Adrie Van der Poel

As a road racer, Adri van der Poel was one of the best riders in the world for many years. The man from Brabant mainly shone in the classics. For years, Van der Poel rode a few cyclo-cross races during the winter in preparation for the road season. It turned out that he was also a top-class rider in this field. He won the silver medal at the world championships five times and during that period he also won the Dutch title four times. As from 1996, Van der Poel completely focused on cyclo-cross racing and that switch was rewarded with the world title in the French Montreuil.
Adri van der Poel is married to the daughter of Raymond Poulidor and that is why he was soon nicknamed the "eternal second". Because just like the Frenchman, Van der Poel often ranked second place. In addition to five silver world championship medals, he also won the silver medal in the Dutch championships five times. However, that nickname does not do justice to the Dutchman's roll of honour, because it also includes many triumphs.
There was nobody who could prepare for an important race like Adri van der Poel could. He was able to take on a lot of training work. He was a fanatic who lived for his profession. It gained him the Dutch title five times. At the world championships he came across a slightly stronger competitor just as many times. His silver medal in Munich in 1985 was an even bigger surprise, but later on he continued to win second place. Four years in a row, Van der Poel ended in second place at the international championship race. Especially the defeat in Gieten in 1991 hurt. Nobody seemed able to keep him from winning the rainbow jersey in the village in Drente, but Van der Poel was unable to break away from the Czech Simunek. During the sprint he had to acknowledge the Czech's superiority.
After another bronze medal in 1993, Van der Poel eventually succeeded in winning the rainbow jersey in 1996. After a blood-curdling race, the 36-year-old Dutchman won the world title in Montreuil. This gave the career of Adri van der Poel a new impulse. While wearing the rainbow jersey, Van der Poel won fourteen races the next winter, as well as the final classification of the Super Prestige Cyclo-Cross and the World Cup. After that, Adri van der Poel rode four more seasons at the highest level and was still at the top when he took his leave at the age of 40.
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