Sunday's race marks the first day of competition for the 24-year-old since the Famenne Ardenne Classic on October 6, his final event of the road season.
As well as Ruddervoorde, Van der Poel will race both UCI World Cup races in November – at Tabor and Koksijde – and the opening two rounds of the DVV Trofee – at Hamme and Kortrijk. Next week's European Championships in Silvelle, Italy is also on the menu, as are two other races.
"After the Famenne Ardenne Classic I put the bike completely to the side for a week," Van der Poel said in a team press release. "Since mid-October I have resumed training again, of course with a view to the cyclo-cross season but I've barely done any specific 'cross training so far. I think I've been on my 'cross bike four times.
Van der Poel's words echo what he said to Belgian radio programme De Tribune on Tuesday. The Dutchman stated that he needed some rest, and he preferred to return when his form was at an acceptable level, rather than starting the cyclo-cross season off badly.
Having originally planned to make his season bow at Friday's Koppenbergcross, but called it a "heavy opener" and instead instead opted for the sand of Ruddervoorde, where he's intending to compete for victory right away.
"Yes, I want to win right away," he said. "I think that, in cyclo-cross, I can't compete with anything other than the intention to win races. I will need competitions to get back to my top level.
"I have, of course, followed the past few weeks, and two things struck me. Of course, Eli Iserbyt has taken a huge step forward and is consequently the man of the moment. But Tom Pidock has also left a firm impression in the last races.
"I believe that Sunday can be a duel with Eli. Pidcock could also last a long time, I think. But moreover, they are two riders who always assume their own strength, and therefore don't shy away from making the race tough. In that respect, their styles are like mine. Honestly, I'm looking forward to it."
Mathieu van der Poel's November cyclo-cross programme
Sunday, November 3: Telenet Superprestige, Ruddervoorde
Sunday, November 10: UEC European Championships, Silvelle
Monday, November 11: Rectavit Jaarmarktcross, Niel
Saturday, November 16: UCI World Cup, Tabor
Sunday, November 17: DVV Trofee, Flandriencross, Hamme
Saturday, November 23: Ambiancecross, Wachtebeke
Sunday, November 24: UCI World Cup, Koksijde
Saturday, November 30: DVV Trofee, Kortrijk
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