Racing across two disciplines isn’t enough for Mathieu van der Poel. The Dutch superstar has confirmed he will continue his mountain bike ambitions alongside his road and ‘cross career through to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“The uniqueness of what I do, mountain biking, cycling and cyclocross, I want to try to keep it up as long as possible,” van der Poel told WielerFlits Update Tuesday.
Before the postponement of the Olympic Games due to coronavirus, van der Poel was intent on a summer of mountain biking in advance of a run at a gold medal in Tokyo this year. Now that the Games have been postponed to July 2021, van der Poel has pushed back his Olympic ambitions 12 months and switched into road and ‘cross mode for the rest of 2020.
Despite rumors Van der Poel was planning on ditching the mountain bike after the Tokyo Games, the 25-year-old appears to have changed his mind. Both the Tokyo and Paris Olympics are now on the agenda, giving him extra opportunity to add both an Olympic medal and mountain bike world champion’s jersey to his palmarès.
“As it looks now, I will stay on a mountain bike until Paris,” van der Poel said. “That also gives me an extra three years to try to become world champion in that discipline. I really love mountain biking.”
When van der Poel’s Olympic ambitions were shuttered this year, his Alpecin-Fenix team turned their attentions to the Tour de France and Vuelta a España after he made it clear he would like to make a grand tour debut this season. While the team was unable to secure the wildcard slots it requires to start the 2020 Tour or Vuelta, van der Poel’s priority for the near future seems to remain three-week racing, while keeping a toe in the mud of mountain biking.
“The focus will go on the grand tours, and try to ride a grand tour for two to three years,” he said. “Then you can switch back to mountain biking and ride some World Cups in between, which can be combined with a grand tour.”