Van der Poel steps out of Tour de France to focus on Olympics
Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel left the Tour de France on Sunday after losing his yellow jersey a day earlier. Van der Poel said he will now prepare for the Olympic mountain bike race in Tokyo.
The 26-year-old cyclist had to step out of the peloton on Saturday, losing his yellow jersey to Tadej Pogacar. The yellow jersey is worn by the rider with the lowest aggregate time prior to the start of the stage.
After the completion of the race on Saturday, Van der Poel announced that he would make a decision on his rest day on Monday if he wanted to continue to the race. On Sunday, the 26-year-old from Brabant had already reached his conclusion stating that he wished to prepare for the Olympics at the end of July.
Van der Poel rode in the lead jersey for six days. Only Joop Zoetemelk, Wout Wagtmans and Gerrie Knetemann wore yellow jerseys longer in the largest cycling race in the world.
“It has been a great week for the team”, Van der Poel said, according to NOS. “We won two stages and were in yellow for six days. Unfortunately, I will not start today. I have decided with my team that it is best for me to focus on the Olympic games.”
Van der Poel's cancellation comes the same day as Primoz Roglic, the leader of Jumbo Visma’s team, dropped out due to injuries he sustained earlier this week. Roglic fell on Monday during a maneuver by Sonny Colbrelli and suffered several abrasions.
The Tour de France will continue on Sunday with a mountain stage over 145 kilometers from Cluses to the top of the Montée de Tignes. Monday will be the first rest day of the tour.