With Mathieu van der Poel being edged into second at the E3 Saxo Classic by nemesis Wout van Aert, father Adrie van der Poel believes that racing against each other so often can be a blessing and a curse.
"In his first years, Mathieu was too boisterous. Attacking from 60 or 80 kilometers, that didn't always work out. Like any rider, he has learned from his experience," recalls Adrie in conversation with HLN. "Mathieu, Wout van Aert, Tadej Pogacar and Julian Alaphilippe: they all study each other! Those men know each other's strengths and weaknesses."
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In what was a classic battle between three of cycling's biggest stars, van der Poel, van Aert and Tadej Pogacar went toe to toe for the win at the E3 Saxo Classic and despite the Dutchman not being able to raise his arms aloft in celebration, Christoph Roodhooft, speaking pre-race believes that winning isn't always the best sign of form.
"It all starts with the legs. If you're not the strongest, you may have such a good plan, then you shouldn't start it. You can also screw it up. In cycling, riders who are not the best in the race win just as often," explains Roodhooft. "Mathieu has been riding to win all his life: as a junior, as a newcomer, even before that. There are still few situations that surprise him."