Mathieu Van Der Poel is expected to continue skipping major mountain bike races until after the Road World Championships taking place in Glasgow on August 6.
After announcing a Mountain Bike sabbatical last May
Mathieu Van Der Poel has skipped racing XC World Cups to instead focus on his road racing career. Last year Mathieu was reported saying: "In 2023 it is the intention to get back into the mountain bike routine. Then I want to work towards the Olympic Games in Paris."
Despite planning to skip the opening 2023 World Cup rounds and seemingly the XC World Championships, Cycling News
reports that Mathieu's team Alpecin-Deceuninck said that his race calendar in September and October could switch to having a focus on XC racing.
If Mathieu wants to achieve his goal of securing an Olympic gold medal in mountain biking, then he relies on the Netherlands to secure entry to the event. The Netherlands have until May 2024 to qualify for the Olympic mountain biking and is currently ranked 31st.
Mathieu Van Der Poel is not guaranteed an entry even if they make qualification as he will have to be selected against other riders from the country including Milan Vader. If the Netherlands can be ranked eighth or above, an aditional two riders (one male and one female) can be selected for the Olympics. Unlike Mathieu, Milan Vader is planning on racing the opening rounds of the 2023 World Cups. Given Milan's top results in the past this will could definitely help the Netherlands' chance of qualification but if only one rider can be selected then skipping half the season could mean Mathieu misses out on another chance at Olympic gold.
Based on the current suggested plan to begin XC racing after World Champs then we may see Mathieu take part in the XC World Cup rounds at Andorra, Les Portes du Soleil, Snowshoe and Mont-Sainte Anne.