Belgian legend believes van der Poel could take a yellow sport shirt if he moves focus to the road, speaks against the impression of a Tokyo 2020 Tour ‘behind closed doors.’ The sky is the boundary for Mathieu van der Poel. At least, that’s the opinion of cycling legend Eddy Merckx. The 74-year old believes that Dutch superstar van der Poel can win all even the Tour de France.
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Merckx told Het Nieuwsblad on Friday “He will fall short in the high mountains against Pogacar and Bernal, but if Geraint Thomas can win the Tour, Van der Poel can do it too”.
Van der Poel can do it all, meeting wins in stage races and masterpieces on the road while lifting three world championship wins in cyclotrons and rival at the best in mountain biking. With knocking a planned start at the Tokyo Olympic mountain bike race off the agenda, van der Poel is pinning his season hopes on a determined Tour-Vuelta double this fall.
Merckx highlighted van der Poel’s lack of hard chops as his possible downfall, saying he will have to stress more on road races and mountain biking to hone his unresolved tour services. Merckx, who gained the Tour a record-equaling five times, would rather look no Tour at all than an exposed-back form of La Grande Boucle.
While van der Poel is hoping his team obtains a wildcard invite to the Tour to let him make his unresolved tour arrival, there are motionless question marks over whether there will be a Tour at all, and if there is, what it will see like. While French ministers are stating that many sporting events this year will be held behind closed doors, Tour managers ASO are unmoved that their race will be staged with fans on the roadside.