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Mathieu van der Poel continues comeback in Italy after Milan-San Remo podium

Alpecin-Fenix confirms Dutch star will race Coppi e Bartali in latest sign that Mathieu van der Poel is on track to race Tour of Flanders.

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Mathieu van der Poel continues his comeback this week at the Italian stage race Coppi e Bartali.

Alpecin-Fenix confirmed its roster for the five-day stage race running Tuesday through Saturday with van der Poel’s name front and center.

The Dutch star is hot off finishing third in Saturday’s Milan-San Remo, his first road race since finishing third in Paris-Roubaix in October. Van der Poel was sidelined since December with a back injury, but was a surprise call-up for the Italian monument.

Also read: Van der Poel shines in San Remo return

The 27-year-old performed well, and marked all the piercing accelerations up the Poggio before helping to lead the chase of eventual winner Matej Mohorič onto the Via Roma.

Van der Poel said he made it through Milan-San Remo without any significant back discomfort or pain, a good sign ahead of the important block of northern classics.

His appearance at Coppi e Bartali in Italy means he will miss Minerva Classic Brugge-De Panne on Wednesday and E3 Saxo Bank Classic on Friday.

Also read: Late call-up opens 2022 for van der Poel

Van der Poel could jump on a flight Saturday and land in Belgium in time to race Gent-Wevelgem on March 27, but it’s more likely he will race Dwars door Vlaanderen on March 30, a race he won in 2019, and Tour of Flanders on April 3.

Though officials have not confirmed any additional dates for van der Poel, if he gets through the next block of racing, starts at Amstel Gold and Paris-Roubaix are likely in the cards. There’s talk of van der Poel racing both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France later this summer.