No World Cup cycling last Sunday for Mathieu van der Poel, who consciously aimed his arrows at the BinckBank Tour. The Dutch champion hopes to be the best there from Tuesday to Saturday. “It is always difficult not to go to the World Cup, but now I could finish my training as I wanted.” Van der Poel also indicated that he will normally start his cyclocross season on Sunday December 13 in Antwerp.
For Van der Poel it is only his first participation in the BinckBank Tour. “Now it fits reasonably well into the planning,” he said at a press moment on Monday. “It was a matter of choosing between the Walloon classics and the Binckbank. I think it is a better preparation for the Flemish work. It is ultimately a multi-day race. ”
The Dutchman is immediately considered a top favorite. “Well, yes,” he grins when asked if he feels the same way himself. “As a team, we always aim for a stage victory in the first place. Much depends on the time trial in Vlissingen. With a good time trial I can participate for the final classification. The weather can play a role, but that time trial will be decisive. I am therefore obliged to drive a good time. ”
No evidence for Van der Poel, who has trained firmly on his time trial. “I hope that I will grow to my top form. After the Tirreno I traveled to Livigno on a training internship, where I brought my time trial bike. In the Tirreno it was the first time in a long period. That did not go so smoothly then. But now I felt good on training. I hope this translates. ”
“For me Merlier is one of the fastest sprinters in the world”
Will also play a role in the Belgian-Dutch UCI WorldTour stage race: intermediate sprints. On Friday there is even a triple bonus sprint in full situation with the Golden Kilometer. “The race situation will play a role there. I also enjoy working in the sprint train ”, said Van der Poel, who also threw flowers to our fellow countryman Tim Merlier. “For me he is one of the fastest sprinters in the world. He himself believes in it the least. “
While Van der Poel prepared for the BinckBank Tour, the rest of the peloton chugged at the World Cup in Imola. But the leader of Alpecin-Fenix has no regrets. “I think I made a good decision by not going to the World Cup. I turned the switch fairly quickly. I hadn’t come up with the best. So it was the right decision. It’s always hard not to go to the World Cup, but I was able to finish my workouts the way I wanted. I was not good enough for that myself. Now I think I am at one hundred percent. ”
De Bondt: “Hope to be able to help Mathieu in the last two stages”
At Alpecin-Fenix, Van der Poel will receive the support of our fellow countryman Dries De Bondt, who was crowned Belgian champion in Anzegem last week and will ride the tricolor for the first time in the BinckBank Tour. “I’m used to always riding anonymously in the peloton, but that won’t work anymore”, he grinned. “It gives me great pleasure that many opponents award me the title. And that they don’t consider me to be someone who stole the title from a thief during this special match. This is also what the peloton looks at. I really appreciate that. ”
De Bondt immediately lifted a corner of the veil of Alpecin-Fenix’s battle plan. “In the Binckbank I try to go as deep as possible in the last two stages. The first two days we draw Merlier’s map. If I can spare myself in that, I can go deep for the last days. Then we might have two pawns to play. ” Not that he thinks Alpecin-Fenix will be given safe conduct. “I think our team will be targeted with the Dutch and Belgian tricolor”, he referred to Van der Poel’s Dutch title. “I think we are at the start with the top favorite. I will be a bit of the lightning rod. ”
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