Mathieu van der Poel adds two races to Tour de France preparation

Mathieu van der Poel celebrates his victory in Paris-Roubaix
Mathieu van der Poel celebrates his victory in Paris-Roubaix (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) has added two races to his Tour de France preparation in June, with his team confirming his participation in the UCI ProSeries races Dwars door het Hageland on June 10 and the Baloise Belgium Tour from June 14-18 replacing a previously suggested return to the Tour de Suisse.

Van der Poel took a well-deserved break from racing after an enormously successful Spring Classics campaign that included victories in Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix in addition to podium finishes in the Tour of Flanders and E3 Saxo Classic.

He launched into the Spring Classics with only four weeks between Strade Bianche and his victory in February's UCI Cyclocross World Championships, which capped off a successful 'cross season where he scored seven wins.

Van der Poel opted to forego the UCI MTB World Cup races this month to complete altitude training camps instead and is now looking forward to resuming racing on June 10th in his home country.

"The next three weeks we will be preparing in La Plagne for the Tour de France. It's good anyway to put in some races to get some race rhythm afterwards," Van der Poel said. "I'm delighted that I can do that again in my own country.

"Both Dwars door het Hageland and the Baloise Belgium Tour are races that appeal to me. With my cyclocross background, I should be able to play a significant role in Dwars door het Hageland. In the Baloise Belgium Tour, I will find a few guys from our Tour selection, including Jasper Philipsen. We'll see what we can do for each other."

His pre-Tour de France schedule ends with the Dutch Road National Championships before he and the rest of the Tour de France team travel to Bilbao for Le Grand Départ.

After a successful Tour de France debut in 2021, where he won the second stage and wore the maillot jaune of race leader for six stages before leaving the race to head to Tokyo for the Olympic Games mountain bike races, Van der Poel raced both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in 2022.

He completed the Giro, his first Grand Tour finish, with one stage win and three days in the maglia rosa. His Tour de France hardly went to plan, and he abandoned on stage 11.

"I think that something went wrong with the altitude training camp after the Giro and before the Tour," Van der Poel told NOS after last year's Tour de France abandon.

"I didn't feel like I came out of the Giro completely empty, on the contrary. Maybe my body was still recovering, and it didn't recover enough at altitude.

"If you do [an altitude camp] after a Grand Tour, you may need more recovery than you think, your body may come out of the altitude training more wrung out than better. Not 100% sure, but I have the feeling that it is because of that."

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Laura Weislo