Mathieu van der Poel completed a multi-disciplinary trifecta on Sunday, taking out the cross country World Cup in Nove Mesto to add to his cyclo-cross world title and road WorldTour victory at the Amstel Gold Race.
The 24-year-old attacked Olympic and world champion Nino Schurter on the final climb of the last lap in the elite men's cross country World Cup, dropping the Swiss rider to claim his first MTB World Cup by 19 seconds.
Van der Poel finished second to Swiss rider Mathias Flückiger in Albstadt, an accomplishment that already earned the Netherlands a spot for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in MTB, but he was elated to finally score a major victory on the mountain bike after years of effort.
"It was a battle against one of the greatest mountain bikers. So it was extra sweet to win," van der Poel said. "I had that point on the course for my attack in my mind two laps before the finish, and I just went all in.
"I'm really happy to finally get my first World Cup win. For me, it is one of my biggest achievements, one of the toughest things I can do. I've been trying for three years, so I've been dreaming of a World Cup win."
Not since compatriot Marianne Vos won world titles on the road, cyclo-cross and track has a cyclist shown such versatility, but to claim high profile wins across three disciplines in the space of less than one year is a major accomplishment.
Van der Poel's Nove Mesto win added to an already unbelievable year during which he dominated the cyclo-cross circuit, winning the World Championship, and the overall Superprestige and DVV Verzekeringen Trofee series. He then started his road season with a stage win in the Tour of Antalya, the GP de Denain and a victory in Dwars door Vlaanderen.
A fourth place in the Tour of Flanders already cemented van der Poel as a Classics star before wins in the Brabantse Pijl and a stunning victory in the Amstel Gold Race elevated him to superstar status.
Even with many calling van der Poel the greatest talent of all time, he continues to spread himself across the disciplines and, in particular, focus on MTB ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. "I will definitely continue to ride a full cyclo-cross programme for a few seasons yet, and will combine 'cross with the road and mountain biking until the Games, after which a discipline may fall away," he said after taking his cyclo-cross world title.
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