Mathieu Van Der Poel has confirmed on Twitter that he crashed in the Olympics final because he believed the Sakura rock drop could be rolled.
In training a wooden ramp was leaned up against the rock, which allowed riders to roll it, but it had been removed for the finals. Van der Poel was in the leading group on Lap 1 but went over the bars after attempting to roll the feature that now had to be dropped. He got back on his bike after a minute of gathering himself but withdrew from the race in pain on Lap 5.
Van der Poel's race day crash.
The rock drop in training with the ramp in place.
The ramp was also used in training then later removed at the Test Event in 2019 but Van der Poel was not at that event. Instead, he was relying on his Dutch team mate Milan Vader who told Wielerflits
, "It may be hard to say, but we've talked about this before. He asked me why everyone jumped off the rocks, when you can also roll off them. I then told him that they would remove those planks. After all, they also did that at the Test Event"
However, Van der Poel has said on Twitter
that he didn't know they would remove the plank. He replied to a Dutch journalist saying, "I was not aware, that plank was there during the recon. I only heard they removed it during the test event," and later posted on his Instagram
, "People close to me know how hard I worked for this and how bad I wanted it. I could ride the track with . my eyes closed but I didn't know they would remove this ramp on raceday."
Van der Poel has gone to the hospital for x-rays on his injured hip.