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jimmythecuckoo

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2016/2017 Season Preview
« on: August 31, 2016, 11:42 »
We can start to look ahead beyond the World road championships now and into the upcoming season of Cyclo Cross. Season #1 A.S (the first after Sven).




Whilst taking a moment to remember the best since Richard Groenendaal, its nice to look forward to what is likely to be a two horse race for all of the big events across the coming winter.



Lars van der Haar and Wout van Aert are part of a new breed of riders who are able to mix cross with the road and to some level of success.

Here is a pretty decent calendar of events for you to bookmark... http://www.cxmagazine.com/2016-2017-uci-cyclocross-calendar-world-cup-c1-c2-national-championships

All kicks off at the end of next month (September)
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  • Slow Rider

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #1 on: August 31, 2016, 13:32 »
    Cross!!! :woohoo

    Going to be an interesting season in cross again. Wout van Aert will look to continue where he left off last season. His main opponent will of course be Mathieu van der Poel, the only talent in world cycling as exciting as Wout. However Mathieu will miss the first few races, though he should be there for the start of the Superprestige. The two will meet eachother in a lot of races this season, which I am unreasonably excited about. Still no idea who of these two is the bigger talent - I am really looking forward to seeing both compete against each other in top form.

    Although these two talents are great for the sport, their inevitable dominance is a bit sad for the rest of the field. Just imagine being Kevin Pauwels, being thwarted season after season by Nys and Albert. When those two pesky riders are finally gone... the two brightest young talents since Nys himself was young arrive on the scene.

    Pauwels, Van der Haar, Vantornhout and Meeusen are all firmly in the sub-top behind the two monsters of the sport. And even if those two for some reason both fail, another young talent is waiting on the lines: Laurens Sweeck showed a lot of promise last season, which should hopefully continue this year.

    Two questions for me are Lars Boom and Zdenek Stybar. There was a lot of talk that Boom would return to cross this season, but after his move to LottoNL I have not heard anything about that. It seems unlikely he will ride a full season, but maybe he'll be allowed to pick up a few races along the way, like Stybar?

    Finally, my personal favourite: Lars van der Haar. Still young and definitely a big talent, but Lars has so far not really been able to make the step to the absolute top. He is good, but lacks power on the really tough races. His sprint means he is a challenge to anyone on a relatively easy parcours, but he unfortunately I don't see him competing for any of the classifications - unless Mathieu and Wout mess up seriously. I still hope with age Lars can make another step and become that little bit tougher, but I fear that won't be for this year.

    Anyway, as you might have noticed, I'm excited. I missed all of last year's cross season, so look forward to following it from the start this year :)
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #2 on: August 31, 2016, 15:11 »
    Copying here a post of mine (which is not really polite but still) that I made on the General News thread but I thought some might have skipped it and I think it can be interesting to know, at least for speakers of Dutch.  ;)

    Quote
    The crosses of the so-called Brico Cup will be live on VTM this year.  :cool

    Geraardsbergen on 9/11

    Meulebeke on Oct 8

    Bredene on Dec 30

    Maldegem on Feb 1

    Hulst on Feb 12

    Commentaries b Merijn Casteleyn and 4-time World Champion Roland Liboton

    Brico Cup is no ranking though, just those events are gathered together. It's DIY store Brico's return to cycling 18 years after they co-sponsored the infamous Mapei Bricobi team.



    (GvA, today)


    By the way, is Lars so great on the road? One of the best in the field for sure but I've followed his road seasons since his first U23 years and it wasn't that great. He could race WT races because he's been in a WT team but that's it. I mean Lars Van der Haar of course.

    But this year was great for cyclocrossers on the road. Especially Wout was shining. I still cannot believe he outtimetrialled Tony Martin in the Tour of Belgium prologue. Then you have Tim Merlier winning the Zottegem GP. Impressive. Shame that Mathieu missed his attempt to qualify for Rio.  ;)

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  • "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)

    jimmythecuckoo

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #3 on: August 31, 2016, 16:31 »
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  • Slow Rider

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #4 on: September 02, 2016, 14:19 »
    http://www.wielerflits.nl/nieuws/205038/lars-van-der-haar-mist-las-vegas-en-iowa.html

    Bad news for the first few cross races: Lars won't make it to Las Vegas and Iowa because of an inflammation on his hamstring. The Superprestige race in Gieten is also at risk.

