Van der Poel leaves the Tour de France for Tokyo

TIGNES: Mathieu van der Poel withdrew from the Tour de France on Sunday after a spectacular turn at the top of the general classification stopped in the Alps.

The Dutch Tour rookie spent six days in the yellow jersey, but is now heading to Tokyo, where he will go for Olympic gold in his favorite mountain biking discipline.

“My Le Tour de France is already a success. I prefer to run to Paris, I like it here. But we also have to take into account my other goals, ”said van der Poel.

“We made the decision this morning, I’m not starting today’s stage,” said the 26-year-old.

“Thank you for an incredible week and all these unforgettable moments, Mathieu”, declared his team Alpecin Fenix ​​on social networks just before the start of the race on Sunday towards a summit finish in Tignes at 2100m altitude .

“Mathieu Van der Poel will not be at the start of today’s stage and is leaving the Tour de France after an incredible week!

Grandson of French cycling legend Raymond Poulidor, Van der Poel set the tone with his resounding victory in stage 2 where he took the yellow jersey that his grandfather never wore despite eight podiums on the Tower.

It took a Herculean effort and he first threw himself to the ground breathlessly before crying in relief for the family debt settlement he had promised his grandfather, saying “if only he was there”.

Road fans in France then cheered him on from western Brittany to chic ski resorts on the Swiss border where Van der Poel dug deep to maintain his lead, but his large frame meant the all-rounder was incapable to follow the lighter climbing specialists.

On Saturday, “VDP”, as fans call him, approached champion Tadej Pogcar and spoke briefly before relinquishing the chase and the yellow jersey.

Although he was never intended to win the Tour, he will long be remembered for igniting the fuse during an explosive edition of the Tour where adventure was the order of the day in the middle of the drama and emotion as France emerges from isolation with fans roadside racing a hero they briefly found in Van der Poel. – AFP

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