Mathieu van der Poel: "I did everything I could to be in order for this World Championships"
Mathieu van der Poel will be one of the favourites for this Sunday's main event at the World Championships, as the men's Elite Road Race will deliver a lot of action, and the Dutch rider is hoping to take home a grand medal by the end of the week.
Talking ahead of the race, in a press conference this Thursday, van der Poel was asked about his performance in the Mixed Relay TTT, where the Netherlands suffered a series of setbacks that kept them away from the medals where they were expected to finish. “I was good during that time trial. I rode the wattages I had in mind," van der Poel responded. "It was not yet the way it should be on Sunday. I'm not super yet, but hey, I've only been here since Monday. It takes some time to acclimate.”
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The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider is setting off into his third World Championships on the road. "It is such a difficult race to win. And I've only participated twice. That was not bad in itself, but everyone knows the story of Harrogate," he said, referring to his crack whilst in a winning position.
"And in Leuven (where he finished in eighth position) I came back after my back injury. It wasn't bad twice. It was certainly not a fiasco, but I hope to be closer on Sunday.” Having taken the win at the recent GP de Wallonie he's showing at the very least form to be competitive, but he'll hope to show his best legs in a suiting route, where the short and explosive ascent of Mount Pleasant (1.1Km at 8%) should be decisive.
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“I did everything I could to be in order for this World Championships. I know my body well, but in the Tour we also saw that it is not an exact science. Sometimes things don't go your way and the human body is not a machine, van der Poel aknowledges. He'll be the leader of the Dutch team however, carrying serious chances of taking his first medal on the road.
"It can sometimes be difficult, but I do feel that I am good. Otherwise I would not have traveled. You never know if it's enough for Sunday. But I will go for it," he concluded.