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Mathieu van der Poel adjusts cyclo-cross plans after Dutch Championship cancellation

ANTWERPEN BELGIUM DECEMBER 13 Mathieu Van Der Poel of The Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix during the 43rd Superprestige Cyclocross Gavere 2020 Men Elite Superprestige2021 SPGavere SuperprestigeCX on December 13 2020 in Antwerpen Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Mathieu van der Poel has won three of his first four races in the 2020-21 cyclo-cross season (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) has adjusted his cyclo-cross schedule to include the event in Gullegem held on January 2. The world champion remains flexible with his schedule in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus health restrictions that have forced the cancellation of the Dutch National Championships, which were set to take place on January 10.

"Certainly nothing can be done," van der Poel said before the start of the Ethias Cross race on Tuesday, a race he went on to win.

“We will have to adjust again. A new date? It remains to be seen whether it will fit into the preparation. Normally, I only left for Spain for a camp after January, but now I could leave earlier."

Van der Poel was set to defend his Dutch title at the cyclo-cross championship on January 10 in Zaltbommel, however, according to a report in Het Nieuwsblad, the event has been cancelled due to government health restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 virus that are in place until January 19.

"Due to the current lockdown and the tightened measures against the coronavirus, it cannot take place on this date,” event organisers said. “As soon as there is more news about this, this will be communicated by the KNWU and the organization.”

The report in Het Nieuwsblad suggested that the government health restrictions had already cancelled lower-level events and did not permit fans to attend professional events, and that cyclo-cross was not recognised as one of the top sport by the Dutch Olympic Committee. In addition, Zaltbommel has been assured the national championships in 2022.

Van der Poel began his cyclo-cross season last weekend at the World Cup in Namur, where he took the victory. He also won in Essen on Tuesday and will line up at the Herentals on Wednesday, Heusden-Zolder on December 26, and the World Cup in Dendermonde on December 27. 

He will then race Bredene on December 30, the GP Sven Nys on January 1 and continue on January 2 for the additional contest in Gullegem.