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Re: General Cyclocross News
« Reply #180 on: February 04, 2019, 20:36 »

Some commentators suggested Mathieu had a slight cold, maybe that's why he wasn't at his very best. He didn't dominate from the start, but this wasn't the ideal parcours for that. Van Aert and Aerts still had to go really deep to keep up with him, and both paid for it in different moments of the race. Even without the sideslope, Van der Poel would have won comfortably.

For a number of years, I've been hoping Lars van der Haar could show the kind of improvement Aerts did this year. He still hasn't managed anything like that. His technical limitations continue to harm his chances, although he does retain the ability to do very well in specific races he targets. Not quite well enough for this WC though, unfortunately.

VdP did not display quite the sort of dominance we have seen from him but the super fast course and the improved surface conditions (Saturday was far worse) surely levelled things out.

Pidcock just destroyed the U23 race and Alvarado didn't have it in the end of hers. Both nice races though and the future looks pretty bright for the sport in terms of the next wave of stars.

To try to link this, I think the Dutch team raced a bit more tactically with the obvious goal of winning the championship with van der Poel. I don't think they would appreciate Toon Aerts sweeping a final field of 4 dutchmen plus himself, like we saw Sanne Kant do. 
I think they used Lars van der Haar as an early pacesetter. He was often on the front on the early rounds, stretching the field a bit and clearly (in hindsight) he did this in a way that for him wasn't sustainable for the 12 rounds, as about midway he was clearly done for the day. However, this was probably also causing some pain for the fields well-known slow starter.....
The Belgians tried counetering with Vantourenhout (i think it was him), attacking, van Aert didn't follow, leaving the dutch to chase.

(These CX tactics are very common from XC races as well. I mean XC ... skiing of course :angel It is less teamwork than in a road race but still not completely everyone vs everyone when the championships are to be decided)

The Dutch strategy was (I think) taking an example from the UK victories in the men's junior and U23 classes, with a decisive attack about midway from the strongest rider of the day. It is not the first time we see a successful men's elite winner in the worlds copying the strategy of winners of the age-bracket classes. Road Worlds Ponferrada comes to mind with Kwiatkowski attacking just like Bystrøm, but there are more examples I am sure. If it works once, even twice, on the same course, why not just do it again? KISS principle...

PS: get CX on winter olympics  :cool

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  • Echoes

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    Re: General Cyclocross News
    « Reply #181 on: February 05, 2019, 19:15 »
    I recently read an article that suggested Van Aert's focus on the road is costing him his cross form: he is a few kg heavier, which is great for Paris-Roubaix but not so much when trying to follow Mathieu van der Poel on a steep hill in the mud. No idea whether there is anything to it, but it could be one explanation.

    In my opinion, there sure is a cause to effect link about Wout's weight. In 2016, during the Tour of Belgium when he beat Tony Martin in the prologue, I heard he weighed 77kg. Too heavy for the Ardennes stage back then, everybody said but I just realised that it is normally speaking way to heavy for cyclocross racing. I was even surprised that afterwards he was still so efficient in crosses, especially on muddy hilly courses, the only types of courses he could hope to beat Mathieu. Normally if you are heavy for a cyclocross rider (let say 75+ kg), you would dig trenches in the mud and rather hope for a fast road-like course, in dry condition (or else courses with long running sections like Francorchamps, which suited him best or the Koksijde of old in dry conditions, where tall men Erwin Vervecken used to win lots). With Wout, it was the opposite in the past two seasons (before this one, I mean). It's quite unlogical but then again, he's got to be an exceptional talent.

    What also surprises me is that Toon Aerts is even taller than him, also quite heavy (but on the web I rather see 72 kg, I question that) and a very technically gifted rider. It also goes against logics.

    I'm also very disappointed with Lars. I guess that the new training methods at Fidea, based on powermeters and all that is much more suited to Toon than to Lars. Remember that Tom Meeusen left the team disgusted. Though well Tom and Lars are not really the same type of riders either. In his first two seasons, Lars was such a promising rider but of course back then nobody could see how quick Mathieu and Wout would get beyond his level... :( By the way, I've just learnt that Lars lost his sister to cancer, a few years ago. He was so close to her. I'm wondering how much the tragedy affected him. :(


    T-72, oh no please, no Winter Olympics for cyclocross!
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