Van der Poel courted by major teams but says 'they will have to wait'

After winning Dwars door Vlaanderen and Brabantse Pijl and impressing in his first Tour of Flanders, Mathieu van der Poel is understandably getting a lot of interest from the sport's top teams. But the Dutch champion says those teams will have to wait since he is under contract with Corendon-Circus through 2023.

"There are indeed a few teams that have contacted me," Van der Poel admitted to on Thursday. "A few big teams, although I won't mention names."

Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere appears to have expressed interest in both Van der Poel and his cyclo-cross rival Wout Van Aert.

"Patrick knows our dad a little, too. So it makes sense that there has been contact," Van der Poel said of his father Adri. "But I have let all the teams know that they have to wait for the time being. I am still under contract until 2023."

After a strong first attempt at the Classics, Van der Poel has elevated his status to favourite for the upcoming Amstel Gold Race, but he shrugged off the idea he is a top contender for victory on home soil.

"A favorite for Sunday? I can agree with that. But top favorite has perhaps been said a lot. There are still riders who have proven more in those kind of races than me."

Van der Poel, who will close out his Classics campaign at the Amstel Gold Race, looked back at his impressive run. Following a cyclo-cross campaign where he was practically unbeatable and claimed his second world title, he went on to perform on the road in impressive style.

"I had hoped to to be there in all Classics, but to always end up so close is beyond my expectations," he said.

"I was most surprised in the Tour of Flanders - that I could still return after my fall and ride the final on the Paterberg and Kwaremont. Also, because that race is so long. Shorter races I was not afraid of in advance, but I had never done those longer courses, and I enjoyed it."

As for Sunday at Amstel, the Dutchman named a few riders he is sure to be watching, including the man he out-sprinted on Wednesday to win the Brabantse Pijl.

"Alaphilippe in particular impressed me," he said. "I think he is currently the best rider in the peloton. It's nice that you can ride against someone like that.

"Van Avermaet is also good on such a course. The weather is good on Sunday and then Greg is always good. [Philippe] Gilbert has made an impression again in Paris-Roubaix. Add to that the climbers of Astana and Movistar, and you know there are a lot of contenders.

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