Poulidor on his grandson: "Van Der Poel is better than his father and me"
The Van der Poel phenomenon has surprised many fans, but his grandfather had already suspected that something like this might happen about five years ago. Raymond Poulidor was nicknamed "eternal second" after finishing second three times in the Tour de France, but now at the age of 83 he is enjoying his grandson's triumphs as if they were his own.
Poulidor explains the key to Van der Poel's success
In a recent statement to the Dutch Broadcasting Foundation he could not have said it more clearly: "He (Mathieu Van der Poel) has the genes of his father and grandfather, but he is better than us."
Most cyclists, both road and mountain bikers, can still say in May that they are just starting the season, but Mathieu Van der Poel has already had time to become Cyclo-cross World Champion and one of the stars of the spring classics after finishing fourth in the Tour of Flanders, where he made his debut, and winning Flèche Brabanzona and the Amstel Gold Race.
In the same media, Poulidor claims that Van der Poel could have won the Tour of Flanders if he had not crashed after a flat tyre. For Poulidor, "He was the moral winner of the Tour of Flanders", something we also heard from cyclist Lance Armstrong.
He has an exceptional character and enjoys cycling, he doesn't take anything seriously. Maybe that's his strong point, he's always relaxed.
When asked if he thinks his grandson can win the Tour de France, he replies: "He is already doing impressive things for his age (24), and he has shown that he adapts well to any cycling discipline". "Who knows what he can do if one day he decides to compete in the Tour de France? He is not going to give up cyclo-cross, it's sacred to him".
Poulidor ends his conversation by giving what he sees as the key to Van der Poel's success: "He has an exceptional character and enjoys cycling, he doesn't take anything seriously. Maybe that's his strong point, he's always relaxed".