Human after all: Mathieu van der Poel’s invincibility ends at Amstel Gold Race

Dutch rider unable to match his form and results from the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix

Clock16:28, Sunday 14th April 2024
Mathieu van der Poel talks to the media at the finish of Amstel Gold Race

© Getty Images

Mathieu van der Poel talks to the media at the finish of Amstel Gold Race

He may have started as the pre-race favourite but Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was unable to follow the best riders at Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, finishing the race in 22nd place as Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) took his first win in over a year.

Mathieu van der Poel has been the one-day rider of the year – so far – in the men’s peloton. He won both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in ruthlessly dominant fashion, as well as taking victory in E3 Saxo Classic, second in Gent-Wevelgem and playing a vital role in his team’s win at Milan-San Remo in March.

Van der Poel was present and accounted for during several key points in Amstel Gold and closed down several early moves, but he wasn’t able to respond when the winning break formed with around 30km to go on Keutenberg, with twelve riders eventually coming together.

Read more: Amstel Gold Race: Tom Pidcock takes victory from four-man group

Van der Poel’s team were able to shut down several key rivals in both Flanders and Roubaix but the team were unable to assert that level of control in Amstel on Sunday.

“It was a difficult race. I didn't feel great, but I was okay. My plan was to cross the Keutenberg with the best riders, but they rode away in the intermediate road. That's a bit of a shame, but overall we did well,” the world champion said, according to WielerFlits.

“It was of course a difficult situation. You then have to make some choices. When I jump, the other riders immediately jump on my wheel,” the Dutch rider said when asked about the tactical situation he and his team found themselves in.

“I certainly didn't have the legs of the past few weeks, but it was fun to ride Amstel Gold Race again. This is also a different type of competition. Things may be a little more tactical here between the climbs. The organisers did a good job. The team has done a good job, but we may be short of one guy to jump with. But again, we did a good job.”

Van der Poel is almost at the end of his current block of racing with just Liège-Bastogne-Liège left on his programme before taking a rest and building up towards a new set of goals.

“I still feel like having a blast, although Tadej Pogačar will of course also participate,” he said about next Sunday’s Monument in Belgium.

“It is now important to rest well this week, and then hopefully have one more blast.”

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