Following the cancellation of most of the race season and the postponement of the Olympic Games, Mathieu Van Der Poel has announced he will be racing mountain bikes until the 2024 Games in Paris.
Van Der Poel was one of the favourites for the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo as he proved he was capable of beating Nino Schurter with 3 World Cup wins last season. He enjoyed another strong cyclocross season and was tipped by the bookies to win the Paris Roubaix as well but now his season has been put on hold he has reassessed his plan for the future.
Van Der Poel had previously said that the Tokyo Olympics race would be his last in mountain biking and at that point he would change his focus to becoming a Grand Tour rider on the road. However, speaking to wielerflits.nl
he has now confirmed he will have another 4 years off-road alongside his road and cyclocross racing. He said, “I want to continue to combine the three disciplines. As it looks now, I’ll stay on the mountain bike until Paris. That also gives me three more years to try and become World Champion in that discipline. I really love mountain biking."
Van der Poel still has Grand Tour ambitions but with his Alpecin Fenix team denied a wild card space at the Vuelta a Espana in August he will likely focus on the truncated mountain bike season at the end of this year before the cyclocross season restarts.
Even if Van Der Poel does take some time to ride Grand Tours in the future, it seems like he will not be turning his back on mountain biking entirely. He added: "Normally, the focus would have moved very quickly to the Grand Tours, to try to ride a Grand Tour in the next two to three years. Then I can switch back to mountain biking and ride some more World Cups in between, which can be combined with a Grand Tour. That way I can stay at the top of the ranking.”