Meet Mathieu van der Poel AKA The Eternal Second

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Often regarded as the greatest prospect of the sport, Mathieu van der Poel is an all-rounder Dutch cyclist who has made a name for himself in the mountain biking, cyclocross, and road racing community.

People are amazed at how one person can be so versatile to shine in three different types of sport. Mathieu had had a successful career from his junior season when he won 32 out of 32 matches.

During the process, Mathieu became the youngest elite men’s world cyclocross champion at the age of 20. Later in his senior career, he has impressed every person he has come across.

Mathieu van der Poel celebrating a win
Mathieu van der Poel celebrating a win

Recently, he came into highlight after wearing the yellow jersey for six days at the 2021 Tour de France. He is one of those rare personalities that enjoy cycling more than the name and fame.

Let’s learn more about him in this detailed article, starting with some quick facts.

Mathieu van der Poel | Quick Facts

Full Name Mathieu van der Poel
Birth Date 19 January 1995
Birth Place Kapellen, Flanders, Belgium
Current Residence  N/A
Nick Name The Eternal Second 
Religion Christianity
Nationality Dutch
Famous for being Pro road cyclist
Ethnicity Caucasian
Education N/A
Horoscope Capricorn
Father’s Name Adri van der Poel
Mother’s Name Corinne Poulidor
Siblings Older brother (David van der Poel)
Age 29 years old
Height 6 feet 12 in/184 cm 
Weight 165 lb/75 kg
Hair Color Dark Brown
Eye Color Blue
Build Slim
Hobbies Listening to music
Favorite Destination N/A
Profession Road cyclist
Marital Status Unmarried but not single
Kids None
Net Worth $4 million 
Merch  Pro Cyclist Gear
Last Updated May, 2024

Mathieu van der Poel | Early Days

Mathieu van der Poel was born on the 19th of January, 1995, in Kapellen, Flanders, Belgium. Poel was born in Belgium, but he is from the Netherlands.

Mathieu was born the youngest child to his father, Adri van der Poel, and Corinne Poulidor. His father was Dutch, whereas his mother was of French nationality.

Both his maternal and paternal side of the family has a cycling background. His grandfather from his mother’s side is the great Raymond Poulidor, a public favorite French cyclist.

Similarly, Mathieu’s father has won Tour de France stages, one-day classics, mountain biking titles, and cyclo-cross.

Mathieu van der Poel joined the Belgian Alpecin-Fenix team when he was about 17 years old.

“When I was 18, I was spotted by Philip Roodhooft. They offered me a chance to ride for them as a prospect. Mathieu joined me two years later,” stated David, Mathieu’s older brother.

He went on to win many cyclocross races and junior race titles in his early career.

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Mathieu van der Poel | Early Career

The Dutchman debuted his junior career in the 2009/10 season, but it wasn’t until the 2012/13 junior season that he made a remarkable achievement.

That season, he won all of the 32 races he participated in, including the world title. He performed much better than his older brother, who won 25 races out of 30.

Mathieu van der Poel during a race
Mathieu van der Poel during a race

Mathieu was the better cyclist of the two. David commented on Mathieu’s achievements in his junior career,

“Mathieu had all the skills; everything was a big playground for him. He was more daring, he was more graceful, and he could always climb faster than me.”

Mathieu first raced for the BKCP-Powerplus and later moved to Beobank-Corendon just like his brother did. He also reached the no.1 ranking in the world ranking as a junior.

Mathieu van der Poel | Cycling Style

Mathieu van der Poel does not have the speed like the sprinters in the race, but he has the raw, extensive power to cycle through a long-distance attack. That is how he mainly attempts to win the race.

His style of building victory from a long distance and his attitude has impressed many cycling fans over the years, but this strategy can be unrewarding sometimes as it is risky.

One of those times was the 2019 World Championship which was held in Yorkshire. Mathieu attempted a long-distance attack, but he couldn’t keep up till the finish and, as a result, finished 11 minutes behind 1st place.

In an interview with Velo Magazine, back in March 2020, he admitted that he attacks too early sometimes.

Though it is risky, he has proved that he is a master of the style and has a sense of when to attack. He has worn the yellow jersey, which his cyclist grandfather never got to wear.

Mathieu van der Poel’s Talent

Every once in a while, there arrives an athlete who is just too good for the sport and dominating personality. Like baseball’s Babe Ruth, basketball’s Steph Curry, tennis’s Roger Federer, the dominator of the cycling world is Mathieu.

Poel has proved that he is a versatile cyclist, capable of winning titles in different races.

Mathieu van der Poel enjoying a day at the beach with his girlfriend
Mathieu van der Poel enjoying a day at the beach with his girlfriend

He was the 2013 junior road winner and the 2013 Cyclocross World Championship titleholder; being able to achieve such a feat at a young age, he was compared to the greats.

Neither Lars Boom nor Zdenek Stybar, two of the greatest cyclist, had won a world championship at such a young age. They did not have a record as good as Mathieu’s in his age.

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Renaat Schotte’s comment

Renaat Schotte, covering cycling as a journalist and field reporter for almost 25 years, also agrees that Mathieu is something special. In 2017, he said, and we quote,

“I think there’s a Grand Tour rider in him. I’m quite sure that in the future, if he specializes in road racing, that he will be a contender for GC (General Classification); there’s no doubt about that if you ask me.”

