Mathieu van der Poel will miss Saturday’s Soudalcross race in Sint-Niklaas as he tries to recover from a nasty cold in time for a packed schedule of important races between Christmas and the New Year.
The European champion has been struggling with a severe cold for a week and started a course of antibiotics on Monday. He was expected to dominate in the sand of Sint-Niklaas, but he confirmed his absence late on Friday via his Beobank-Coredon team.
“It’s a pity because I really wanted to start and so I therefore waited until today (Friday) to make a decision," van der Poel said.
"Sint-Niklaas has a very nice sand course, and I was looking forward to it but I'm still too ill right now and I don’t want to take any risks because of the busy schedule over the next 10 days."
Van der Poel will get to enjoy Christmas at home but is scheduled to race five times between December 26 and January 1.
His schedule includes the latest round of the World Cup in Heusden-Zolder on December 26, the DVV Insurance Trophy in Loenhout on December 28, the Brico Cross race in Bredene on December 29, the Superprestige in Diegem on December 30 and then GP Sven Nys in Baal on January 1.