Barely a month after his second place in the Tour of Flanders, Mathieu van der Poel will resume his season on a mountain bike on Friday.
The 26-year-old Dutchman has to earn as many points as possible at the World Cup in Albstadt, Germany, in view of the Olympic Games.
Van der Poel will switch to the road again next month - he will start in the Tour of Switzerland, the NK and the Tour de France - and will therefore only ride two World Cups mountain bike in the run-up to Tokyo.
This weekend in Albstadt and next week in Nové Mesto, Czech Republic, the Alpecin-Fenix rider must perform well to ensure that he can start as far from the front as possible at the Olympic cross-country race on July 26.
A spot on the first or second row of the grid would greatly increase his chances of winning Olympic gold.
That title in Tokyo has been one of the most important goals for Van der Poel for years, but it is - also for himself - a big question how his form is on the mountain bike.
His last game in this sport was 21 months ago.
In August 2019 he won gold at the World Cup in Lenzerheide.
"I don't think I'm as good as I was then, because after that I actually took a year off", Van der Poel told the
"Annoying, because I felt that I had finally made the step to the top in that last season. For the same money I lost the connection here again."
See also: Van der Poel hopes to combine his Olympic dream and road season
Seven Dutchmen start in Albstadt
The World Cup in Albstadt starts on Friday with a short track race.
There you can already earn points for the Olympic starting places.
Sunday is the cross-country race.
In addition to Van der Poel, Milan Vader, Anne Terpstra, Anne Tauber, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Sophie von Bersworth and Lotte Koopmans will also start on behalf of the Netherlands.
🇩🇪 #MBWorldCup AlbstadtNo less than 7️⃣ #AlpecinFenix riders are traveling to Albstadt for the 2021 UCI Mountain Bike world Cup opener 🔵🔴📺 Did you know you can watch the races live on Red Bull tv?
Avatar Author AlpecinFenix Moment of Places 09:54 - May 4, 2021