Mathieu van der Poel: ‘Don’t believe I’ll ride faster if I don’t eat fries now’

Mathieu van der Poel (Picture: Triathlon Today)

While perhaps the entire triathlon community – and otherwise at least a huge part of it – waits for the moment when Mathieu van der Poel announces when he will participate in a Long Distance triathlon, just last weekend he impressively won another race within cyclocross. But what does he actually eat afterwards? The answer is simple: he enjoys some fries and snacks.

Nutrition is and always has been a recurring topic among athletes in general and triathletes in particular. For elite athletes, healthy nutrition is perhaps even more crucial than for the average Age Grouper, but of course, that doesn’t mean that there should not be any space for some guilty pleasures. At least not if it is up to Van der Poel, according to an interview with the Belgian VRT. On race days he does not eat vegetables and fruit, but mainly coffee cakes, fries and snacks.

The morning of race days, Van der Poel obviously does avoid fats and also skips oatmeal – which he otherwise almost always eats during his breakfasts – as much as possible because of the hard-to-digest fibers. Van der Poel therefore often opts for a pistolet with jam and a pistolet with egg on race days. “I don’t eat much on race days. When I train, I eat more than on a race day. For a cyclocross I prefer to be at the start with an almost empty stomach, because then you go all-in right from the start. A road race starts slower and takes much longer. Then you have time to digest everything and you need reserves.”

The afternoon before a race then often follows pasta with ham, cheese and ketchup. “With a fair amount of salt, especially if it’s warmer, because you lose a lot of that.”

In the evening – after the race, that is – the party can begin: Van der Poel then catches up on some “lost bread” and in the evening he prefers to go to a fastfood restaurant. There, the recipe is invariably the same: fries with ketchup and two snacks. “I don’t believe I’ll ride ten seconds faster next week if I don’t eat fries now,” he says.