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Mathieu Van der Poel is the cyclocross and road race world champion and has now not ruled out a bid for two gold medals at the Olympics (Photo: Super 8)

Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) is already a double world champion and the now the Dutch rider says he has designs on becoming a double Olympic champion next summer.

While focused on securing a sixth cyclocross world title early in the New Year, which would put him within one world crown of the legendary Eric De Vlaeminck, the Olympic Games will then quickly be the centre of his planning for the year ahead.

Indeed, he is so intent on targeting the Games that any appearance in the Tour de France next July will hinge on how it might impact his chances at the Olympics in Paris.

And while the MTB XC race and road race at the Games fall within days of each other – July 29th and August 3rd respectively – he says he may ride both. That would involve either not riding the Tour de France, which concludes on July 21st, or withdrawing from it early.

Van der Poel has already said he has learned in recent seasons he cannot step off his road bike and onto his MTB bike and race immediately. Instead – having learned the hard way via MTB race crashes – he knows he needs a period to train on his MTB bike before racing on it.

“I’m focused on a sixth cyclocross world title, I’m not thinking about anything else,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ll worry about planning the rest of my season after that. For sure the Olympics are the North Star of my 2024 season.

“We’ve got to study the best path to Paris, perhaps combining it with the Tour de France, it’s a difficult puzzle to work out. I still haven’t decided if I’ll just ride the road race or the mountain bike race or both.”

Having won both Paris-Roubaix and Milan-Sanremo this year, as well as claiming the road Worlds and finishing 2nd in Tour of Flanders, Van der Poel says he will also go all-out in 2024 in the biggest one day races in the world.

“My ambitions in the Classics won’t change. After that, I’ll see how my form is and if it’s good, there’s a chance I could ride Liege-Bastogne-Liege,” he said. “I just want to enjoy my year in the rainbow jersey and confirm all the good things I did in 2023.”

With Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) racing much shorter cyclocross seasons this winter, and planning to skip the Worlds, Van der Poel also acknowledged he was unsure how often he would ride ‘cross as seriously in the years ahead.

However, he wanted to equal or surpass the seven world titles won by De Vlaeminck, meaning he will ride the Worlds until at least 2025.

“Cyclocross is still a good way of preparing for my road season and the Worlds is still an objective,” he said. “I don’t know how I’ll think about that in the years to come. Things will perhaps change.”

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