Well, his prediction was spot on. In the 2021 Tour de France, Mathieu van der Poel put on an incredible show. He took the lead on the second day and did not degrade his position until the following week.

“It has been an amazing week for the team and me, we have won two stages, and we have had yellow for six days. It was my first Grand Tour, and I think we can be proud of that,” said Mathieu.

Following his sixth day in the yellow jersey, he quit the race to practice for the upcoming Olympics.

Mathieu van der Poel | Family of Cyclist

Mathieu’s father, Adrie van der Poel is a former world cyclocross champion; he won the title in 1996.

Papa van der Poel was a classics specialist who has won the Amstel Gold Race, Tour of Falnders, Clásica de San Sebastián, and the Tour of Flanders. He also came in second, behind Greg LeMond in the 1983 World Road Championship.

Moreover, he has also accumulated five silver medals, racing in the World Cyclocross Championships.

Moving on to his grandfather from his mother’s side, Raymond Poulidor was a French road cyclist who raced for Mercier for his entire career. He is the winner of 1964 Vuelta an España.

Furthermore, he has also finished at the podium eight times in the famous Tour de France event, but despite that, he has never won a single Tour de France title.

Poulidor won the one-day classics Fleche Wallonne and Milan-San Remo. In addition to that, he reached the top 3 of the World Road Championship but never finished at the top spot.

Following such a career, he was given the nickname ‘the eternal second.’

Moving on, Mathieu’s older brother David was the first of the two brothers to make a name in the junior category. David was on fire in his second season as a junior; he won 25 races out of the 30.

Moreover, he won the 2009/10 Junior Cyclocross World Cup series winner and came in 6th in the 2016 World Championship.

The Family Genetics

Many cycling fans and sports analysts speculate that the genes from both sides of Mathieu’s family are one of the reasons for his extraterrestrial performance.

Mitochondria found in the cells of organisms produce energy and regulate respiration; this system has its DNA and is passed down from a mother to her offspring.

In addition to that, his father was also a cyclist. Mathieu and his brother David were a result of two significant cycling genes. Mathieu’s grandfather was not much of a winner, but he had the panache, the public’s love.

Moreover, his father was also a great cyclist with many titles to his name. It seems like he got his winning genes from his father and persistence from his mother’s side.

The inherited respiratory, cardiovascular, nervous system, and musculoskeletal system is an advantage for a second-generation athlete.

In addition to that, he was also exposed to professional training at an early age and grew up being influenced by athlete diet.

Adding all those factors in, we get ourselves super athletes capable of the impossible.

Mathieu van der Poel | Net Worth

The Dutchman’s salary is estimated to be around $4 million. Moreover, his annual salary is $2 million.

Not much seems to be happening in his life outside of his cycling career. So, as of 2021, we can safely assume that his only source of income is his cycling career.

Mathieu van der Poel | Relationship

Mathieu has not been married yet, neither does he have any kids. At present, he has a girlfriend named Roxanne Bertels.

She is a fashion blogger based in Antwerp, Belgium. Her exact date of birth is unavailable at the moment, but she is 31 years old, two years older than Mathieu.

She is a foodie, a home decor enthusiast, and a traveling lover. She loves going to places with scenic views or places with historic buildings.

Roxxane Bertels sun bathing by the pool
Roxanne Bertels sunbathing by the pool

Moreover, Roxanne enjoys the sea; she loves getting sunbathed and tanned skin. She has posted a lot of photos enjoying a day by the pool sunbathing or by the beach.

Meanwhile, she also donates blood now and then and promotes blood donation on her Instagram. She also has a pet dog named Lola, a Shiba Inu, a hunting dog native to Japan.

Furthermore, she loves to dress fashionably. She loves to show off her beautiful dresses and stunning outfits on her Instagram. Roxanne also posts stories of Mathieu on her Instagram.

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Mathieu van der Poel | Trivia

His favorite movie is Welp, and when it comes to recording artists, his favorite is NF.

Poel has stated time and again that the Olympics is his main goal; nothing else stands in the way. Mathieu has said that his hero is his grandfather Raymond Poulidor.

The most embarrassing moment of his life was when he crashed during a video shoot for an ad.

Mathieu always takes his 4Gold Whey powder whenever he goes on a trip. He said he would have been a musician if not for this career. 

Social Media Links

Instagram: 818k followers

Facebook: 376k followers

Twitter: 176.3k followers


How does Mathieu van der Poel train?

Unlike most cyclists, Mathieu does not train for only one type of training. He participates in mountain biking, road race, and cyclocross throughout the season.

He needs to practice and train for the three in one session as much as possible. Hence, his training session is made up of different exercises focusing on three different types of racing.

What size road bike does Mathieu van der Poel ride?

Mathieu van der Poel rides on a L size frame (56cm). Since Mathieu has a broad and big body, the bigger frame helps him support his body.

How much does Mathieu van der Poel earn?

Mathieu van der Poel earns $2 million per year, but reports indicate that he could earn as much as $5 million annually, more than double the amount if he switched to being a full-time road cyclist.

Frankly, there are no signs of him turning full-time road cyclist; he loves cycling so much that he does not care about the monetary aspect of the sport.

Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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