Mathieu van der Poel will take a break after Tour of Flanders: Daily News

Cyclists take on the Koppenberg during the Tour of Flanders in 1987.

by Abby Mickey

photography by Cor Vos


Hello CyclingTips readers,

We are one day closer to the Tour of Flanders, de Ronde van Vlaanderen, the biggest race of the spring season, especially now that Paris-Roubaix will be a fall event in 2021. As the cycling world holds its breath in anticipation of the big races on Sunday, the news is scarce.

What has surfaced today is not great for fans of Zdenek Stybar. The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider will miss Flanders after undergoing an ablation.

Read on for the latest from the world of cycling.

Abby Mickey
Associate Editor

What’s news?

Van der Poel to pause road season after Tour of Flanders

After a busy start to road racing immediately after his Cyclocross world championship victory, Mathieu van der Poel plans to take a step back from the tarmac after the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. In a pre-Flanders press conference, the Dutch national champion said he would not be racing the Ardennes Classics later this month, but instead focus on training for his goals later in the summer.

Since the mountain bike event at the Tokyo Olympic Games is a big target for Van der Poel, he is planning to race the Novo Mesto mountain bike World Cup in May before returning to the road for the Tour de France in July.

“I didn’t have the best foundation when I started the road season. I started pretty quickly after the (cyclocross) World Championships. The condition was also good, I proved that in the Strade Bianche and Tirreno, but I have to admit that it is now a bit less than in those Italian races,” said Van der Poel. “They asked a lot of me. If you go very deep a few times, without a broad base, it will affect the condition. But we thought I could stretch the good form to Paris-Roubaix.” 

Van der Poel will line up for de Ronde van Vlaanderen as one of the race favorites. He was victorious in 2020, crossing the line ahead of Van Aert after the two escaped alongside Julian Alaphilippe with 45 km remaining in the race.

Zdenek Stybar will miss the Tour of Flanders after undergoing an ablation

Deceuninck-Quick-Step said in a press release on Friday that Zdenek Stybar told doctors “that he was feeling unwell” after Gent-Wevelgem, and further examinations showed that he had a heart rhythm problem. He underwent a cardiac ablation on Wednesday at Brussels hospital.

He has been cleared to get back to training this weekend, but will not race the Tour of Flanders and will instead spend some time off with his family.

More information can be found here.

Inaugural Women’s Tour de Suisse in danger

The first-ever Women’s Tour de Suisse is calling for financial help if the race is to go ahead as planned in June. Members of the Swiss Cycling governing body announced on Thursday they do not have the required funds to hold the women’s two-day event.

Reimbursements from the cancelled world championships in Aigle-Martigny were supposed the fund the new women’s race but have not been paid yet. Swiss Cycling has started a campaign to help the event become a reality.

Vini Zabú takes a break from racing after Matteo De Bonis EPO positive

The Vini Zabú team have announced they will take a step back from racing following the positive EPO result from Matteo De Bonis. De Bonis is the second rider to register a doping offence in the last 12 months.

The Italian team is now conducting an investigation internally in the hopes they can avoid a possible 45-day suspension from racing. The suspension would impact the teams wild card invitation to the upcoming Giro d’Italia on May 8th.

Women’s Cycling Weekly: Issue 19

It’s been a really exciting week of racing yet again and with Flanders coming up on Sunday there’s still plenty to look forward to. As you’ll find out later on in this newsletter it’s also been a great week for women’s cycling content. PLUS this week I have a cheeky little competition for you. So now I’ve added that sneaky little teaser, have a read on to find out more!

Read issue 19 of the Women’s Cycling Weekly by Amy Jones in full here.

Coming up

Did you know that the Tour of Flanders is this Sunday?

Matt de Neef wrote this handy preview with information, favourites, contenders, and course details for the men’s event. As for the women’s race, a list of riders to watch and a breakdown of the course can be found here.

Both races are available on FloBikes in North America, GCN+ in Europe and Pacific-Asia, and SBS in Australia.

In case you missed it…

  • Amy Jones writes about the two unions representing the women’s peloton, only one of which is supported by the UCI.
  • A new episode of the Freewheeling Podcast is out featuring a chat with Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.
  • Vittoria announced run-flat foam tire inserts and James Huang recaps what you need to know.

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