Mathieu van der Poel has told Sporza.be that he is considering making the switch from cyclo-cross to road racing in 2018. The former world champion cited the possibility of becoming bored with cyclo-cross as a reason to change disciplines in the future.
"It is indeed a lot of fun to race 'cross right now," Van der Poel said. "But I am also planning to take my chances along the way. I have a contract until the end of 2018, maybe then it will be a good age to move. 2018 is perhaps a good time to step up to the road."
Van der Poel, just 21 years old, won the elite world title in cyclo-cross last year in Tabor, Czech Republic. Before that he won two junior cyclo-cross world titles in Koksijde and Louisville.
Van der Poel was also the junior world champion in the road race at the World Championships in Florence in 2013, and would like to test out his potential for road racing during his cycling career.
"I think I will be bored in a few years of cyclo-cross," Van der Poel said. "It's always been my goal to be a world champion in the pros. I was lucky that this was immediately accomplished in my first year. That has eliminated a lot of stress."
The Dutchman comes from a family of cyclists; brother David, who currently races cyclo-cross, and father Adri, who raced both cyclo-cross and on the road during his career that spanned through the 1980s and 90s. He won Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Amstel Gold Race and Tour of Flanders, among other road events, and won the cyclo-cross world title in 1996, when he was 36 years old.
"In terms of world titles he has indeed already beat me [in age]," says Adri. "Whether he has more talent? It is a combination of talent and work.
"He's only 21 and is occasionally a bit playful, but you can't deny [his talent], I think. If possible, he should continue to do it this way. He finds cycling still to be great fun. The base is always fun, and I hope it remains that way for him for a long time."