Mathieu van der Poel back for Tour of Flanders? It could be on the cards

Reports indicate the rider could be back for Coppi e Bartali on March 22, Alpecin-Fenix officials refuse to confirm calendar just yet.

Photo: Getty Images

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Mathieu van der Poel may be back in the bunch in time for the Tour of Flanders after his long layoff with injury and rehab.

Reports on Belgian outlets RTBF and Wielerflits suggest that the rider will return to racing at the Coppi e Bartali late March in what would be his first road race since last October’s Paris-Roubaix. Meanwhile, both Dwars Door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders have confirmed van der Poel will line up for their races in the next month.

Reported comeback schedule for van der Poel:

  • Coppi e Bartali: March 22
  • Dwars Door Vlaanderen: March 30
  • Tour of Flanders: April 3

Alpecin-Fenix officials are reluctant to confirm any calendar for its team captain just yet.

Team representatives tamped down the speculation Friday, telling VeloNews a return to racing is still not certain as he pedals his way out of a long-lingering back injury.

Van der Poel has now been out of action for the best part of five months due to a series of setbacks. The Dutch dynamo saw just two cyclocross starts this winter before knee surgery and the need to rest his battered back sank his ‘cross season and put him on the sofa through the new year.

However, a dive into the Strava data suggests a comeback could be on the cards sometime soon.

Two weeks of up to 30 hours of pedaling around Spain’s Costa Blanca late February hint that van der Poel is readying himself for a return to the road for the first time since he raced to the podium in Roubaix last fall.

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The renewed churn of the Mathieu-rumor-mill is news that all classics fans can savor.

Van der Poel has been a dominant force through recent spring seasons, harvesting huge wins at Amstel Gold Race, Tour of Flanders, Strade Bianche, and more.

Archrival Wout van Aert said one-day racing wouldn’t be the same without his Dutch nemesis, and team directors told VeloNews this winter that his absence could reshape the dynamic of the classics.

Race schedules are still to be confirmed, but the renewed churn of the Mathieu-rumor-mill suggests his megawatt attacks and beyond-the-sport rivalry with van Aert could be back for 2022.

Keep everything crossed.

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