"He is probably not going to care much about the Tour" - Mathieu van der Poel's focus firmly on the Olympics believes Jan Bakelants

After spending the majority of the 2023 Tour de France working as a domestique for Jasper Philipsen and preparing for World Championships, Mathieu van der Poel could be set for a similar role at the 2024 Tour believes ex-pro turned analyst Jan Bakelants.

"Mathieu is Mathieu. Due to the results of the last year, I can imagine that he is not under any pressure, something that does not seem to bother him anyway," the 38-year-old former Tour de France stage winner in his own right, assesses in quotes collected by Wielerrevue, referencing van der Poel's immense success already in 2024, including wins at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix among others.

As mentioned, last year, van der Poel was used primarily by Alpecin-Deceuninck as a leadout man for Jasper Philipsen, whilst preparing his legs for the upcoming road race at the Glasgow World Championships. That proved a fruitful endeavour as well with Philipsen winning the Green Jersey and four stages, plus van der Poel then going on to claim the Rainbow Jersey in the men's elite road race later that summer. As such, Bakelants can easily foresee a similar method at the 2024 Tour de France, with van der Poel having more than one eye on striking gold at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

"He is probably not going to care much about the Tour," Bakelants concludes his analysis. "Although on paper stage one would be something he could win in the sprint and then there is that gravel stage of course. He will certainly have his sights set on that. He will choose a few days, but he mainly has Paris in mind. the back of the mind."

According to van der Poel's teammate for the men's road race at the Olympics, Daan Hoole, the Dutchman is indeed already preparing for the gold medal race. "He let me know that he was also really looking forward to it and that he thought it would be great for us to go there together,” Hoole said in conversation with Wielerflits recently.

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