The most personal interview with Van der Poel: "Moving to Spain may have been the best investment of my life"

Road 29/01/24 16:37 Migue A.

Maathieu van der Poel recently gave an interview to the Belgian weekly Knack where he hints at the keys to the excellent form he is enjoying and which has led him to have the best cyclocross season of his career while promising an exciting spring on the road bike.

The more mature and focused Mathieu van der Poel

It seems like yesterday when we started to enjoy the duels between Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert on the cyclocross circuits. Today, Mathieu van der Poel is a much more mature cyclist, established among the references of road cycling and one of the best paid cyclists in the world thanks to winning the World Championship last August in Glasgow to which he added no less than two monuments: Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix completing a dream spring that could have been perfect without the presence of another genius like Tadej Pogacar.

Part of that excellent form that Mathieu van der Poel enjoys is due to his change of residence after moving to the Marina Alta region of Alicante, a winter training place for many professionals but which the Dutchman has made his home "I have fewer commitments here. I am more comfortable although, the main reason is that I can train with better weather. I even enjoy long workouts. Five hours under the sun, with other cyclists, stopping for coffee...", in fact, he does not hesitate to point out that it could be his best investment.

It is striking in his statements how, behind that fierce competitor we see in the races, there is a calm person who prefers to avoid the spotlight, one of the reasons for his move to Spain. In fact, despite the tremendous success achieved with his World Championship, he has hardly been seen at events. Only the Madrid Criterium in which he gathered, along with Alberto Contador, crowds in search of the precious autograph.

When asked about his evolution as a cyclist, Mathieu van der Poel does not hesitate to point out the improvement in his endurance as the most relevant factor "now I can pedal at almost as high a power as at the beginning of a race at kilometer 240 or 260". In fact, he points out that in 2019, in what was his first Tour of Flanders, after the last Parteberg he was totally on reserve, and still managed to finish fourth.

Mathieu van der Poel compares that debut in the Flemish monument with last year's, according to the numbers, his best day on the bike and where, however, he did not achieve victory when he came across an unbeatable Tadej Pogacar. Nevertheless, he highlights how in the race he is able to reach power figures that if he had to do them in a training session he would say it is simply impossible.

Another change in Mathieu van der Poel has been to mature into a more calculating cyclist. He no longer makes those wild attacks from afar even though, on many occasions "you suffer less when you attack and go alone than when you are tortured at someone else's wheel. At the World Championship we were all dead 22 kilometers from the finish, then I attacked and, suddenly, I was much fresher, as if wings had sprouted".

The last factor in the level he showed in 2023 and that he points out for this year after a cyclocross season that only lacks the icing on the cake of a new world championship in the specialty that Mathieu van der Poel will try to achieve in a few days at the mythical Tabor circuit, is having left behind his back problems, much more serious than what transpired. So much so that Mathieu van der Poel does not hesitate to confess that he told his entourage "if this continues like this I quit the bike". Fortunately, it seems a problem that has been forgotten and, through specific exercises and gym sessions Mathieu van der Poel tries to prevent them from reappearing in the future.

The quiet man

The interview also delves into the more personal aspect of Mathieu van der Poel, who does not hesitate to highlight the role that his partner Roxanne Bertels, a Belgian fashion blogger, plays in his life balance. Thanks to her he has learned to value each day as if it were the last. Now they both lead a quiet life in Alicante with simple hobbies like watching a Netflix series or playing paddle tennis with friends.

His latest discovery in sports, which contrasts with the adrenaline that, for example, is experienced on a cyclocross road is golf. For Mathieu van der Poel this sport is a source of tranquility and relaxation. An activity that motivates him because it is a sport that you never fully master, in which you can always improve and that, while you are practicing it, your whole world is reduced to that little ball.

In fact, Mathieu van der Poel highlights as one of his main strengths that ability to not worry about anything, which makes him handle pressure in a tremendously simple way. He is indifferent to what is said about him or what people think, in fact, he mentions that he has never felt the need to have a sports psychologist "we have talked about this in the team, but I prefer to talk to close people when I have to face setbacks like what happened during the Wollongong World Championship".



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¿Prefieres leer la versión en Español?

La entrevista más personal de Van der Poel: "Mudarme a España tal vez haya sido la mejor inversión de mi vida"


Préférez-vous lire la version en français?

L'interview la plus personnelle de Van der Poel : "Déménager en Espagne a peut-être été le meilleur investissement de ma vie"


Você prefere ler a versão em português?

A entrevista mais pessoal de Van der Poel: "Mudar para a Espanha talvez tenha sido o melhor investimento da minha vida"


Você prefere ler a versão em português?

A entrevista mais pessoal de Van der Poel: "Mudar para a Espanha talvez tenha sido o melhor investimento da minha vida"