Mathieu van der Poel stages his life to keep yellow – .

Mathieu van der Poel stages his life to keep yellow – .

Exclusive to members

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great benefits.

Celine Dion may have sung on the Power of Love, but the power of yellow at the Tour de France is also something else.

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) took out what was certainly the time trial of his life – and possibly one of the races of his life – to keep the yellow just eight seconds from a driving force. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates).

Read also : Tour de France stage 5: Tadej Pogacar best time trial

As the first Tour de France time trial approached, the prevailing opinion was that van der Poel had enjoyed a good yellow jersey but his time was up. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) was the big favorite to slip into the yellow and there were other stronger time trials waiting impatiently behind him.

Van der Poel and his team had other plans, but it would take a big effort to hold on.

“I surprised myself today. I have to thank the team. We worked until midnight to get the best position on the bike. It was one of my best days on the bike, ”said van der Poel, aware of the heroism he had just achieved.

“I was able to push my limits today and I’m proud of what I did. I saved some energy to really force myself towards the end. I needed to keep something in the tank. When I said yesterday that I would lose the jersey, it was not a lie.

The Tour de France jersey is a wonderful thing and wearing it can give riders the opportunity to tap into their reserves, much further than they might have imagined. Van der Poel is a superlative runner who often gives the impression that victory is easy, but even he had to find something more on the road to Laval.

We saw something similar with Lukas Pöstlberger at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June when he released a phenomenal race to keep the leader’s jersey there. Now imagine this performance but much bigger.

In van der Poel’s last time trial, a 10.9 km test in the Tour de Suisse, he lost 38 seconds to Stefan Küng. He lost just 12 seconds against the Swiss time machine in Laval on Wednesday – and 31 against Pogacar – over 27.2 km.

Read also : Mathieu van der Poel’s Tour de France Canyon Aeroad gallery

Van der Poel probably hasn’t pushed that hard in Switzerland, but his turnaround to keep the Tour de France yellow is extremely impressive and should be one of his best laps of all time.

After all this, van der Poel will be happy to hear that a sprint stage will take place on Thursday. Friday’s hilly seventh stage could prove to be tight in terms of maintaining yellow, but he should still have it on his shoulders until the weekend.

Stage 8 in Le Grand-Bornand will certainly mark the end of his reign in yellow.

A race through France

The effort wasn’t just on the road.

When van der Poel arrived at the Tour de France he probably didn’t think he would be close to staying yellow after the time trial. However, with the chaos and carnage of the early days, he had a clear margin over some of the big names in TT.

Van der Poel saw a chance, as did his bicycle supplier Canyon, who wanted him to keep the legendary jersey a little longer.

In the end, a lot of the work to defend the jersey came in a last minute race to get some extra equipment under the Dutchman.

According to the Belgian publication the news magazineAlpecin-Fenix ​​team manager Christoph Roodhooft called to offer his superstar new time trial wheels and the best chance of staying yellow. On the other end of the phone was Meindert Klem of Princeton CabonWorks, whom Roodhooft had met on a bike ride last year.

At the last minute, Klem got their hands on Princeton CarbonWorks wheels – which are also the unbranded wheels for many members of the Ineos Grenadiers team. Ineos Grenadiers uses the American brand of wheels on the Tour de France, but they certainly weren’t going to give theirs.

In the end, Alepcin-Fenix ​​had to pay a tidy sum to secure wheels just for van der Poel. According to the news magazine, the team had to pay 3,800 € to secure the Princeton CarbonWorks disc and the Aerocoach Aeox Titan front wheel, before traveling almost all of France to bring it to them.

“The simplest solution to the problem seemed to me to be borrowing a couple from Ineos, but of course they’re not that excited if they’ve put a lot of money into it,” Klem said. The newspaper. “An additional complication is that these time trial wheels are not yet available on the Dutch market. Finally, I found some unused wheels at Cameron Wurf, an Ineos pilot who lives in Andorra.

“I don’t know who paid. The amount was paid by credit card, but how do you get it to the Alpecin mechanic, 900 kilometers north, within 24 hours?

Eventually, a Dutch hotelier by the name of Mark Putter, based in the Pyrenees, agreed to take on the arduous task and drove the 10 hours it took to get to the Hotel Alpecin-Fenix. After all of that, the team’s mechanics had to work hard to make sure everything was perfect for the ride.

After all of this effort, Van der Poel ultimately only used the rear wheel, but it seems to have paid off.

The time trial is often seen as a lonely quest, but van der Poel’s race to retain the yellow jersey was a huge team effort. Luckily for anyone who has literally lost sleep over his bike setup, the Dutchman has pulled out the goods.

How could we have doubted him?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here