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Mathieu van der Poll: world champ lets fans pick his shorts

Mathieu van der Poll: world champ lets fans pick his shorts

Mathieu van der Poel is at a juncture, of sorts, in his career. He’s facing a litany of difficult decisions about how to move forward. Should he take a second chance on the Olympic mountain bike race in Paris, or switch to the road race? Should he continue racing cyclocross at all, given the impact it has on his road season? Should he wear white shorts with his world champions jersey, or black?

For the most important of those decisions, the Dutch men’s world champion is turning to his fans for help.

“Let’s settle this debate once and for all”

Van der Poel posted a reel to Instagram that included a poll. The poll: a simple choice between black and white. The reel? Van der Poel simply riding in his world champion’s kits, identical other than a switch between black shorts and white shorts. The caption? A challenge. “Let’s settle this debate once and for all”

(side note: if van der Poel this bored on his endless training camp in Spain, could we request that he please race the always-eventful Giro d’Italia next year instead?)

What’s the big debate? Well, black shorts with the world champion’s jersey is the traditional look for road racing. It has a classic look that is hard to argue with.

Matching white jersey and white bibs, though, looks amazing. It’s bold. It’s confident. It’s incredibly difficult for team staff to wash.

Fans of the sport are, to say the least, sharply divided on the subject. Lotte Kopecky, reigning women’s world champ, made waves when, after winning Strade Bianche in black and white, she brought back the matching white look for this year’s Tour of Flanders. She won Paris-Roubaix in the combo a week later.

Van der Poel himself seems divided. At Strade Bianche, where he lost to Tadej Pogacar, he wore white on white. To win his remarkable Monument double of Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, he was in black and white. So, maybe the results speak for themselves? The fans, though, have a strong preference for white, according to voting so far.

None other than Robbie McEwan, the iconic sprinter with a trio of Tour de France green jerseys, weighed in in the comments. His solution? White is for winning and warm weather, while black is for rainy days or when you don’t have any intention of winning. That seems both practical and like an unnecessary tactical giveaway, even if the Dutchman seems to be able to win on a whim.

The obvious answer

What’s missing in all of this? The obvious answer. Van der…

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