MATHIEU VAN DER POEL
UPDATE: Mathieu won the Antwerp Port Epic on 12th September and has added three more races to his programme.
The bad news for Van der Poel fans is that he been suffering from back issues since May and has not been able to race since his nasty crash in the Olympic mountain bike race compounded them some six weeks ago. The world champion had to abandon plans to race the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships last month and also the Benelux Tour (30th August-5th September) and is running out of time to be race ready for the World Championship road race on 26th September.
The next big focus after the Worlds should be Paris-Roubaix before an expected return to cyclocross in November although his father Adrie has suggested he may skip the end of the road season to fully recover and race a full cyclocross season.
"Roubaix or the Worlds at half power, that makes no sense," Van der Poel senior told Het Nieuwsblad on August 23rd.
UPDATE STATEMENT (Monday 6.9.21): "Mathieu van der Poel has been training stable for about a week now. He will resume racing on Sunday at the Antwerp Port Epic, after which an interim evaluation will be made with regard to his schedule for the rest of the season."
In better news for Van der Poel he has extended his contract with Alpecin-Fenix until the end of 2025. He plans to continue to race in the three separate disciplines of road, cyclocross and mountain bike for now.
"Becoming world champion in three different disciplines in the coming years would be a dream come true. I will most likely continue to combine road cycling, cyclocross and mountain biking until the Paris Games in 2024," he told the press.
Antwerp Port Epic - 12th September (Winner).
Primus Classic - 18th September (8th - after a late puncture).
Gooikse Pijl - 19th September (46th @ 11s).
World Championship road race - 26th September (8th).
Paris-Roubaix - October 3rd - PROVISIONAL.
WOUT VAN AERT
Van Aert starts the third and final part of his road season at the Tour of Britain on Sunday (September 5th). After his incredible summer Van Aert is not really being considered as one of the chief favourites for the overall having not raced since the Olympics. He'll be looking for race form ahead of doubling up at the World Championships in Flanders at the end of the month. Jumbo-Visma send a strong squad to the UK so look out for them in the Team Time Trial and expect Van Aert to target several stages.
"I'm going to be smart and pick a few stages to test myself," Van Aert told Wielerflits recently.
"We wanted the longest possible break between the Olympics and the Worlds. That is why we decided on the Tour of Britain. It falls later than the Benelux Tour. At eight stages, it's not too bad as a preparation race, is it?" Van Aert added.
Asked whether his focus at the World Championships will be road race or time trial, Van Aert said: "Thanks to the preparation I'm doing, it should be feasible to perform well in both disciplines. I believe I have a chance in both as well. I have certainly not neglected my time trial training, on the contrary. But the intensity with which I now train is mainly with the focus on the road race. Explosivity is central to this and is necessary if you want to win the title in Leuven."
Like his rival Van der Poel, we might not see Wout in the field until November.
UPDATE: Van Aert won the opening stage of the Tour of Britain in an uphill sprint in Bodmin and the queen stage in a dramatic finish on Wednesday.
Tour of Britain - 5-12th September (Winner).
World Championship time trial - 19th September (2nd).
World Championship road race - 26th September (11th).
Paris-Roubaix - October 3rd.
Newly crowned Olympic mountain bike champion Tom Pidcock made his grand tour debut in the Vuelta a España which finishes on Sunday. According to The Guardian, Pidcock was at the Vuelta, "ostensibly, to watch and learn, playing a supporting role to the 2021 Giro d'Italia champion Egan Bernal and his team's co-leaders Carapaz and Yates."
Pidcock told the newspaper, "I probably won't be great in the first week and people should perhaps forget about me riding the race. I'll just roll along and take it day by day. Maybe I'll start feeling good and motivated but there's no plan."
His best day in Spain was an impressive fourth place on stage 14 while on most days we seemed to be guiding Bernal to the front of the peloton. The Yorkshireman has been suffering from tendonitis in his knee, an injury that likely needs surgery.
"We've decided to stop my season after the worlds to sort my knee out. I've a bit of tendonitis and it's been niggling me all year. I am just going to get to (road) worlds and do the best I can there, call it a season and fix my knee problem, and get it back to 100 percent," Pidcock told the press at the start of the Vuelta's final week.
This means he'll skip the three rounds of the UCI World Cup in America that he had originally planned to race but the World Championship remains a focus.
La Vuelta a España (ended 5th September).
World Championship road race - 26th September (6th).
Cyclocross from December.
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