Mathieu van der Poel at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.

Mathieu van der Poel feels well-prepared for Flanders

The 2020 winner is confident in both his form and his team ahead of the Tour of Flanders.

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

Jump To Comments

Mathieu van der Poel said on Tuesday that he is feeling well-prepared for the upcoming Tour of Flanders despite the late start to his 2022 racing campaign.

The 2020 Flanders winner spent about three months away from racing as he worked his way back from back issues, and he underwent a knee surgery during the hiatus. By February, however, he was back to training extensively, and he made his first race start of the 2022 season at Milan-San Remo. He finished third there, and went on to win a stage at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.

“I think it’s maybe been one of my best preparations because I had the time to prepare myself the way I wanted to and not immediately start racing after cyclocross season of course,” Van der Poel said on Tuesday in a video press conference.

“I feel pretty good with the preparation I did. It still has to pay off of course but I felt pretty good during my races already and I think that proves it was a good preparation.”

Van der Poel said that he is “as good as pain free on the bike,” but noted that he is continuing to do exercises in the interest of keeping the situation under control.

As of Tuesday, the 27-year-old Dutchman has yet to race on the pavé thus far in 2022, while rivals like Wout van Aert have had plenty of opportunities to put their skills to the test and their strength on display. Van Aert’s Jumbo-Visma team has looked particularly strong, with Van Aert and Christophe Laporte going one-two at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic last week and Laporte going on to take second at Gent-Wevelgem.

Nevertheless, Van der Poel’s confidence extended to his Alpecin-Fenix support as well.

“I think we proved last year that we have one of the strongest teams,” he said.

“For sure, we are maybe going to miss [Jonas] Rickaert with an injury but I think the rest of the team is strong enough to help me. At the end of course you have to do it yourself.”

Van der Poel and his teammates will have an opportunity to test themselves soon, as Van der Poel will make his first racing start on the pavé this season at Wednesday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen, a race he won back in 2019. From there, it’s on to De Ronde van Vlaanderen, where Van der Poel will look to relive his triumphant 2020 experience, going one better than his runner-up ride in 2021.

“It’s an honest race,” Van der Poel said of the Tour of Flanders. “We’ve seen the last couple of years that the strongest riders will be at the front, so I look forward to try and race for the victory again.”

Editors' Picks