Mathieu van der Poel continues back injury rehabilitation while riding in Spain

WALLERS FRANCE OCTOBER 01 Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix passing through cobblestones sector during the 118th ParisRoubaix 2021 Training Day 2 ParisRoubaix on October 01 2021 in Wallers France Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel is continuing rehabilitation and recovery to overcome a back injury while riding his bike outdoors in Spain. 

Van der Poel has only recently begun riding both indoor and outdoor earlier this week, before traveling to ride in warmer temperatures in Denia on Wednesday. 

Alpecin-Fenix have cautioned that he has not resumed training but rather he is testing his back while riding outside to see if it is pain-free.  

“Mathieu is just cycling around as part of his rehabilitation. For a professional cyclist, such short trips fall under the heading of cycling around. It is not a resumption of training," said team manager Christoph Roodhooft.

Van der Poel has been trying to overcome a back injury that troubled him in the second half of last year and he was forced to cancel his cyclo-cross campaign this winter. 

The injury is reportedly due to switching between his road bike and mountain bike as he targeted a road campaign with his preparation for last summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games. Although he crashed in the men's cross-country event, it was not believed to have worsened his back pain.

In December, he was diagnosed with swelling on an intervertebral disc and told that only complete rest would give it a chance to heal fully.

It has been reported in Het Nieuwsblad that Van der Poel is expected to begin training on Monday, if his back is pain-free. According to the report, a race programme will not be confirmed until Van der Poel can complete pain-free training blocks.

Although his is riding again, he is not likely to start racing at the 'Opening Weekend' which begins with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium on February 26 or at Strade Bianche, a race he won last year, on March 5 in Italy.

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Kirsten Frattini
Deputy Editor

Kirsten Frattini is the Deputy Editor of Cyclingnews, overseeing the global racing content plan.

Kirsten has a background in Kinesiology and Health Science. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's biggest races, reporting on the WorldTour, Spring Classics, Tours de France, World Championships and Olympic Games.

She began her sports journalism career with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. In 2018, Kirsten became Women's Editor – overseeing the content strategy, race coverage and growth of women's professional cycling – before becoming Deputy Editor in 2023.