Dutch cycling superstar will be out for months

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Mathieu van der Poel after a mountain bike race in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool)
Mathieu van der Poel after a mountain bike race in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool)
  • One of the world’s best riders, is struggling with injury. At a young age.
  • Despite only being 26, back issues are complicating his training.
  • And fans will hope that Mathieu van der Poel recovers all his form to continue that all-terrain battle, with Tom Pidcock.

In every generation, there are dominant riders. And in the current peloton, two of them are Tom Pidcock and Mathieu van der Poel.

Both are members of elite road racing teams and have shown enormous promise at the Tour de France. And both also happen to be excellent off-road riders. On mountain or cyclocross bikes.

Mathieu van der Poel has delivered some extraordinary performances at cycling’s European monuments – those events regarded as the most challenging and prestigious. In turn, Pidcock has shown his singletrack riding ability by winning the Olympic mountain bike title.

And in the brutal discipline of cyclocross, racing laps of muddy fields, both riders are very nearly in a class of their own.

Mathieu Van Der Poel
Tom Pidcock, running with the bike, during a cyclocross race. (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool)

Pros - who want to ride it all

In the hierarchy of professional cycling, the most lucrative contracts are awarded to road riders. But Pidcock and Van der Poel desire to be diverse in their professional cycling lives and unlike many other professional road cyclists, they challenge themselves with off-road riding

Both riders possess an array of skills and excel at cyclocross and mountain biking. And have enlivened professional cycling with their cross-discipline approach. But that has come at a cost, for one of them.

Mathieu van der Poel has announced that significant back pain is debilitating his training and racing. The Dutch rider will be taking a few months off, which will in all likelihood prevent him from participating in the European classics – where he is often favoured to win.

Mathieu Van Der Poel
Van der Poel isn't scared of off-road racing and mud. (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool)

A break that Mathieu needs

The trouble for Van der Poel is a disc issue in his back, which makes it painfully uncomfortable to be seated in a riding position. An extensive rest period is the only viable treatment, and Van der Poel is also having minor knee surgery while he is off the bike.

Some of the Dutch powerhouse rider’s problems can be traced to a dramatic crash during the Olympic mountain bike event. Van der Poel went over the bars and crashed heavily, despite being a favourite for the gold medal – which Pidcock would eventually win.

Ardent road, cyclocross and mountain bike fans will hope that Van der Poel recovers rapidly and is in shape, to take his place in the peloton later this year.

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