PARIS: Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel will return to competition on Saturday in a one-day race in Belgium, to start his warm-up ahead of the Tour de France and the World Championships.
“The goal is to just go and try to win the (Tour) stage and then the other objective is of course getting as good as possible to Paris and try to be ready for the Worlds,“ the winner of the Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix ‘Monument’ races this season told a video-conference from La Plagne in the French Alps.
This year the World Road Race Championships are scheduled for Glasgow from August 5, only two weeks after the arrival of the Tour de France in Paris.
“Normally I will also do the World Mountain Bike Championships the week after the Road Championship. But without any specific preparation I will try and go there without any pressure,“ continued the 28-year-old who has not competed for almost two months since winning in the Roubaix velodrome on April 9.
Saturday’s one-day race in the Hageland area will him help prepare for the Tour of Belgium (June 14-18) then the Dutch Championship (June 25), his last outings before the Tour de France, which he intends to complete after withdrawing during the 11th stage in his debut last year.
“Paris is the last stop before the Worlds,“ he said.
“It’s time to finish it and that’s why I’m also preparing so good this year.
“I really want to have a good Tour, like the Giro last year,“ said Van der Poel of his stage win and wearing the pink jersey on Italian roads.
To perfect his preparation the Alpecin team leader shunned the Criterium du Dauphine and the Tour of Switzerland.
“It’s better for me to go all out and try to win some stages in Belgium than to be in a gruppetto in Switzerland in the mountain stages.” -AFP