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Van Aert has made no secret of his hopes of finally taking the points jersey at the Tour de France and has been granted freedom by his Jumbo-Visma squad in his quest to finally take the classification.
However, Van der Poel has no intentions of going toe-to-toe with his perennial rival at the Tour de France, and will instead target stage wins.
“No, I’m not going to get involved in the battle for the green jersey,” Mathieu van der Poel told RIDE magazine in a recent interview.
“It takes away a lot of freedom, while I want to fully focus on stage wins. Maybe this is something for teammate Jasper Philipsen.”
Van der Poel is still going to the Tour de France with major ambitions as he targets stage wins, and potentially another spell in the yellow jersey to equal his emphatic debut in 2021.
The 27-year-old has already races the Giro d’Italia this season, where he won a stage and enjoyed a short spell in the maglia rosa. The Tour de France and the prospect of targeting the green jersey is an entirely different challenge, however, especially with van Aert involved.
“It is no secret that Wout has a lot of resilience. And I don’t deny that three weeks of fighting for that green jersey is a heavy mental load,” he said. “It also takes away some of the freedom. I will therefore not interfere in that battle in this Tour, but I want to fully focus on stage victories. Don’t forget that Wout already has a few big rounds in his legs. I think he can handle that combination more easily.”
Philipsen could be a potential contender for the green jersey, he finished fourth to van Aert’s fifth in last year’s standings.
“I don’t know if it will be a goal for Jasper,” he said. “But it is something he must be able to handle. He crosses the cols quickly enough to occasionally grab some extra points in the intermediate sprints in a difficult stage. But I’m definitely not going to try it this year.”