For David, this marks the start of what could be the final year of his professional career. "The world championship must be my last feat in cross country. I think a World Cup – in our own Hoogerheide, of all places – is a good moment to end my cyclo-cross career.”
Speaking about his return to the crosses in an interview with RIDE Magazine, van der Poel was upbeat about his chances of success as he explained his decision to ride a reduced calendar. “I choose the races that suit me more and where there is a slightly less strong starting field," he said. "I have to be smart about that. The fastest crosses with a lot of twists and turns are the most stressful for my back. I'll skip that one. As crazy as it sounds, a heavy mud cross feels even better."
Whilst it's not yet clear when and where he will ride after Essen, the likelihood of David riding in opposition to his younger brother Mathieu van der Poel is at the moment not very high. Only riders from the top 50 can automatically count on a place in the national selection and with David currently 73rd place on the UCI Ranking List, he is not automatically selected for the World Cup.