Mathieu van der Poel noticed during the Tour of Great Britain that he is getting stronger every day. The Dutchman won the British cycling round in style on Saturday by winning the final stage.
"I notice that I am getting better every day," said Van der Poel after his final victory. "I am very happy to be leaving the Tour of Great Britain in this form. I went for a stage win, but it has become much more than that. It was a dream week."
The 24-year-old Van der Poel booked his third stage victory in Great Britain, after winning a stage last Tuesday and Friday. In the mass sprint he kept his countryman Cees Bol (second) and Matteo Trentin (third) behind him in the last stage.
"I thought I was only sprinting against a Sunweb rider, but then Trentin came back from the back," the leader of Corendon-Circus described the sprint. "But I think I perfectly timed my sprint and I am happy with my victory."
Van der Poel started as the classification leader on the final day and defended a 12-second lead over Trentin. Thanks to his victory, he no longer gave away the leader's jersey, but that was not easy, according to the cyclocross world champion.
"It was not an easy day," he looked back. "Many teams attacked and the last 50 to 60 kilometers were very tough. I think the boys who were shortly behind me in the general classification could also have won."
Mathieu van der Poel had quite a hard time on the final day in Great Britain. (Photo: Getty Images)
Van der Poel only believed in the overall victory after a time trial
Van der Poel held Trentin seventeen seconds behind in the final classification and Jasper De Buyst from Belgium for almost a minute. Prior to the Tour of Great Britain, the all-rounder did not expect to participate in the overall victory.
"I thought that because of the time trial it was not possible to participate in the final victory, because I had not been active on that part for a long time. After the time trial I believed in it, although today it was more difficult than I thought "
For Van der Poel, the growing level of form has been called to mind with a view to the road race at the World Cup at the end of this month in Yorkshire, where he is the leader of the Dutch team. Prior to the World Championship, he will only compete next Saturday in the Primus Classic, a Belgian one-day race.