Van der Poel undergoes surgery, unlikely to return in October

Cyclocross world champ Mathieu van der Poel will miss all of October due to knee surgery, delaying his start to the fall season.

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BRUSSELS (VN) — Just days after his BKCP-Corendon team announced that cyclocross world champion Mathieu van der Poel was ready to return to training after a series of injuries, the team revealed in a press release that he underwent knee surgery on Friday afternoon.

Van der Poel injured his right knee in a crash at the Tour de l’Avenir in August. Though that injury eventually healed, he developed pain in his left knee as he began to return to training. He completed two light training sessions without pain earlier in the week, but BKCP’s sport director Christoph Roodhooft said the pain had returned.

“Today he didn’t even make it to the end of the street,” said Roodhooft. “A month after his fall at the Tour de l’Avenir, that he continues to muddle through makes no sense and has been frustrating for all parties. After consultation, it was decided to go under the knife for the post-traumatic injury to his left knee. During the procedure, under local anesthesia, the upper two of three fasciae over the patellar tendon were removed. They appeared cracked and loose and were the cause of the inflammation. Mathieu remains under observation at the hospital tonight, but may return home tomorrow.”

A fascia is a sheet of connective tissue that helps to attach, surround, and stabilize muscles and other organs, and reduces the friction generated by muscular force. Fasciae can become painfully inflamed, as seems to have been the case for van der Poel, and surgical removal can reportedly provide considerable relief.

The team said his ongoing treatment will begin with a week wearing a compression bandage to reduce swelling, followed by several weeks of rehab including electro-stimulation. He is not expected to return to cycling for at least three weeks.

“It is as good as certain that he will not participate in a single race in October,” said Roodhooft.

Van der Poel already missed the opening round of the World Cup at CrossVegas two weeks ago. He will likely miss the first two rounds of the Superprestige series, in Gieten, Netherlands, and Zonohven, Belgium, as well as the opening round of the Bpost Bank Trofee series, in Ronse, Belgium. He is also likely to miss the second round of the World Cup in Valkenburg, also in the Netherlands.

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