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Van der Poel targets Tour de France-Olympic mountain bike double

Dutch rider plans on one very busy July racing calendar in 2021

Photo by: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Mathieu van der Poel is cautiously laying out his lofty objectives for  2021 and, as they stand, its an impressive calendar to even attempt. Just in July, the Dutch phenom will attempt to combine two of cycling’s most prestigious competitions in two entirely different disciplines.

van der Poel
Mathieu van der Poel sprints to victory at Tour of Flanders. Wout van Aert faces a similar choice to his Dutch rival between Tour de France and the Olympic Road Race. Photo: Sirotti.

To start, van der Poel is targeting a stage win at the 2021 Tour de France. As MvdP told L’Equipe, even that will be an achievement. “Our team is aiming for a stage victory. When you see the number of teams that come back empty-handed after three weeks of racing, winning a stage would mean that our Tour is successful,” said van der Poel.

From Tour to Tokyo

Then, just over a week later after the Grand Tour wraps up in Paris, van der Poel will take on the Tokyo Olympic mountain bike race. The Olympic cross country race had been a major objective for van der Poel in 2020. With the Games postponed to 2021, it makes meeting all of the aspirational rider’s objectives much more complicated. The Tour de France concludes on July 18. The Men’s XCO event is scheduled for July 26, on the other side of the globe.

van der Poel
van der Poel won his first World Cup XCO events, and numerous XCC races, back in 2018. Photo: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

While van der Poel has surely proven himself capable of winning at either event, doing both on such a tight timeline would be phenomenal. The tight schedule already presents an incredible logistical challenge for the Dutch rider. He is aware, though, that timing might not be the only objective. Both the Tour de France and the Olympics were postponed in 2020. With the global pandemic ongoing, van der Poel isn’t setting his race calendar in stone just yet.

“It’s premature to talk about it,” van der Poel said. “We have seen this year that this can change very quickly. Many factors come into play. If nothing changes, it is certain that I will take the start of the Tour and that I will go to the Olympics afterwards for mountain biking. But, we will see later how to best prepare ”