Mathieu van der Poel has suggested that he will race in the Tour de France in 2021 for his sponsors. In a wide-ranging interview with Sporza that covered the breadth of his cycling disciplines and ambitions, the Dutch rider said that he owed it to his sponsors to make his French Grand Tour debut in tandem with his focus on the mountain bike event at the Tokyo Olympic Games next summer.
"I think I owe it to the sponsors to participate in the Tour," Van der Poel told Sporza. "The season is a difficult puzzle and not only my own ambitions count. I never underestimate the importance of the sponsors. Without them, there is no sport. But I can't quite do what I want."
"The Tour is very inconvenient. The Tour is secondary to the Games, but I am also not going to France to come for 10 days and then leave."
Van der Poel has split his focus between cyclocross, mountain bike and road racing for years now. He is indisputably one of the best in each of the three disciplines despite the different demands of each. Now, he's experiencing some negatives from the overlap of the sports, with the Tour de France set to finish on July 18, with the men's mountain bike event set for July 27.
"The delay of the Games is a disadvantage for me," said van der Poel. "Last year I was where I wanted to be and I was ready for the Games. I had raced almost all the World Cups, I knew where I was in relation to the competition and I felt great on my bike."
"Now a year has passed in which I have barely been on my mountain bike. It is still a question mark. The dream and the hope for Olympic gold is certainly not gone, but it will be a lot more difficult."