Mathieu van der Poel made a long-awaited return to mountain bike at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games test event on Sunday. Finishing down in 28th though, the Dutchman is aware he'll need to do more ahead of next summer.
“I had fun, but it became clear to me that I haven't done any intervals lately,” van der Poel told Algemeen Dagblad in a post-race interview. Despite not being at the level required to challenge for victory, that honour going to Victor Koretzky, the 28-year-old does feel like he's learned a lot about the course where Olympic gold will be decided.
Pidcock & Van der Poel unable to threaten victory as Victor Koretzky wins Olympic MTB Test Event in Paris
“I didn't start super fast because I didn't want to blow myself up," he recaps. "After a catch-up race I had to switch back a few notches. My condition is no longer that good after a long season and you can't hide that on the mountain bike.”
"I saw the course. I also know that next year I will really have to compete on the mountain bike for a better starting position. Otherwise I won't win next year," concludes van der Poel. "I wanted to ride two of them after the spring anyway. But a few more will need to be added. We will be puzzling over the coming weeks.”