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"Now I have had a rest week. I feel that I will be fresher at the start, but I'll have to be 110 percent to win the Worlds."






30.01.2016 @ 12:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Mathieu van der Poel will have dossard number 1 as the reigning world champion in tomorrow’s 2016 race. He doesn’t have a concrete game plan. "I just do not think about that,” the 21-year-old Dutchman tells Sporza.


Mathieu van der Poel has come from behind. Earlier this season the Dutchman was on injured with knee pain. Now the defending champion is the favorite for Sunday.


"I had hoped for that but I did not think it would go so well," Mathieu van der Poel says two days before the Worlds.


"I have already won more race than last year before the Worlds. If you would have told me that in September, I wouldn’t have believed you.”


Last year in Tabor Van der Poel was also the top favorite at the start. "I was able to enjoy a year in that jersey. On the one hand I would be very disappointed if I have to give up that jersey on Sunday. However, I can live with that because I have already worn it.


"Therefore, I can go into Worlds quite relaxed. I've always done that. That is no different. Hoogerheide reassured me."


Last week, Van der Poel blew everyone away in the final World Cup race. "The week before I had trained  hard, perhaps harder than anyone else. And I was good.


"Now I have had a rest week. I feel that I will be fresher at the start, but I'll have to be 110 percent to win the Worlds."


The rivals will try to make the race difficult for him. How will he handle it? "I do not know. I'm one who takes decisions during the race. And I still do," Van der Poel replies.


"There is not much point in thinking about it beforehand. I might have a plan but if I miss my start, I must change it.


"I do not thing about it. During one hour of cyclo-cross, a lot can happen."


Last year, Van der Poel was 10 seconds ahead of van Aert for a long time. "I know now that I can keep such  a gap for a long time. In the World Cup in Zolderm I could not always keep the gap but then I was not at 100 percent. Now I can do that and this gives me confidence.”


Is Van der Poel verous? "Not yet. I'm still very quiet and relaxed. When I wact the other races tomorrow, it will start. And on Sunday morning I'll be a bit nervous," says the 21-year-old Dutchman.




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