Mathieu van der Poel is the leader of his team almost every race he rides, but in the Tour of the United Arab Emirates, the all-rounder on the bike adapts to the role of ‘foreman’. “I am here as part of the sprint train for Jasper Philipsen”, said Van der Poel about his Belgian teammate at Alpecin-Fenix.
“My main goal is to see how my fitness is compared to the best climbers. Besides, I have not set any goals for myself. For me this is a restart after the cyclocross season”, says Van der Poel, who finished his fourth in Ostend at the end of January world title in the field. “Hopefully I will feel better every day and can help the team as best I can.”
Although Van der Poel does not have a leading role in mind for himself, he did join the press conference with the top of the field a day before the start of the opening race of this year’s UCI WorldTour.