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Danny van Poppel departs the Tour de France

José Been
July 15, 2013, 20:26,
July 15, 2013, 21:27
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Tour de France, Rest day 2
Brothers in arms. Danny and Boy Van Poppel of Vacansoleil-DCM.

Brothers in arms. Danny and Boy Van Poppel of Vacansoleil-DCM.

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Young Vacansoleil-DCM rider happy with the first two weeks

Danny van Poppel left the Tour de France today. It is a decision that Vacansoleil-DCM took together with the medical advisor and the rider himself.

"It's been a great two weeks but it's okay to leave right now," the 19-year-old rider told Cyclingnews today.

Van Poppel is the youngest rider in the WorldTour and the youngest to start in the Tour de France since World War II. "I am used to the attention I get because I have been the youngest all year. But in the Tour de France everything is bigger. I didn't expect the media attention to be so huge. There were days I had to rush to the start because of all the interviews I did in the morning."

It was expected that Van Poppel wouldn't make it to Paris. "For a 19-year-old, this is enough. He is a rider who is still developing. You also change young football players at half time, for example. That is what we are doing here too," team doctor Nando Liem told Cyclingnews.

"He is still fine, both mentally and physically and we like to keep it that way. There are still important races to come and we want to protect him."

The Tour de France has been a great experience for the young rider. "The first stage to Bastia, where I finished third and could start in the white jersey the next day, is something I will never forget. I felt that I showed the world that I had a reason to be here."

Of course there were also difficult days like stage 9 to Bagnères de Bigorre. That stage won by Dan Martin after a furious series of attacks by the GC riders, saw many non-climbers suffer. "The pace was so high from the start but I managed to stay with the other sprinters. When I saw that and saw that they were worse off than me, I decided to continue the second week too. There were some great opportunities for me there."

In the second week, Van Poppel contested the sprint on several occasions. He finished ninth in the stage to Saint Malo but was also held back by crashes. "But all in all, I am really happy with how things went. I leave the Tour de France on a high and will travel home tomorrow with a smile."

Eneco Tour will be the next race for the young Dutchman. "I have already done some great races this year with great results and podium places too. I hope I can show some more in the Eneco Tour. It's not a big problem if I don't get that win in my first season as a professional but I would sure like it, of course."

Whether Van Poppel will be part of the same team in 2014 remains to be seen. Vacansoleil-DCM hasn't succeeded in finding a new sponsor yet. "I would like to stay with this team because we are friends," Van Poppel said.

"So I'll wait untill we know for sure what will happen in the future. Since this Tour de France there has been some interest in me and therefore I am not worried about my own future but I'd like that future to be with Vacansoleil-DCM."

RiccoDinko More than 1 year ago
Weak sauce, finish the race.
Long Rider More than 1 year ago
So, do you think you could finish it????
rickpaulos More than 1 year ago
Not tired, not sick, not injured? You may never have another chance to finish the tdf. With such dominant sprinters (Cav, Sagan, Greiple, Kittel) in the other teams are already leaving the sprinters at home. Unless the tdf goes for less climbing in future years, I expect that trend to grow.
indurain666 More than 1 year ago
What are you guys talking about? This guy is only 19, he should be racing U/23 160-180 km races not 240 km for two weeks and risk jeopardizing his development or getting an injury. His coach shoud have taken the guy out after the tt or Pyrenees.
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
At all of 19 I suspect it is best for him to withdraw. He has a lot of good years ahead of him hopefully. I would be disgusted if a coach and team burned him out, used him up by doing too much too soon and then discard him when they are done.
Fangtastic More than 1 year ago
I suspect they would have got what they wanted for him after day 2 really, wore a jersey, finished 3rd in a stage and dealt with the pressure well. All of that will boost his confidence and the experience will do him wonders.
Lord.Bachus More than 1 year ago
A very wise decision by the team, actually they where only planning to take him for the first week, just to get him accustomed to the high level of racing in tdf sprints, which are obviously a different ballgame. Taking the full run might actually set back his career at that age, he is the youngest rider participating since WW2.