"Those guys have simply received more from Mother Nature" - Maxim van Gils admits slight jealousy of Tadej Pogacar and Mathieu van der Poel

One of the breakthrough stars of the 2024 Spring Classics campaign, Maxim van Gils impressed with podiums at La Fleche Wallone and Strade Bianche, plus 4th at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and victory at Eschborn-Frankfurt.

After having competed against the likes of Tadej Pogacar and Mathieu van der Poel at the business end of some of the sport's biggest one day races however and joining UAE Team Emirates leader Pogacar on the final podium of Strade Bianche, the Lotto Dstny rider admits that he has a slight jealousy over the vast natural talents gifted to the two cycling superstars and Pogacar in particular.

"There is always someone who is better than the rest. Those guys have simply received more from Mother Nature," the 24-year-old Belgian says in conversation with Bahamontes. "My nutritionist told me that Pogacar has a unique musculature and that his muscles naturally produce less lactate. That also explains why it all looks so easy for him. Even more so than for Mathieu."

"On the podium after Strade Bianche, I told Tadej how exhausted I was. To which he casually said that he didn't even feel that tired - after that 80 kilometre solo! I thought: act normal... I then had three days laying in bed to recover,” van Gils recounts hilariously. "How would all those other sprinters have felt when they had to compete against Usain Bolt? Before the race, everyone resolves to follow Tadej for as long as possible. And I really think I could have followed him on his attack in Strade, but he surprised me by starting so early. I was too far. On the way to Siena he would undoubtedly have passed me, but then I would probably have been second instead of third."

With a second Tour de France appearance of his career expected later this month, van Gils won't have long to wait for another first hand view of the brilliance of Pogacar and van der Poel.

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