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Van der Poel eyes yellow jersey on Roubaix stage at Tour de France

Mathieu van der Poel racing Paris-Roubaix 2022
Mathieu van der Poel racing Paris-Roubaix 2022 (Image credit: Getty Images)

A favourite for the cobblestone stage 5 at the Tour de France, Mathieu van der Poel  (Alpecin–Deceuninck) says he is looking to claw back enough time in the overall classification to take the yellow jersey across the unruly pavé between Lille Métropole and Arenberg Porte du Hainaut on Wednesday.

"I hope the day after tomorrow in the Roubaix stage - a lot is possible in it," Van der Poel said in a rest-day interview with Sporza on Monday. 

"I hope to find my good legs now. Whether I have set my sights on the cobblestone stage? That is saying a lot, but it has to suit me, and I can take my chance there."

Van der Poel finished 3rd in Paris-Roubaix in 2021 and 9th in this year's edition in April. 

On stage 5, riders will negotiate 17 kilometres of pavé over 11 sectors, rated from two to four stars. Four of the last five sectors were part of Paris-Roubaix in April.

"There is still a lot possible for yellow. Everyone within a minute certainly has a chance. I try to go for rides anyway, but 20" in a Roubaix stage is not much."

Upon the conclusion of the Danish Grand Départ on Sunday, Van der Poel sat in fifth place at 20 seconds behind overall race leader Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).

Although he didn't take a victory, Van der Poel showed promising performances over the first three stages, where he finished fifth in the opening time trial, among the main field in 19th and 25th places on stage 2 and stage 3, respectively.

He insisted that the sprint stages in Denmark were better suited to his teammate Jasper Philipsen, who finished fifth in Nyborg and third in Sønderborg.

"Except for the prologue, we were in Denmark for Jasper Philipsen. That was agreed," Van der Poel said.

The Tour de France is taking a rest Monday, its first of three rest days during the three-week event. Van der Poel said that after just three days of racing, taking the time to rest slightly threw off his rhythm.

"You're out of your rhythm right away, but it's not that I'm sad about it. We'll suffer enough," he said.

Looking further ahead to stage 6's 219.9k from Binche to Longwy is suited to both himself and Philipsen.

"We still have to look at that because Jasper showed yesterday that he is in shape. We have to see how we feel on Thursday, and then we will decide."

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Kirsten Frattini

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.