Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) would not fit in a big team like Ineos Grenadiers or Jumbo-Visma because he is a “showman”, according to the latest episode of The Bradley Wiggins Show.
Van der Poel is one of cycling’s most exciting talents and a race hardly goes by without him showcasing his attacking verve.
However, Deceuninck-Quick-Step showed at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic last week that the collective can overpower the individual as the Wolfpack outnumbered the Dutchman before delivering victory via Kasper Asgreen.
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It prompted speculation that Van der Poel would have to leave Alpecin-Fenix in the future to give him teammates that could aid his quest for titles.
But Eurosport pundit Matt Stephens doubts he would fit in at the World Tour’s biggest teams due to his current style, even if he provides the type of racing that supporters love.
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“Even his father Adrie van der Poel, himself an iconic talented bike rider, is left scratching his head at the way Mathieu conducts himself in races tactically,” Stephens told Bradley Wiggins on his Eurosport podcast.
“For the commentators, for the fans, it’s spectacular. But in terms of actually racing to a plan, I don’t think at the moment Van der Poel would fit in a team like Ineos or Jumbo-Visma because he’s a showman.
“The sport is all the better for it. But if he wants to start to gather Monuments and World Championships… he’s one of a handful of riders including [Wout] van Aert who could win every Monument because he can climb as well as sprint.
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“He rides beautifully, almost like a different era, but it’s slightly incompatible with racing in the modern era when you’ve got numbers.
It’s great at the moment but if he wants to get that trophy cabinet full, he might have to go to a team that’s slightly more conservative and tactically shrewd. But he’d have to do it their way, not his way.
“You don’t want to stifle a rider too much, because they have to be able to make decisions out on the road, but when they’re like ‘oh my god, what was all that about?!’ he doesn’t fit in any other team. Alpecin-Fenix are basically built around him at the moment.”
Van der Poel already has one Monument to his name from the Tour of Flanders, where he will defend his title this weekend.
He has also won Strade Bianche this season and won stages at the UAE Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico.
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