More options are usually a good thing, but for Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus), more options means he faces a tough choice at the end of this summer.
Coming into the season, most observers figured the Dutch wunderkind would be racing the 2019 XCO World Championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada on August 31, looking to improve on his 2018 third-place finish.
Van der Poel is off to a strong start in this year’s UCI XCO World Cup, taking his first-ever World Cup win at Nove Mesto; a chance at another off-road rainbow jersey is looking good.
Then the 2019 spring classics happened.
Today, Van der Poel announced that on the back of his classics campaign, he will be racing the 2019 Road World Championships in Yorkshire, Great Britain on September 29.
Giving a nod to his plans for the next year, he will then travel to Tokyo for the October 6 XCO test event being held in advance of the 2020 Olympics.
“Of course I regret I cannot compete in the MTB World Championships, but combining these three events is not possible,” Van der Poel said in a team release. “The course in Yorkshire should suit me, and that’s why I am focusing on the Road World Championships. Besides, I really want to cover the test event in Tokyo, the 2020 Olympic Games are still my biggest goal.”
Van der Poel’s schedule, as released by his team, includes three more XCO World Cups, the XCO European Championships and the EVO Energy Tour of Britain two weeks before Road Worlds. (scroll through the IG post below for his full schedule)
Van der Poel’s decision has clear impacts for the coming cyclocross season.
If he had chosen to race XCO Worlds in Mont-Sainte-Anne, in theory he could have stayed in North America for the two U.S. World Cups before perhaps taking a break ahead of the Euro cyclocross campaign.
If Van der Poel’s schedule for 2019 follows the one-month break he took between XCO Worlds in Lenzerheide and the start of his 2018/19 cyclocross season, we might not see him racing ’cross until after the Koppenbergcross this fall.
Stay tuned for more on his schedule for his rainbow defense season.
Featured image: Bart Hazen