Road

Van der Poel set for Flanders debut in 2019

Classics fans will have a fresh face to watch for at Tour of Flanders and other spring races as Mathieu van der Poel is set to debut.

Mathieu van der Poel is not going to let cyclocross rival Wout van Aert hog all of the spotlight on the road. Van der Poel is expanding his road program in 2019 to include a few new marquee events, including the Tour of Flanders.

Van der Poel’s Corendon-Circus squad will move up to the Pro Continental ranks next season, allowing the team to compete in WorldTour races. According to Sporza, that will mean a busy spring of classics debuts for the Dutch ‘cross star, who enjoyed a strong road campaign in limited appearances in 2018.

Corendon-Circus announced this week that Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, and the Tour of Flanders are all on van der Poel’s calendar for 2019, among other smaller events. The 23-year-old will not race Paris-Roubaix, but will line up at Brabantse Pijl and then the Amstel Gold Race to cap off his classics campaign on home turf.

Van der Poel’s road career so far has been limited to lower-tier races, although he has found success on the pavement. He counts one-day victories at the Ronde van Limburg and Dwars door het Hageland on his palmares, alongside stage wins at the Arctic Race of Norway and a pair of GC titles at the Boucles de la Mayenne.

He is the reigning Dutch national road race champion, and rode to second at the European continental championships on the road last summer.

Corendon-Circus can count on his services through at least 2020. With that in mind, the Belgian-based team has added a few notables to its road lineup to facilitate van der Poel’s growing ambitions there. Van der Poel can look to former Tour of Flanders winner Stijn Devolder, among others, for support in the classics moving forward.