"If I choose to change teams, it would mean losing an important teammate" - Jasper Philipsen admits Mathieu van der Poel could be key factor in future plans

The foundation on which much of the successes of the Alpecin-Deceuninck team have been built on, the duo of Jasper Philipsen and Mathieu van der Poel have formed one of the best tandems in the entirety of the peloton.

With Philipsen's contract ending at the conclusion of the 2024 season however, whether or not the Belgian and the Dutchman will continue to race together in the coming years remains to be seen. "Mathieu is of course very important to me," admits Philipsen in conversation with Wielerrevue. "That collaboration has yielded a lot of success in recent years and I also believe that we are very compatible with each other. We also have fun together in and off the race."

Last year at the Tour de France, van der Poel turned supreme leadout for Philipsen, helping the Belgian claim four stage wins and a dominant victory in the green jersey classification. With the duo also going one-two at Paris-Roubaix in each of the last two years, the two pronged attack of Philipsen and van der Poel has proven incredibly fruitful for Alpecin-Deceuninck, meaning the potential loss of Philipsen could be a big blow if it happens.

"Mathieu has been committed to the team, so if I choose to change teams, it would mean losing an important teammate," admits Philipsen. "He would like it if I stayed. But he also realizes that that is a choice that every rider has to make for himself. It is certainly not the case that he is putting pressure on me to stay."

Being able to call the world champion your leadout man is an honour not lost on Philipsen and the Belgian is clearly a big fan of his superstar teammate. "In recent years, everything has been going quite well for him and he takes it as it comes. I don't think he shows much nervousness," he says of van der Poel's character. "I have of course also experienced his more difficult period. In the Tour two years ago, things did not go well for Mathieu. The incident at the World Championship in Australia and his back problems after the fall at the Games. It is certainly not all plain sailing. I had a lot of fun with him and then I noticed that he was not feeling well. But fortunately that is not the case at the moment.”

As such, Philipsen is heading back to the Tour de France with van der Poel by his side once again and confidence flowing within the team ahead of Green Jersey defence. "In my opinion, that is the highest you can achieve as a sprinter. So that is an absolute main goal, although I also know that everything has to go well. You cannot lose points or be declassified anywhere," he concludes. "Of course you have a certain focus, but it does have an impact on you. Especially if there is decompression after a certain victory. You can't really enjoy it for long, because the next day you have to fight for points again You must maintain that focus constantly until the goal is effectively achieved."

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