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In just five months, the most anticipated sporting event, the Paris 2024 Olympics, is set to take place. However, it appears that Team USA is bracing itself for an intensified rivalry. Mathieu van der Poel has once again asserted his dominance, securing a remarkable sixth cyclo-cross world championship title.

Van der Poel has proven himself on the road. As the 29-year-old continues to make headlines, his versatility and prowess across disciplines set him apart as a true cycling phenomenon. It’s noteworthy that even amid controversies, such as the spitting incident, van der Poel persists on his journey, undeterred, with Paris 2024 still on the horizon.

Pedalling to Paris 2024 with passion and verve

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In the recent cyclo-cross world championships, van der Poel once again displayed his mastery. He won the muddy Czech circuit with a commanding lead of 37 seconds. Notably, neither the defending champion Tom Pidcock nor the formidable Wout van Aert contested, providing van der Poel with an opportunity to underline his dominance and finally, he made it to Paris 2024, as reported by ‘Cycling News’.

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Van der Poel’s prowess extends seamlessly from cyclo-cross to road racing, showcasing his versatility as a cyclist. Last season, he claimed victory in two of road cycling’s most revered races.

The ultra-long and demanding 270km Milan-San Remo witnessed van der Poel’s strategic brilliance. The cobbled mining roads of Paris-Roubaix showcased his ability to navigate diverse terrains with finesse. However, his journey hasn’t been as easy as it seems.

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Spitfire fines and boos galore

In December last year, during the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Hulst, World Champion Mathieu van der Poel was fined 250 Swiss francs by UCI commissioners for spitting at a group of booing spectators. Van der Poel explained that his actions were in response to persistent boos from the spectators during the race. He stated, “Even during the warm-up. I’ve had enough of those boos.” The organizers expressed disappointment at the spectators’ misconduct, emphasizing that such behavior does not belong to their cross-race.

The incident also involved the same spectators pushing two press photographers into the water. The organizers condemned these actions, stating that such individuals do not belong in their event or any other cyclo-cross course or sports competition. They pledged to take measures to prevent similar misconduct at future events.

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Despite this controversy, van der Poel’s achievements in the cyclo-cross season remain impressive. He secured victories in 12 races and experienced only a single setback at Benidorm. Wout Van Aert emerged triumphant in that race despite losing his saddle. However, it will be interesting to see him in Paris in 2024.

Read More: “…And the Last Time, Too”: Days Ahead of Cyclo-cross World, 5-Time Title Holder Mathieu van der Poel Hints at End of an Era