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Mathieu van der Poel’s cyclocross preparations aren’t quite going to plan.
The world champion is 10 days away from making his season debut, but according to a report on Dutch website Wielerflits, his build-up has been interrupted by a knee injury.
The report says that van der Poel picked up the injury following a fall during a training session in a forest in Lichaart, Belgium. The 26-year-old skipped the opening days of Alpecin-Fenix’s team training camp in Calpe to avoid putting too much strain on his knee, it says, but he has since joined his teammates.
Van der Poel is still expected to keep to his already confirmed cyclocross schedule, despite missing a few days of training following the crash.
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The Dutchman has a very compact program of racing as he prepares to defend his world title in Fayetteville at the end of January. As things stand, he will get his campaign underway with the World Cup doubleheader at Rucphen and Namur, on December 18 and 19 respectively.
From there, he will contest a mixture of World Cup, Superprestige, and X20 Trophy races with just 10 races in his legs by the time he heads to the United States.
Many of van der Poel’s multi-discipline rivals have already kickstarted their campaigns with Tom Pidcock and Wout van Aert racing in Boom, with van Aert winning by almost two minutes.
Van der Poel took a longer break after finishing his road season at Paris-Roubaix in October following a busy season that was plagued with injury. He was forced to cut down his fall racing program as he recovered from a back injury that he picked up over the summer and subsequently aggravated with a heavy crash in the mountain bike event at the Olympic Games.
Van der Poel appears to have overcome the back injury and he’ll be hoping that this latest issue will not prove as troubling.