Mathieu van der Poel on stage 2 of the Tour de France.

Back issues will keep Van der Poel sidelined for the Benelux Tour

Alpecin-Fenix says "there is no reason to question participations at the World Championships and Paris-Roubaix."

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Mathieu van der Poel won’t be defending his title at the upcoming Benelux Tour due to back issues, Alpecin-Fenix has announced, but the team says “there is no reason to question” his planned starts at Worlds and Paris-Roubaix.

Van der Poel, who crashed out of the mountain bike race at the Tokyo Olympics in late July, left a training camp early due to back pain earlier this month. He then pulled out of mountain bike Worlds.

On Friday, Alpecin-Fenix announced that he won’t be making the start at the Benelux Tour, the WorldTour stage race formerly known as the BinckBank Tour, which he won last season.

“Mathieu van der Poel was hoping to defend his title at the Benelux Tour, but unfortunately he will have to sit out the race. Due to his back problems, Van der Poel hasn’t been able to train optimally in recent weeks and the Benelux Tour comes too soon,” Alpecin-Fenix said in a statement.

“His adjusted training and race schedule for the coming months will be made according to his recovery. At this moment there is no reason to question participations at the World Championships and Paris-Roubaix.”

Wielerflits reports that the specific problem Van der Poel faces is fluid between vertebrae, with a potentially herniated disc.

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