Van der Poel confirmed his huge talent on the road this spring, finishing fourth at the Tour of Flanders and winning the Amstel Gold Race. He continues to race across different disciplines, recently winning the Nove Mesto Mountain Bike World Cup race, with the goal of targeting Olympic Gold in Tokyo in 2020.
However, his range of talents makes for difficult decisions.
The 24-year-old Dutchman will ride the European Mountain Bike Championships in Brno and then two World Cup events in Val di Sole and Lenzerheide. Road racing will take the lead in September, with Van der Poel opting to miss the Mountain Bike Worlds in Mont-Saint-Anne, Canada and instead ride the Tour of Britain (Sept 8-15). He will return to mountain biking to ride the Tokyo test event in early October before the start of his cyclo-cross season. However, his September schedule means he will not ride the early-season cyclo-cross races in the USA.
"I think it’s very unfortunate that I have to ignore the Mountain Bike World Championships but choices have to be made," Van der Poel said when the Netherlands Cycling Federation confirmed his presence.
I cannot deny that the course in Yorkshire should suit me, that is why I am resolutely opting for the World Championships on the road this year. I absolutely want to be present at the test event in Tokyo, the 2020 Olympic Games are still the big goal, so combining the three is not feasible."
Van der Poel has to carefully balance his racing programme but the Netherlands Cycling Federation was keen to have him in their road race squad. They have given him dispensation from the obligation to ride the national championships at the end of June.
"I am happy that we can include Mathieu in the Dutch selection for Yorkshire. I am convinced that we are leaving with a strong team and with Van der Poel there the strength of the Dutch team is only increasing," Netherlands national coach Koos Moerenhout said.
Van der Poel is currently enjoying a break from racing but will return for the Les Gets round of the Mountain Bike World Cup in mid-July and will include the Arctic Race of Norway (Aug 15-18) in his combined road and mountain bike race programme.