Van der Poel could ride Paris-Roubaix in 2019

Dutchman says Olympic Games MTB still his main goal

Mathieu van der Poel has hinted that Paris-Roubaix could be on his calendar next year as he looks to ride a reduced spring campaign on the road in 2019.

The cyclo-cross star told Dutch programme Peptalk that the 'Hell of the North' - as well as Gent-Wevelgem - could feature on his programme, but he is taking things as they come.

"Gent-Wevelgem, maybe a few other classics, Paris-Roubaix might be in between," Van der Poel told Peptalk of his potential Classics schedule. "I do not know yet, I'm not a planner."

As well as his Classics ambitions, Van der Poel was asked about his desire to ride the Tour de France in the future. The 23-year-old admitted that the race was a target, but he is also taking that particular goal in his stride.

"I would like to ride the Tour someday," he said, "but I do not want to do everything fast because it's going well now. I want to keep it going for a while."

Van der Poel's cyclo-cross rival Wout van Aert made a splash at the Classics this year with ninth at the Tour of Flanders and 13th at Paris-Roubaix.

Van der Poel has ridden a sparing road programme over recent years, mixing it with his growing mountain bike ambitions during the cyclo-cross off-season, but has never ridden the spring Classics. This year, he won the Boucles de la Mayenne, the Ronde van Limburg, the Dutch road race title, and the Arctic Race of Norway, as well as finishing second at the European Championships.

The Dutchman can certainly translate his cyclo-cross talent to the road, but he is not sure that he'll reduce himself to one discipline any time soon and is keen to keep mixing it up.

"The variety remains the best. I would not want to compete for a whole year, riding mountain bike or riding on the road. I like to combine," said Van der Poel.

"Cyclo-cross is seen as a national sport, but the level is very high. You see that top cyclists can also compete in other disciplines, and Wout and I were second and third in the road race at the European Championships, which says enough."

It is understandable that Van der Poel is eager not to rush himself into a corner, with cyclo-cross still going to well for him. The Dutchman has already notched up nine victories since the start of the 2018-19 season, including the defence of his European title and the most recent round of the World Cup in Bern.

The cyclo-cross World Championships in Bogense, Denmark next February are his immediate target but his overarching ambition is the mountain bike event at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. He has won the Dutch cross-country title, la Rioja Bike Race, and three short course races in the MTB World Cup.

"My main goal, for the time being, is the Olympic Games on the mountain bike," Van der Poel said. "After the Games, I will be 25 and, in principle, I could ride on the road for another 10 years."

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