van Aert once again. The two competitors closely matched each other throughout the race, leading to a sprint finish. It was the Dutchman who crossed the finish line first, earning Van der Poel his fifth world title.

"MvdP" secures two major victories in the classics

Van der Poel returned to form on the road, starting his season with the Strade Bianche, where he finished fifteenth, just as he did in 2020. That season, he often rode in support of his teammate Jasper Philipsen. In the Tirreno-Adriatico, he helped lead Philipsen to two sprint victories as the lead-out man. In Milan-San Remo, it was Van der Poel's turn to shine. He followed Tadej Pogacar, Filippo Ganna, and Van Aert up the climb of the Poggio. He attacked just before the summit and extended his lead on the descent, eventually finishing solo.

In the Tour of Flanders, the Dutch rider was outmatched by Pogacar's strength on the climbs, finishing second, sixteen seconds behind the Slovenian. However, he claimed victory in Paris-Roubaix, partly due to a puncture suffered by his main rival Van Aert in the finale. Philipsen finished second, 46 seconds behind Van der Poel, with Van Aert completing the podium.

The next success for the Dutch rider came in the Tour of Belgium, where he won not only the queen stage but also the general classification. At the Dutch National Championships, he settled for third place after several falls in Sittard. He didn’t win any stages in the Tour de France, where he primarily worked for Philipsen, helping him to the green jersey. Van der Poel's best result in the Tour was a twelfth place in the nineteenth stage.

The pinnacle of Van der Poel's career came in 2023 in Glasgow, where he became the World Road Champion for the first time following a 22-kilometer solo effort. Despite a fall in the pouring rain in the final stage, he finished well over a minute and a half ahead of Van Aert and Pogacar. Van der Poel made history by becoming the first rider ever to win World Championships in both cyclo-cross and road cycling.

Mathieu van der Poel News

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