Van der Poel previews Paris-Roubaix cobbles as part of Classics camp

Mathieu van der Poel and his Alpecin-Fenix teammates gathered on Monday for a reconnaissance (opens in new tab) of some cobbled sectors of the 2020 Paris-Roubaix route.

The Alpecin-Fenix team was selected as a wildcard for Paris-Roubaix, giving Van der Poel his dream debut this season in the cobbled Monument along with current Belgian champion and teammate Tim Merlier.

Van der Poel's season had been centred on the Olympic Games cross country race until the Games were postponed, and after the Tour de France organisers rejected his team's bid to be added to the Tour roster, he refocussed his autumn on the rescheduled Spring Classics.

He and his 15 teammates will preview the route of Tour of Flanders on Tuesday and Gent-Wevelgem on Wednesday, basing themselves in Watou, close to the French border. According to Wielerflits.nl, the team is "In a full corona[virus] proof environment," says spokesman Thomas Sneyers.

Along with Van der Poel are Roy Jans, Senne Leysen, Dries De Bondt, Tim Merlier, Alexander Richardson, Oscar Riesebeek, Scott Thwaites, Otto Vergaerde, Gianni Vermeersch, Alexander Krieger, Sacha Modolo, Jonas Rickaert, Peter Vakoc, Kristian Sbaragli and Sam Gaze.

Van der Poel, who raced only the Volta ao Algarve before the coronavirus stoppage, is slated to race Strade Bianche on August 1 as his first race back, then Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, among other races.

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