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VN news ticker: Dutch announce all-star Olympic team for women; Wout van Aert recovering from appendectomy

Here's what's making headlines on Tuesday, May 11.

Van Vleuten, Vos, van der Breggen, and Vollering headline Dutch Olympic road team

Call it team Flying V.

On Tuesday the Royal Dutch Cycling Union announced the women’s team for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, and the lineup packs a punch. Current Olympic champion and double world champion Anna van der Breggen headlines the team alongside top climber Annemiek van Vleuten, 10-time world champion Marianne Vos, and Demi Vollering, the recently crowned champion of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

According to Dutch site Wielerflits.nl, Dutch coach Loes Gunnewijk said that choosing the squad from the collection of top Dutch riders posed a major challenge, and ultimately the team was chosen based on the hilly course in Tokyo.

“Ultimately, a team was chosen that is prepared for all scenarios. A very tough course with 2,800 vertical meters and high humidity awaits the riders. We are one of the favorites, but we are used to that and the riders can also handle that very well,” Gunnewijk said.

All four will compete in the road race, with van Vleuten and van der Breggen also competing in the individual time trial.

The decision leaves multiple top Dutch riders off the squad, including time trial ace Ellen van Dijk, former road world champion Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, and current cyclocross world champion Lucinda Brand, among others.

Wout van Aert might miss Critérium du Dauphiné

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) might miss a key race ahead of the Tour de France as he recovers from an appendectomy. The Belgian star recently went under the knife after coming down with appendicitis.

The Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws reported that van Aert was en route to an altitude camp in Spain when he began suffering intense pain. Doctors later discovered appendicitis, and van Aert opted to undergo surgery. Doctors are ordering a two-to-three-week recovery period.

If he cannot start the Critérium du Dauphiné as expected, it’s likely he would race the Tour de Suisse, team officials said. His Tour start does not appear to be in danger if the recovery goes as expected.

Mathieu van der Poel confirms he will target mountain biking in next Olympics

Mathieu van der Poel confirmed his mountain bike ambitions will extend beyond the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Speaking to media on Tuesday, the Dutch outlined his schedule between here and Tokyo. He will race in the next World Cup mountain bike round in a quest for points to assure the best start position possible in Tokyo. After a short break, he will hit altitude and likely race the Tour de Suisse before the Tour de France.

“As I have said before, I would have preferred to have done the Olympics last year, and the Tour this year, but it is out of my hands,” van der Poel. “I have to make the best of the situation … Skipping the Tour is not an option, but it’s pretty cool to be part of the team’s first Tour. We’ll see how it turns out.”

Looking beyond 2021, van der Poel said mountain biking will remain part of his repertoire of skills going into the next Olympic cycle.

“As I see it now, I will keep racing on the road and mountain biking until the next Olympics,” he said. “We have not decided yet if I will complete the entire Tour before going to the Olympics. I believe I can get some good form at the Tour.”

Marc Madiot: ‘One in million chance’ Thibaut Pinot will race Tour de France

Groupama-FDJ manager Marc Madiot doesn’t expect to see his star rider in the 2021 Tour de France. Speaking on French TV, Madiot said it’s unlikely Thibaut Pinot will be in condition to race the Tour, which starts in late June.

“There is a one in a million chance he will be at the start of the Tour,” Madiot told Eurosport. “The most important thing is that he fully recovers. We are not going to put pressure on his head, that would be a mistake.”

Pinot continues to struggle with back pain that began with his abrupt exit from the 2019 Tour. A crash in the opening day of the 2020 Tour only further complicated his situation, and he recently called off a planned start to the 2021 Giro d’Italia. Madiot said there is not a fixed return date for Pinot.

David Gaudu, Arnaud Démare and Stefan Küng will lead for the Tour.