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Mathieu van der Poel will miss the mountain bike worlds.
The Alpecin-Fenix rider is still suffering from a back injury he picked up when he crashed out of the Olympic Games mountain bike event late last month.
Van der Poel and his team are still hopeful that he will be able to ride much of his busy autumn schedule, but he has decided to pull the plug on a bid for the rainbow stripes next weekend. The mountain bike worlds are due to begin on August 25, in Val di Sole, Trentino, Italy.
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“Mathieu van der Poel has been dealing with back pain in the past weeks. While the situation is improving, the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Val di Sole come too soon for the world cyclo-cross champion,” the Alpecin-Fenix team wrote in a brief statement.
“It is now his intention to prepare for the goals in the next part of the season — including Paris-Roubaix — via the upcoming Benelux Tour, where he is defending champion.”
Van der Poel scheduled his 2021 season around trying to win gold in the mountain bike event at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
It appeared to be going very well for the Dutchman with his stage win and a stint in yellow at the Tour de France. However, his dreams ended early in Tokyo when he misjudged a rock jump on the first lap and landed on his back.
While he was able to continue initially, he eventually abandoned the race.
Van der Poel has not raced since the crash at the Olympics and had to pull the plug on a training camp due to back pain this month.
A report in Het Laatste Nieuws last week said he had been given a pain-killing injection and had his bike fit altered in an attempt to alleviate his problems.
Cutting the mountain bike worlds from his program won’t give van der Poel much extra time to recover, with the Benelux Tour scheduled to start on August 30, but it will cut the number of travel days for him over the next week.
In addition to the Benelux Tour, van der Poel’s upcoming program includes a bid for the road worlds at the end of September and the rescheduled Paris-Roubaix in October.