Brussels (AFP) - Dutch cycling ace Mathieu van der Poel fought back tears on Saturday after he won a World Cup cyclo-cross event in the Czech Republic just three days after his legendary grandfather Raymond Poulidor's death.
Poulidor, who died aged 83 on Wednesday, is a household name and national hero in France after finishing on the Tour de France podium eight times, winning the hearts of rural France without ever having won the event itself.
Van der Poel is world cyclo-cross champion, European mountain bike champion and winner of this year's edition of road racing's prestigious Amstel Gold classic.
"It's been a tough week, a very painful one," the tearful 24-year-old told Flemish television.
"I hope you enjoyed the race up there," he wrote on Instagram.
Despite his Tour de France disappointments, Poulidor ranks among France's cycling greats and is seen as a humble hard worker loved by the people who earned every one of his many triumphs.
The multi-discipline Van der Poel is tipped by many inside the sport to avenge his grandfather and eventually win the Tour de France.
Poulidor will be given a funeral in his hometown village in rural central France on Wednesday.