Mathieu van der Poel remounts his mountain bike Sunday to journey the Olympic check occasion at Elancourt hill in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, the location for mountain bike competitions on the Paris Olympic Video games subsequent 12 months.
Different elite athletes anticipated to take part embrace multidisciplinary World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, four-time French MTB champion Loana Lecomte, reigning girls’s XCO European champion Puck Pieterse, Rio Olympics gold medalist and 10-time World Champion Nino Schurter and Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Tom Pidcock.
Simply two UCI-sanctioned races will likely be held Sunday, one for ladies at 1:00 p.m. native time and one for males at 3:00 p.m. native time, on a 4.4km course. A complete of 39 girls and 43 males are a part of the beginning lists.
Paris 2024 organisers provided the check occasions not only for competitions, however for suggestions from athletes. Gerben de Knegt, the Dutch mountain bike nationwide coach, mentioned the group had particular curiosity within the technical elements of the course and the way it matched skills for key athletes, like Van der Poel.
“The [athletes] would really like to have the ability to make an estimate prematurely of the gravity of the climbs and expertise for themselves how technically sure passages are. That is how one can get an thought of how the course matches your abilities and if you wish to add sure abilities within the run-up to the Paris 2024 Olympics. We’re pleased that we are able to – comparatively near dwelling – for a weekend to see how the route is,” De Knegt acknowledged on the KNWU Instagram feed.
Van der Poel is likely one of the group’s headliners and in a quest to symbolize the Netherlands in cross-country mountain biking on the Paris Olympic Video games in 2024. The newly-crowned street race World Champion comes into the check occasion from a street victory at SUPER 8 Classics per week in the past. HIs final look on a mountain bike was within the cross-country race on the World Championships in Scotland, the place he crashed out on the primary lap.
It was the same state of affairs for Van der Poel on the Tokyo Olympic Video games the place he crashed out of the XCO race on the opening lap. It was his solely probability for a medal, as he had pulled out of the elite males’s street race. Van der Poel may try the road-MTB double-header in Paris, because the elite males’s street race is scheduled for August 3, 5 days following the cross-country mountain bike contest.
“We do not have two Van der Poel-types. It stays to be seen what decisions he makes,” Koos Moerenhout, one other Dutch nationwide group coach on the bottom in France, advised Wielerflits.
“He is additionally not going to do each disciplines if he does not believe in both of them. Within the coming interval, we may have conversations to see the place his priorities lie. Mathieu all the time will get an additional star due to his ending high quality. However then all the pieces must be proper.”
Confidence with the mountain bike course will likely be extra vital than the outcome this Sunday.
“We are going to know what that course seems like and what plans we are able to make for it after this weekend. I’ve tried to gather details about that course in all types of the way, however it is rather restricted,” De Knegt advised the Dutch information outlet.
“It may be a climbing course with two lengthy climbs, or an interval course with a number of quick climbs. It might be that Mathieu thinks very in another way about his mountain bike ambitions in Paris after Sunday. However I want to talk about his preparation.”
A part of the state of affairs is that the Paris Olympic Video games come on the heels of the Tour de France, the place Van der Poel plans to race for his Alpecin-Deceuninck group. The Tour was moved to per week sooner than normal, between June 29-July 21, with the Paris Olympic Video games starting on July 26.
“For those who do the entire Tour, that additionally means you do not contact the mountain bike for 3 weeks and also you solely have eight days to hone the sensation on that bike once more. All of it hinges on what Mathieu himself desires. That ought to be clear quickly,” De Knegt added.
“It additionally will depend on the course. An interval course leans a lot nearer to the street. To be truthful: the street race in Paris, Mathieu likes that very a lot. However the mixture is a problem.”
Sunday’s check occasion takes place on an open slot on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup calendar, happening conveniently following occasions in Les Will get, France and earlier than the ultimate two competitions in North America – Snowshoe, West Virginia from September 29-October 1 and Mont-Sainte-Anne, Québec from October 6-8.
Elancourt hill is a public park that was remodeled 4 a long time in the past from long-closed sandstone quarries. The hill itself reaches a top of 231 metres, the best level within the Paris area and presents views of the Eiffel Tower from the summit. Nearly all of bike paths on this location, as much as 95%, will likely be used for mountain bike competitions subsequent summer season, designed by South African knowledgeable Nick Floros, in keeping with Paris 2024 organisers.
Van der Poel continues to be searching for an elusive Olympic Video games medal, and he could have an opportunity at two. The routes for the street races on the Paris Video games had been unveiled in early July this 12 months, with the boys dealing with the longest course within the historical past of the Video games, 273km. Filled with 13 punchy climbs, the elevation achieve provides as much as 2,800 metres and fits the type of a rider like Van der Poel. After the announcement the World Champion mentioned “this might be a Basic in Flanders”.
Now the climbs and turns of the mountain bike course want a better inspection. It’s nonetheless 11 months away till the true check, however assessments and preparations start Sunday.