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Mathieu van der Poel on the non-presentation of the cobblestones of the Tour de France: “I am only the shadow of myself”

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Where was Mathieu van der Poel on the cobblestones of the Tour de France on Wednesday?

It’s history that got lost on a stage with more headlines than even the biggest broadsheet could cover.

A dry and dusty day in the Roubaix region saw the Dutch dynamo of Alpecin-Deceuninck rocking at the back and battling for form.

“It’s not positive. Instead of a better day, I was worse today. I’m currently a shadow of myself and it’s frustrating. I have no idea what’s going on. I’m not really ready to burn right now,” Van der Poel said. Wielerlflits after the step.

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Van der Poel disappeared after riding through the Copenhagen time trial with his characteristic severity on Friday.

Working for sprinter Jasper Philipsen in the Danish road stages gave way to what he described as a rapid downward trajectory when the race reached France.

Van der Poel was far from the grid when his rival Wout van Aert went wild in Calais for the yellow jersey victory on Tuesday.

Crossing the line nearly four minutes behind the leaders at Porte du Hainaut at the end of Stage 5 on Wednesday confirmed that Van der Poel lacked the dynamite legs that carried him to two top 10 finishes in Paris- Roubaix and to victory in the Tour of Flanders.

“In the stages in Denmark, I didn’t really notice it, but I already noticed that I wasn’t running with extra weight. If they start running fast, it’s really on the limit for me,” Van der Poel said. Wielerflits after his cobblestone aspirations crumbled on Wednesday.

Mucky faces, missing legs for MvdP on the Tour’s cobbled stage. (Photo: Getty Images)

Three explosive weeks of winning stages, dressed in pink and making hay in the mountains at the Giro d’Italia in May left Van der Poel less than five weeks to bounce back in time for the Tour.

“In the Giro d’Italia it was good, but not excellent either. I don’t know… The preparation for the Tour wasn’t very good either, except the last week before the Tour. It was positive , but before that it was not,” he said.

“I haven’t reached the level I have in mind for a while. The only perspective now is to keep going and hope things will be better later.

An in-form Van der Poel would typically top any bookmaker’s betting slip for the hilltop finish at Longwy in Stage 6 on Thursday.

Van der Poel would not support himself.

“I haven’t had the desired legs since the time trial,” lamented Van der Poel. “I hope it comes, otherwise it will be a long Tour.”

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