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Mathieu van der Poel returns to racing after Tour de France abandon

Dutch star races in Belgium on Wednesday as he rebuilds for Wollongong road worlds.

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Mathieu van der Poel is back in the saddle after he abandoned the Tour de France in the second week.

The Dutchman is set to start the Druivenkoers-Overijse on Wednesday in what will be his first high-profile outing since he left France due to fatigue and poor form last month.

Van der Poel abandoned midway through stage 11 of the Tour after looking legless through the race’s second week.

“I think that something went wrong with the altitude training camp after the Giro and before the Tour,” Van der Poel told NOS.

“I didn’t feel like I came out of the Giro completely empty, on the contrary. Maybe my body was still recovering and it didn’t recover enough at altitude.

“If you do [altitude] after a grand tour, you may need more recovery than you think, your body may come out of the altitude training more wrung out than better. Not one hundred percent sure, but I have the feeling that it is because of that, yes.”

Also read: Alpecin-Deceuninck scratch heads over Van der Poel abandon

Van der Poel laid low after the Tour. A handful of low-key local criteriums have been his only racing kilometers since mid-July.

After several weeks pedaling through Spain’s Costa Blanca, the 27-year-old is now slated to get the race legs moving again. A series of Belgian one-dayers in the coming month will see Van der Poel revving the engine full in anticipation of road worlds.

The long lumpy course and flat finish on tap at the Wollongong worlds road race make for prime Van der Poel territory.

“The worlds are something I’m going to make a goal of. I also hope to show something for that, but that I am the best version of myself in Australia again,” Van der Poel said last month.

Jasper Philipsen joins Van der Poel at the top of the Alpecin-Deceuninck teamsheet for Druivenkoers-Overijse on Wednesday.