It seems out of the question that Mathieu van der Poel will participate in the European Championship mountain bike this year. The event has been moved to mid-October and overlaps with the Tour of Flanders of October 18, where the Dutchman wants to start anyway.
The European Championship mountain bike was scheduled to take place in Graz, Austria, in May, but that was canceled due to the outbreak of the corona virus. On Thursday, the UCI announced that the event has been moved to October 15-18 in Monteceneri, Switzerland, with the men's race on the final day.
The 25-year-old Van der Poel convincingly became European mountain bike champion in Brno, Czech Republic, last year. He also wants to go for Olympic gold next year at the Games in Tokyo, but there is a good chance that he will no longer compete as a mountain biker this year, partly due to the outbreak of the corona virus. Earlier this month, he indicated that it cannot be combined with the road season.
Alpecin-Fenix, the Belgian team of Van der Poel, already has a wildcard for the Tour of Flanders. De Brabander is going for the victory in the Flemish classic, after he finished fourth in 2019.
Mathieu van der Poel on the podium in July 2019 after his win at the European Championship mountain bike. (Photo: Corendon Circus)
Van der Poel starts with Strade Bianche
Van der Poel resumes the road season on Saturday with the Strade Bianche. The Italian one-day race, which was canceled in March due to the corona virus, is the first major race after the resumption of the cycling season.
After the Strade Bianche, Van der Poel also rides the one-day races Miliaan-Turin (August 5), Milan-San Remo (August 8), and the Gran Piemonte (August 12) and the stage race Tirreno-Adriatico (7 to 13) September). On October 10, he will start as defending champion in the Amstel Gold Race.
See also: The new 2020 cycling calendar for men and women