    I guess we can already write down Van Aert as the winner of those first two World Cup races by now, with his main two competitors gone.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #5 on: September 02, 2016, 14:38 »


    The uncertainty for Gieten is worrying because he would be lagging behind in two rankings. However it must surely be "less bad" to be out now than in late December but sure as hell, that's not good.  :(

    Apparently he's had difficult weeks behind his back, so I understand that the worst is behind but perhaps I interpret his comments wrongly.

    It's an article from De Morgen by the way
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #6 on: September 13, 2016, 20:42 »
    Belang van Limburg 10th of September 2016




    Laurens Sweeck:
    Quote
    Behind Wout & Mathieu there's a tier with names such as Pauwels or Van der Haar. That's where I wanna belong.

    Marc Herremans, team manager of Era Circus (former physical trainer of Kevin Pauwels, former triathlete until a nasty crash in Lanzarote in 2002,  he's been wheelchaired ever since)

    Quote
    He did physical testing in recent weeks like I have never seen
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  • jimmythecuckoo

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #7 on: September 15, 2016, 10:35 »
    Last winter I put all of the links to cross races in the video section of the website.

    Is that the best place or should we have a thread in the forum where they are embedded each week?
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #8 on: September 17, 2016, 12:13 »
    Well I think I'm gonna be able to watch most races this season so I don't know how to answer.



    Good season start by Marlux riders: Michael Vanthourenhout 2nd, Klaas Vantornout 3rd and Kevin Pauwels 4th.

    Vanthourenhout says he surprised himself. He had a knee injury in summer and therefore his road season could not be fruitful for him. He never thought could compete with the best on the Kapelmuur but at a moment during the race he had thought about winning.

    Vantornout says laughing that his season is already a success  :lol Last year he never podiumed and this year it's already done in his first race. THe reason is: less pressure and more pleasure (article headline too). He only does what he enjoys doing. That's why he pulls out of the US races [he too!!!]. This weekend he races in Switzerland, which is also pleasant, he thinks.

    Article from the Belang van Limburg.

    Nice to see that Danny De Bie is now back working with Kevin and Klaas, two former Fidea riders, remember.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #9 on: September 20, 2016, 20:30 »
     

    So again, Belang and GvA




    The two American cyclocrosses are far too expensive for most European/Belgian riders.


    Mathieu Van der Poel seems to be the first to claim "Those two crosses in America, what does it bring in?" Mathieu had to pull out of them due to injuries but questions if he would have raced them in top form. He does not see the benefit of it because the UCI does not give the teams any support at all.

    Klaas Vantornout and Eli Iserbyt also skip them. For Bart Wellens - DS of Steylaerts cycloteam - the investment costs are way too high.

    Jürgen Mettepingen estimate the cost at 25,000€ (actually 24,750€ if you look at the graph) for the three riders, the DS and three staff members but therefore he does not get anything financially and commercially in return. His sponsors don't have interest in the US and the race is aired at a t time nobody's in front of his telly in Belgium (6.30am Thursday morning and midnight on Saturday, ed.). But he considers it a blessing that there's a second race in Iowa City because thereby it's sportingly speaking worth it.

    Wellens claims that for Wout Van Aert the trip to the US is absolutely no problem because he's sure to get a good result but for second-tier riders it's a financial bet.

    Gianni Vermeersch (Steylaerts) paid the whole trip, strictly from his own pocket !!! Fortunately, he could find support from mechanics of the "friend team: Beobank Corendon otherwise it would have been absolutely unpayable.

    If you look at the prize money on the right, you notice that Gianni Vermeersch needs to race both times 6th in order to amortise the cost of the trip. Hardly possible for his standard. However says Vermeersch it's important to start them because the World Cup is the most remunerative ranking. He got 6,000€ for being 10th last year. Besides, it's also important to get UCI points, important for his place on the World ranking which defines where he starts.


