Mathieu Van Der Poel has withdrawn from the Tour de France to begin his Olympic preparation after spending six days in the leader’s Yellow Jersey.
Van Der Poel took the lead of the biggest race in cycling on the second day
and held it through the next week or racing. The Dutchman was expected to lose the lead in the time trial on Stage 5
but produced a huge performance to finish fifth on the day and retain the lead.
Van Der Poel relinquished the jersey yesterday in the first mountain stage where his relative bulk put him at a distinct disadvantage. The jersey is now being worn by Tadej Pogacar who put more than three minutes into his General Classification rivals
on the Col de la Colombiere in the Alps.
Van Der Poel said in an interview this morning, “It has been an amazing week for me and the team, we’ve won two stages and we’ve had Yellow for six days. It was my first Grand Tour and I think we can be really proud of that.
“Unfortunately I will not start today, we decided with the team that it’s in my best interest to quit the race and focus on the Olympics now.
“Due to Corona it was impossible for me to do the whole Tour and then be at my top game at Tokyo. I guess I had one week and I had an amazing week so I’ll be back next year to go to Paris.”
Van Der Poel will now rest up and begin his Tokyo preparation. He will race the Olympic final on July 26 where he will be lining up against Tom Pidcock, Mathias Flueckiger, Nino Schurter and more in the hunt for the gold medal.