Vos and Van der Poel are preparing for the upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships held in Valkenburg on February 3 and 4, and will be aiming to return the rainbow bands to the Dutch after both finished second in the 2017 event in Bieles, Luxembourg.
Van der Poel has enjoyed a superb 2017-2018 thus far, winning all but two of the World Cup rounds and already laying claim to the overall title. At the weekend, he dominated the Nommay World Cup, beating World Championship rival Wout van Aert by 33 seconds. He also sits second in the Superprestige rankings, one point behind Van Aert, after winning four of the six races so far. Van der Poel will be joined by his brother David, Lars van der Haar and Corné van Kessel in the eight-rider team.
Vos has had a more challenging season, one which was marred by illness at the turn of the New Year. The 30-year-old has completed barely a handful of races and struggled at the GP Sven Nys on January 1. Upon advice from doctors, Vos decided to miss the national championships in an attempt to recover and has headed to Mallorca for a training camp before racing at the Hoogerheide World Cup this weekend.
Lucinda Brand, Maud Kaptheijns and 2017 under-23 champion Annemarie Worst have been named alongside Vos in the women’s team, but 2016 world champion Thalita de Jong has missed out on a spot.
De Jong has been battling with a knee injury that ruled her out of the defence of her title at last year’s World Championships. She returned to racing at the GP Sven Nys and scored two wins this weekend at the Kasteelcross and the Grand Prix Mobel Alvisse. She still has a shot at the World Championship team becuase spots will open up after the under-23 women are separated out from the elite women's team for that event.
Joris Nieuwenhuis has been named to the team for Hoogerheide and hopes to defend his title at the World Championships.
National coach Gerben de Knegt says that some of his riders still have to prove their place in the team for the World Championships and he will be watching closely at the final World Cup round in Hoogerheide this weekend.
"With the last World Cup race of the season I am curious how everyone goes a week before the World Championships,” said De Knegt. “Corné van Kessel and Lars van der Haar yesterday [Sunday] in Nommay had a poor day. It is important that they reach the level where they belong for Valkenburg.
“It is a pity that I cannot compete with Thalita de Jong with her two victories this weekend. Unfortunately, this is because she is not in the top 50 of the UCI ranking, but Marianne Vos is at the start, and I am very curious to see how she recovered from her problems. In the juniors, Mees Hendrikx and Pim Ronhaar still have the chance to win the World Cup, and Mathieu van der Poel has already won it after the win in Nommay.”
The 2018 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships will take place in Valkenburg between February 3 and 4.
Dutch squad for UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup Hoogerheide
Mathieu van der Poel
Lars van der Haar
Corné van Kessel
David van der Poel
Twan van den Brand
Patrick van Leeuwen
Thijs van Amerongen
Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado
Inge van der Heijden
Maik van der Heijden
Roel van der Stegen
Koen van Dijke
Bodi del Grosso
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