Van der Poel is the reigning cyclo-cross world champion and displayed even more range to his remarkable talent with three mountain bike World Cup wins during the summer.
Mathieu van der Poel wins European Mountain Bike Championships
But the Dutch star is back on the road in Norway and says he’s going to have to make a physical adjustment before he’s ready to perform at his best again.
“During the summer, when I do both, when I go from mountain bike to road, I don't have the endurance to be at my best at the end of a race. Then when I come from a long period of cycling on the road I don't have the interval training needed to go with the best guys on the mountain bike," Van der Poel said ahead of the four-day race.
"There's no real mental switch, it's just physically I'm not used to being on a bike for that long. I've prepared really well for mountain biking in the last months, doing intervals and not really endurance. It's more than a month since I did a long endurance training ride, so that will be the problem. That's the reason I wanted to start here again, to get back into racing on the road bike and get the endurance back."
Van der Poel: ‘My next goal? Winning the world road race’
Upon leaving Norway the 24-year-old will turn his focus towards preparations for the World Championships in Yorkshire, with a training block scheduled as well as participation in the Tour of Britain.
The undulating course through the north-England region seems to suit Van der Poel’s skill-set, and he says that 2019 could be a rare opportunity for him to get his hands on that title.
"That's one of the reasons I chose to do the Worlds, because I think I have a good chance,” Van der Poel said. “World Championships courses are sometimes too hard for me, or if not, it's a sprint. So I think Yorkshire is a good one for me."