There has never been much of a doubt that Mathieu van der Poel is one of the most talented cyclists of his generation. At only 23-years-old, he already has a junior world championship title on the road from 2013 and an elite men’s cyclocross world championship title from 2015.
In recent months, van der Poel has stepped it up at the elite level with the Dutch elite men’s road title which he won ahead of established WorldTour pros Danny van Poppel and defending champion Ramon Sinkeldam. He also holds the Dutch cyclocross title which he won for the fourth consecutive year in January. On Sunday, he added the elite XC mountain bike title to his palmares in Apeldoorn. He now holds the Dutch championship jersey in all three major cycling disciplines. It’s a first-time achievement for an elite Dutch men’s cyclist.
Van der Poel has switched his focus to mountain biking in recent months with the goal of competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He has finished third at three rounds of the mountain bike World Cup at Vallnord, Val di Sole and Albstadt after coming second to Nino Schurter at the later last season.
These achievements come after van der Poel dominated the cyclocross World Cup in 2017-2018 only to falter and finish third to Wout van Aert at the 2018 cyclocross world championships. After van Aert signed with team LottoNL-Jumbo on a three-year contract, speculation when van der Poel is set to make the jump to a WorldTour road program is sure to follow. Apart from the Dutch national road title, van der Poel has shown promise on the road winning Ronde van Limburg and stages of the Boucles de la Mayenne in 2018 ahead of established professionals.
While the young Dutchman’s achievements are impressive they don’t quite match those of Pauline Ferrand-Prévot who made cycling history in 2015 when she held the world road title, world cyclocross title and world mountain bike title. That season, Ferrand-Prévot was also elite French women’s champion in the three disciplines.
After the World Cup mountain bike season stops in Mont-Sainte-Anne and La Bresse, van der Poel will go to the mountain bike world championships looking to earn his first elite medal.