The Mathieu Van der Poel Mountainbike Thread

Mathieu Van der Poel announced a few weaks ago that he would mountainbike this season in order to get a selection for the Olympics. I am a die-hard anti-Olympics advocate but I’d certainly like to keep track of his campaign. It will all start on February 25 at the Cyprus Sunshine Cup. His ambition there is to grab UCI points in order to get a better start position for the first World Cup events. He needs one top6 in a World Cup or two top12’s.

I’ve followed Van der Poel’s career ever since the novice category but I don’t recall him ever mountainbiking. Perhaps I missed a thing. But a prodigy like him can certainly gets a selection.
Oct 23, 2011
Interesting. I don't recall Mahtieu mountainbiking either, but it will be interesting to see how well he does. :)
First day as a mountain biker -> 10th place at the first stage of the Sunshine Cup (3900m time trial)

1st Florian Vogel - 9'25.349
2nd Grant Ferguson - +0.219
3rd Marcel Guerrini - +6.126
4th Fabian Giger - +6.920
5th Matthias Stirnemann - +8.700
6th Maxime Marotte - +10.232
7th Marco Aurelio Fontana - +11.068
8th Nicola Rohrbach - +13.941
9th Bartlomiej Wawak - +16.921
10th Mathieu Van der Poel - +17.124
I still believe it's a matter of time before he turns to the road.

Mathieu appears to me like a highly ambitious guy, and he knows that he can't be a dominant force in the road yet.

His grandpa (Poulidor) said a few months ago that VdP climbs better now that Merckx with his age so I believe the pressure to turn the road is high in his house too. :p
It sure didn't take this kid long to find the top of the box! For what is worth though, he is at peak fitness and the mountain bike guys are just building, plus the top three weren't there. This kid has BIG potential!

Ricco' said:
I still believe it's a matter of time before he turns to the road.

Mathieu appears to me like a highly ambitious guy, and he knows that he can't be a dominant force in the road yet.

His grandpa (Poulidor) said a few months ago that VdP climbs better now that Merckx with his age so I believe the pressure to turn the road is high in his house too. :p
Merckx in present day would not even be a top 50 climber. The progression in the modern day is that big. There is no comparison.
Mathieu is "the best thing that happened to cycling in recent years." "It is clear that his on-bike and off-bike presence is very refreshing and he is drawing more fans and media attention to the sport". :)

I mean who among the PRR section regulars knew about the Sunshine Cup before? Certainly not me. In less than 48 hours he put the race on the map. It's amazing.

Mathieu is definitely not hurried to focus primarily on the road. First he's still under contract with BKCP until end 2017. At the time he extended that contract two years ago it surprised many because that meant that his road calendar would still be limited to the BKCP road agenda. Besides, in the post-race interview in Zolder, he distinctly claimed that Wout Van Aert would be his main rival for the years to come. The journalist, Karl Vannieuwkerke noticed that phrase because actually here in Belgium there's more pressure to retain him in the fields than to have him focus on the major road races. But this is not needed because Mathieu enjoys cyclocross more than anything, especially the training part. Mind you, I also distinctly remember Lars van der Haar rejecting a suggestion to focus on the road because "road racing is boring!" (interview following his first U23 World title), that was fair & square! Vintage Lars! Why would you focus 100% to the road work when you can make a living in the fields? Cyclocross is now so popular, gets so much TV coverage, at least here in Belgium, that it pays a lot better than 20 years ago. When Paul Herijgers (who also was an accomplished mountainbiker) stopped his career, he had to resume his job as a bricklayer to earn his bread. Sven Nys obviously wouldnt need that. Niels Albert also had talent for the road, he was a lot more talented than Stybar as a U23 rider but he would systematically extend his contract with BKCP and thereby renounce to a possible road career because he felt good in that team. Of course you can earn a lot more money on the road but if you can have a decent living by racing cross, combine it with mountainbike (and a few good road races such as the Tour of Belgium), the way Mathieu does, why change? Because he never would have his dad's palmares? Anyway his career is his own. :) And I find it a wonderful idea of his to go mountainbiking...
Mathieu, after a fall, came from position 45 to position 3 in last stage, in XCO format.

Finished the overall in 4th, 1'42'' down on the winner, Fabian Giger and just 18 seconds away from the second place.

Next stop: Algarve Bike Challenge, Tavira, Portugal. March 4th to 6th.
Mathieu pulled out of the Algarve Bike Challenge. He realised that though his cross season was short, it nonetheless was intense. He opted for a short rest period in order to build up for the first World Cup event in Cairns, Australia, mid April. The stages in Algarve were all 100+ km.

He also said he surprised himself. Former Olympic champion Bart Brentjens and Marco Aurelio Fontana were really impressed by Mathieu's skills, says Roodhooft.
"Hij heeft geen trainingsschema". He's got no training plan, no training programme... That's indeed what father Adrianus is saying in the video. He's saying that Mathieu would still train in a playful/amateur way for two years and hopes he could get to the road afterwards but combine it with cyclocross. He wants his son to show that it is possible to do it.

Edwig Van Hooydonck seems to regret that such a talent just contend with cyclocross and mountainbike. Nice to see that Edwig has lost weight since he claimed to abstain from eating fries. :D

By the way Mathieu upcoming calendar in mountainbike is known:

Pearl Izumi Cup in Beringen, April 10
Cairns, Australia, World Cup, April 24
BeMC Mountainbike Challenge, May 13 to 15 (3 stages around La Roche-en Ardennes)
European Championship in Husqvarna, May 8
Albstadt, World Cup, May 22
La Bresse, World Cup, May 29
World Championship in Nove Mesto, July 3

Unfortunately, the Tour of Belgium is not on Mathieu schedule since it clashes with La Bresse. Or well, let's assume that Mathieu gets top6 in Cairns, he might reconsider this. :)

By the way, the article suggests that Rudi van Houts would be the most likely first selected in the Dutch field but I thought that the Dutch #1 in mountainbike was Michiel Van der Heijden? &#63
Re: Re:

Ricco' said:
jmdirt said:
I expected more from him. His start position wasn't good, but after Absalon's flat the two were together and Absalon finished 3rd so...
Mathieu suffered from a flat and a broken rim with 2 and a half laps to go when he was around position 26. That setback pushed him to 32nd.
I know, I watched the race. Mid 20s wouldn't have been much better. He has a month to figure it out before the next World Cup. It is possible that he's having an end of CX lull so a solid block of XC training could get his form loaded again.

EDIT: He at least needs to beat the other Neders (he might have without the flat I suppose).