Mathieu van der Poel in the race against time for the cyclocross worlds: “There is not much time left”

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The time is not on Mathieu van der Poel’s side before his attempt to win a fifth cyclocross world title this month.

Van der Poel still suffers from a back problem which forced him to abandon his second race of the cyclococross season last week and cancel a cross-country series initially on his program.

Four weeks away from the world championships in Fayetteville, van der Poel’s physiotherapist David Bombeke gave a grim glimpse of van der Poel’s chances of defending his title on January 30.

“It’s a bit early to think about the world championships now, but of course it’s true that there’s not much time left,” Bombeke said. Het Nieuwsblad.

“If you go to the world championships you have to be good and in my opinion a month is a pretty short time to be in top shape… rest should really be the priority now no matter how long it takes. . “

Read also : MvdP on ‘cross cancellations’: ‘I will only resume competition when I am completely ready’

Van der Poel has suffered from back pain since falling in a somersault during the Olympic mountain bike race in July. He was forced to abandon his plans to start the mountain biking worlds and only raced the road five times in the fall.

A delayed start to the cyclocross season was not enough to iron out the problems. Alpecin-Fenix ​​confirmed on Wednesday that the Dutchman will withdraw from two “crossovers previously planned during this holiday period”.

Alpecin-Fenix ​​boss Christoph Roodhooft has said van der Poel will not be rushing into action again until a full year of “cross country, classics, mountain bike races and maybe a grand tour”.

“The big problem is not that he has to miss the cyclocross, but that Mathieu is not without pain,” said Roodhooft. Het Nieuwsblad in a separate interview. “Because of this nagging pain, he doesn’t have all of his abilities. In addition, Mathieu cannot train to improve. It’s terribly boring.

Roodhooft has indicated that there will be no imminent return to the pitch for MvdP as a period of training will be required before he returns to competition.

It is not only van der Poel’s participation in “cross worlds” that seems doubtful.

Wout van Aert is still not decided to make the trip to the United States to run on January 30, as he is 100% focused on the road classics, starting with the “opening weekend” at the end of February. .

Read also : Wout continues to vacillate on “crossed worlds”

The good news?

Officials believe van der Poel’s injury does not endanger his career. Bombeke and Johan Bellemans, chief medical officer of the Belgian Olympic Committee, said a significant rest period should see van der Poel just after a decade spent from one discipline to another with little recovery time.

“This is actually the result of the many attacks he has made on his body, from mountain biking and road cycling, to cyclocross and BMX in the past,” Bombeke said. “His body is now paying the price. “

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