Mathieu van der Poel started one of the favorites at the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. The winner of the Brabant Arrow expects a difficult race.
"These slopes are less favorable to me than those in Flanders," said the 24-year-old Dutchman just before the start against Sporza . "But maybe it is not so bad. After such a long race, the strongest riders will come in front anyway. Then it will come down to pure climbing."
Van der Poel knows the Limburg hills well. He used to go to training camp there often. "The slopes here are longer than the Flemish courses, there are also more and there are no cobbles. It will be difficult. If you have 4,000 meters, you can almost speak of a climbing course."
The Corendon-Circus rider makes his debut at the Amstel Gold Race, but previously did a World Championship with the Juniors over the Cauberg. "I wasn't good there at the time, but luckily it's a completely different game today."
Van der Poel won Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Brabantse Pijl this season. Because of these successes on the road, the cyclocross world champion notices that his popularity in the Netherlands is increasing. "You can see that the road cyclist is more international than cyclocross."
See also: Riders start in 54th edition Amstel Gold Race