World Champion Van der Poel undergoes surgery

20-year-old cyclo-cross champion unlikely to return to racing until November

Reigning cyclo-cross world champion, Mathieu van der Poel has been forced to undergo surgery on his injured knee. Van der Poel injured his knee in a crash in August at the Tour de l’Avenir and had already been ruled out of the opening round of the Superprestige competition this weekend as it continued to trouble him.

It looked like van der Poel was in the clear and he was able to get back to training but the pain soon returned and he had surgery on his knee in Herentals, Belgium on Friday. “Today he didn’t even make it to the end of the street,” BKCP directeur sportif Christoph Roodhooft said in a statement on the team's website. “A month after his fall at the Tour de l’Avenir he continues to muddle through, it makes no sense and has been frustrating for all parties.

“After consultation, it was decided to go under the knife for the post-traumatic injury to his left knee. During the procedure, under local anaesthetic, the upper two of three fasciae over the patellar tendon were removed. They appeared cracked and loose and were the cause of the inflammation. Mathieu remains under observation at the hospital tonight, but may return home tomorrow.”

Van der Poel remained in hospital for observation overnight and is expected to leave on Saturday. The 20-year-old - who beat Wout Van Aert to the win the world title earlier this year and won the overall classification in the Superprestige – hasn’t taken part in a single race in the 2015-16 cyclo-cross season.

As well as missing the opening Superprestige, he’s also missed the first round of the World Cup in Las Vegas and looks set to be absent in round two in Valkenburg on October 18. The second race in the Superprestige series on October 27 could also pass him by; dealing any title hopes a serious blow. It will be sometime before he can get back on his bike following the surgery and it won’t be until at least November that we will see him racing again.

“It is almost certain that he will not participate in a single race in October,” said Roodhooft.

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