While his spring was overshadowed by fellow cyclocross superstar Wout van Aert’s amazing road campaign, Mathieu van der Poel is trying to get his young mountain biking career on the right track. After dabbling in XC mountain biking last year during which he was second to an unstoppable Nino Schurter at the Albstadt World Cup, van der Poel looks poised for a big season on the single track circuit. He is tagerting the 2020 XC race at the Tokyo Olympics before likely turning his focus to the road.

Over the weekend the Dutchman swept three days of UCI racing at La Rioja Bike Race. The results show the Dutchman is on form with the Albstadt World Cup this coming weekend and Nové Město na Moravě the weekend after that. However, the Spanish competition wasn’t without incident and van der Poel crashed during the first race of the weekend.

Following the sweep, a CT scan showed the repercussions of the race were greater than first anticipated. Van der Poel had suffered a fractured scaphoid after the crash putting an obstacle in his path ahead of his World Cup season debut.

Van der Poel underwent surgery to stabilize the fracture and has every intention to race in Albstadt with a newly inserted screw in his hand. It will be his first World Cup of the season having taken a break from racing after the conclusion of the cyclocross season which ended with a loss to van Aert at the world championships.

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