Mathieu van der Poel is still hoping to ride in next Sunday’s UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup race in Denmark despite needing stitches in his knee in a crash that cost him victory in Sunday’s muddy Superprestige Gavere.
Van der Poel got up to finish third behind rival Wout van Aert but quickly headed to Herentals for treated by Dr. Toon Claes. His wound was carefully cleaned of any mud and dirt and then stitched. He has been told not to ride until Thursday.
"Another scar on that knee. If I fall, it's on that knee," Van der Poel said after the race, remember the problems he has suffered in his right knee after a crash at the 2015 Tour de L’Avenir and again following surgery in 2016.
He also posted a photo of his third scar on his knee on social media and commented about his unfortunate debut in his new European champion’s jersey.
“Not how I imagined my first race in this beautiful jersey. Feeling was good and I enjoyed myself in the mud but that last lap was all about bad luck. Got some stitches in my knee and no riding ‘till thursday! Thanks Toon Claes and team for your quick help #fortheloveofmud”
"I was as good as sure of the victory,” he said immediately after the race. “But then I put both my front and rear tire in a bad spot. That was a problem but not too dramatic. A little later I made a stupid mistake in a ditch and hit a rock.”
Despite his crash and stitches, Van der Poel has been selected for the Netherlands team for the World Cup race in Bogense in central Denmark. He leads the season-long series after winning three races contested in Iowa, Waterloo and Koksijde. He hopes a week is enough time for the cut on his knee to heal.
"It was important to make sure everything was cleaned properly. Dr. Toon Claes did that well and stitched the wound. I’ll have a consultation on Thursday and I hope to get green light so that I can defend my leadership in the World Cup on Sunday in Bogense," he said.