After more than three months away from competition, Mathieu van der Poel may return to racing earlier than expected, with Sporza reporting on Thursday that he “will more than likely” race at Milan-San Remo on Saturday. CyclingTips’s own sources suggest that the report is accurate and that Van der Poel does plan to start, at least for now.
The 27-year-old Dutchman cut his most recent cyclocross campaign short and delayed the start of his 2022 racing campaign as he recovered from back issues. During that time, he also underwent knee surgery.
It was not initially clear when he planned to return to competition, but last week, reports emerged suggesting that he was gearing up to race the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali ahead of planned starts at Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders.
Apparently, he may return even sooner than that, as Sporza reports that he could be in action at the first Monument of the year, Saturday’s Milan-San Remo.
According to Sporza, Alpecin-Fenix would not comment on the subject. At least prior to Thursday’s news, Jasper Philipsen was expected to lead the squad in the Italian one-day. That may still be the case regardless of whether Van der Poel makes the start, but the surprise appearance of the four-time cyclocross world champ would add plenty of intrigue to the race just the same.