Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) has told the Dutch press that he will likely make his debut at the Tour de France in 2021. The 24-year-old said he will forgo competing in the French Grand Tour next year to instead focus on the Tokyo Olympic Game, where he will compete in mountain biking.
"Next year I will not ride the Tour anyway because I want to participate in the Games and the two events do not coincide well on the calendar," Van der Poel said.
"Maybe participating in the Vuelta a España is going to be an option, but I'm not working on that yet. It could certainly be that I will appear at the start of the Tour in 2021, but nothing has been decided on that either."
Van der Poel won the Gerrit Schulte Trophy for best male Dutch pro cyclist of the year at the NUSport Awards on Wednesday for his outstanding season in 2019. He won the Dutch, European and world titles in cyclo-cross, three World Cups on the mountain bike, and a string of races, including Amstel Gold, on the road. He took over the prestigious Gerrit Schulte trophy from Tom Dumoulin, who had won it during the last five consecutive years.
Belgium's Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) made his debut at the Tour de France this year, where he won stage 10 in Albi. He was forced to abandon the race after a horrific crash during the stage 13 time trial in Pau.
Van der Poel said he drew inspiration from Van Aert's success at the French Grand Tour this year, and believes himself to be capable of similar results.
"Although I was certainly not watching with jealousy, it is very beautiful what he has shown," Van der Poel said. "Wout and I pull ourselves together and we reach a high level. His performance in the Tour is an indication of what I could do in that race. It makes me dream a bit. Like this: if Wout could win that sprint, I would normally have been there... "
After taking a break following the road season, Van der Poel returned to cyclo-cross racing, where he won the European Championships, World Cup in Tabor, Superprestige Ruddervoorde and Niel Jaarmarkt Cyclo-cross.
His season continues this weekend with the Ambiancecross (November 23) and the UCI World Cup at Koksijde (November 24), followed by the DVV Trofee Kortrijk (November 30) with a focus on the World Championships in February.