Mathieu van der Poel tempered the expectations for the classical spring. Last year the all-rounder won a third of the races where he appeared at the start, but he now considers that percentage impossible.
"Last year it went well beyond expectations. This year I have to confirm above all. It will be difficult to match my performance," Van der Poel tells Sporza on Monday.
The triple cyclocross world champion drove an extensive program on the road for the first time last year. He won the Amstel Gold Race, Brabantse Pijl and Dwars door Vlaanderen, among others.
In total Van der Poel triumphed eleven times in the 33 races he rode. The Alpecin-Fenix rider does not expect that 33 percentage win.
"That percentage is already disappearing, I have already resigned myself to it", says "VDP" after the Tour of the Algarve. In Portugal he drove his first stage race fairly anonymously last week. Van der Poel was 45th in the final classification and never came close to a stage win.
See also: This is how Van der Poel's road program looks
Van der Poel will start in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday
"I choose my goals more specifically this year, and that has to be with my program," the 25-year-old rider explains. He rides the 'monuments' Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. "That's why I have to temper myself a bit against my will now and then."
On Saturday Van der Poel drives Omloop Het Nieuwsblad his first one-day race of the year. "I am ready, I think. The Algarve has been a perfect preparation course."
"There have been a few fragments in Portugal where I have felt that the form is certainly not bad. History teaches me that if I take a little rest after such a week, it will be fine."
See also: The cycling calendar of 2020