Mathieu van der Poel undergoes surgery on injured knee

Doctors removed scar tissue around the Dutchman's knee as he's sidelined from racing due to a non-related back injury.

Photo: David Stockman/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images

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Mathieu van der Poel underwent surgery on his knee last weekend in what’s the latest obstacle for the Dutch star.

The Dutchman injured it late last year when he crashed while riding with a friend. The cut to his knee did not require stitching, but it was slow to heal, and forced him to delay the start of his cyclocross season.

After making his CX debut in late December, van der Poel was later forced to sit on the sidelines due to non-related but nagging back issues.

After pulling the plug on a trip to the United States for the cyclocross worlds later this month, he and the team decided to take advantage of the gap in his calendar to have the procedure done after scar tissue began to form.

“Mathieu van der Poel underwent a minor surgery on the knee on Saturday in the AZ Herentals hospital. In a previous crash, a tear had appeared in the capsule of the kneecap,” a statement from Alpecin-Fenix said. “As a result of that tear, scar tissue had formed in which a hardened strand scrubbed against the bone.

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“Up until now this has been painless and hasn’t bothered him, but now was the right time to proactively take it away. That is why van der Poel was operated on last Saturday and a positive evaluation followed after a check-up with Dr. Toon Claes. This operation is unrelated to the back injury from which van der Poel is currently recovering.”

Van der Poel has not raced since December 27 after pulling out of the Heusden-Zolder cyclocross World Cup race. He was later diagnosed with a swelling on an intervertebral disc and will miss the remainder of the season, including his world title defense.

The Dutchman and his team remain hopeful that he will be in top form in time for the spring classics, but it is not yet known when he will return to training.

The injury dates back to the Albstadt World Cup in May 2021 and has plagued him ever since. Following a lengthy recovery period in the wake of his dramatic mountain bike crash at the Olympic Games, he believed that the problem was behind him.

However, it came back to haunt him during the Heusden-Zolder race.

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