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‘My focus is increasingly shifting to the road’ says Dutchman after dominating in Tabor

Mathieu van der Poel in his sixth cyclocross rainbow jersey Mathieu van der Poel in his sixth cyclocross rainbow jersey (Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel won his sixth cyclocross world title in Tabor but admitted it could be his last, as his road racing takes precedence and even more importance.  

Van der Poel is now just one world title away from Erik De Vlaeminck’s record of seven world championship wins, but that seems of little importance to him. 

“Apart from the world title and the fun, there is not much left for me to gain in cyclocross. My focus is increasingly shifting to the road,” van der Poel explained in interviews after his victory in Tabor. 

29-year-old van der Poel is now the undisputed king of elite men’s cyclocross but cannot decide on his future in the discipline alone. He leads the Alpecin-Deceuninck team, which gains a lot of publicity from his cyclocross success, and he also earns significant start fees. 

Any final decision to miss the 2024/2025 cyclocross season includes a number of factors and impacts people. It would also reduce the interest in the winter discipline.  

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“It’s a decision that I obviously cannot make alone. But we will discuss it within the team,” Van der Poel said, explaining the biggest reason for any decision to hang up his cyclocross bike.  

“Cross in the winter is something that takes a lot of energy,” he said. “If it turns out that I can perform even better on the road by skipping cyclo-cross, then I will do that.”

Van der Poel will soon turn his attention to the 2024 road racing season, but a final decision on his future in cyclocross will take a lot longer.   

“We will know more about my road programme in two weeks, but not yet about next winter,” he laughed, deferring any expectations.  

Van der Poel enjoyed a perfect race in Tabor. He immediately hit the front and rode away from the field to win by 37 seconds. 

He completed a near-perfect cyclocross campaign of 13 victories in 14 races. His only defeat came in the Benidorm World Cup after hitting a pole at speed, and he wanted to end on a high. 

“It would have been a shame to miss out on the world title after such a season. But a race still has to be run, and the top favourite has often not won,” he said.

“But I had good legs. I think I mainly rode very controlled and never took many risks. Stones were thrown up in many places, I tried to take those sections as carefully as possible and pushed on where I could.”

At the finish line, Van der Poel climbed off his bike and pointed to his Canyon bike. 

“That the bike did a good job, which is crucial in a cyclocross,” he concluded.

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Contact me with news and offers from other Future brandsReceive email from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsorsBy submitting your information you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and are aged 16 or over. Stephen FarrandStephen FarrandSocial Links NavigationHead of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.

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