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The mischievous child runs away from traditional training methods, prefers to exercise on the beach rather than following high concentrations, relaxes with the Fortnite and ignores the advice of his father and grandfather, outstanding cyclists. The Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (Kapellen, 1995) is a great hooligan who dazzles Alberto Contador : «His is a bestiality. It's like Messi , by itself he makes you stand in front of the television to see what surprises you ». The grandson of Raymond Poulidor captures praise and leads the betting ranking to ascend today to the top of the Harrogate podium, where the World Road in Yorkshire concludes.

The power and boldness of the kid impress Alejandro Valverde , who today faces his defense of Innsbruck's gold, and scares adversaries eager to eliminate him before the last leg of the event, because they know that in a short and rising sprint it is very complicated beat him, as he has certified this season. The Dutchman endorsed in the Amstel Gold Race , in the Brabanzone Arrow and in Flanders. In September it has swept the Tour of Britain, with three stages and the general.

«Van der Poel is very good, but the journey is very long and complicated. Let's see if it endures a race of great wear. It will not be necessary to attack, the race itself, with the rain, the wind and the narrow roads, will put each one in his place », warns Valverde, who favors the descent of the curtain on a 500-meter ramp. “It is not a goal for pure sprinters , it is for strong and experienced people. It will be difficult for kids, like Remco Evenepoel , to resist, but everything can happen, ”says the champion.

"I am one of the favorites"

Among the aspirants to dethrone the Murcia, in addition to the pipiolo Van der Poel, are the Slovak Sagan , the French Alaphillippe , the Italian Trentin , the Belgian Gilbert or the Australian Matthews . “It will be a very open World Cup, with many selections with options. No one can control from the beginning. In the head there will be constant changes », adventure Pascual Momparler , the Spanish debutant coach.

Van der Poel naturally assumes its role. "I am a favorite and I feel calm, because I have prepared well to try to win the World Cup," he says at the Harrogate hotel, a few meters from the podium of the race. He believes that the rainbow awaits him. «I am not influenced by the pressure. I only work and go as quickly as possible, ”says a boy of only 24 years, accustomed to laurels from the cradle. He is the son of Adrie van der Poel, winner in two stages in the Tour de France, in Flanders , in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and in Amstel, and grandson of Poulidor, winner of the Tour of 1964 and eight times on the podium at the Tour

"A little addiction"

Van der Poel likes road cycling, but what deprives him is cyclocross and mountain biking , modalities in which he is world and European champion. It is an SUV. At the beginning of this season he made a break in the route to devote himself to cyclocross . It stands out for its huge pedal stroke and an innate ability. The genes of the grandfather and father influence, but the specific exercises that make him a real juggler are also decisive. His favorite place is the beach, where he tests the skids and the sharp curves in a sand circuit.

The wayward Mathieu flees from heart rate monitors and other systems that measure performance, he prefers to be guided by instinct and sensations, so he considers it essential to always be satisfied with himself. Recently, in a report published by the company Shimano, he acknowledged: «Having fun should be the first thing in all the activities you do. I get it by not following strict planning and doing what I really want. And to feel good, he prefers video games and a challenge to Fortnite . "I like to play. That is a way to relax for me. To fill the day, that is ideal for me. Yes, I can say that it is a small addiction, ”he confessed after winning the Amstel Gold Race.

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