    The graph shows that Marlux is spending 3,000€ for overall expences on the place. 4,000€ for hotels. 1,000 for camping cars. 1,500€ for renting cars and fuel. 250€ for bike boxes. 15,000€ for flight tickets (bikes included).

    Gianni Vermeesch paid 1,300€ for the flight tickets (Brussels-Vegas, Vegas-Iowa City, Iowa City-Brussels). 300€ for transporting 2 cross bikes and 6 pairs of wheels. 1,700€ for a 12-day stay in hotels. 
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #10 on: September 21, 2016, 21:45 »
    Michael Vanthourenhout went to the Vegas casinos, tried everything and lost everything.





    Articles for het Nieuwsblad and Gazet van Antwerpen. I’ll translate the Nieuwsblad one, which seems to be the most complete.

    No Caesars Palace, Bellagio nor Circus Circus for Marlux-Napoleon games. They let the gigantic casino fever literally aside for a small hotel on the outskirt of the city. Much safer for training and the view over the Spring Mountains is phenomenal.

    Michael Vanthourenhout however says he’s gone the day before yesterday to the “Strip” (I understand it’s the area where all the casinos are gathered?). They walked around for one and a half hour, that was enough. Michael also tried everything in the casino but also always lost.

    Michael claims that Vegas is definitely cross. I reconed the route and it’s still a lot harder than last year. There’s no mud but the obstacles are following each other in a fast tempo and it’s constant up and down. Last year the race remained closed for a long time but just be sure that there will be big gaps this year.

    ”On a road with a lot of vertical gain I can already beat Van Aert”

    The way Van Aert is currently racing, he’s Michael’s top favourite and he expects Kevin Pauwels right behind. He’s seen him in recent weeks and the way he rides makes Michael sure he’s gonna be in there. Then you have about four riders who can target the third place and he puts himself in the pack.

    In Geraardsbergen he lost the race in a stupid way. He knew Van Aert would try to cut the corner on the inside and yet he let him pass. He had just raced 4 minutes totally full gas and was no longer fresh enough. He made a bike handling mistake and the bird went flying.

    On a route like Geraardsbergen or Valkenburg he can beat him. But on heavy mud cross he’s still so many percents better. “Just look at our bodies; he’s much more solidly built than I am. I know I’ll never have a body like Wout’s but I’m working hard on it. And routes with a lot of vertical gain are in my favour. There I can already beat him now.”

    It’s in any case his ambition to put his feet next to Van Aert and Van der Poel but not this year yet. He feels he’s still progressing and expects to really be at the top in about one or two years. This season he wants to compete for podium on every cross, winning once in a while and have a good ranking in the World Cup. He still thinks these are the most prestigious crosses. And he already has the Worlds in mind. He’s heard that the route in Luxembourg is taylor-made for him.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #11 on: September 27, 2016, 11:46 »
    After the race Sanne Cant realises that she shouldn't have come, same reason as mentioned above: too risk financially.



    Sanne Cant rings the alarm bell

    Investing €4000 in order to earn €570

    Contrasting with the Belgian men's success, no Belgian hit the top10 in the women's race. Sanne Cant was 13th in Iowa City.

    Quote
    I'll never come back here. This travelling, this jetlag, this temperature, that was body torture. And what do you gain for that financially? Nothing. Even more serious, I'll have to race a lot of Euro crosses in order to add up for those expences in trip and hotel cost.

    The UCI wanted to make cyclocross more international with World Cup events in the US but Cant must laugh at that.

    Quote
    There were just a handful of Euro women here. I'd gladly help promoting cyclocross in the US but where was the World Champion? Comfortably in her sofa at home. Shouldn't she come here in order to promote the sport?

    It begs the question why Sanne did come. Otherwise she's right, I guess.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #12 on: September 27, 2016, 20:40 »
    On the above posted article from the Belang van Limburg, the journo says that Van Aert is passing by the "Union Jack" and the Lion of Flanders (sic). He mixed the Union Jack with the Stars & Stripes, I guess. Anyway the same journalist writes for the Belang van Limburg as for the Gazet van Antwerpen, so the articles below are from GvA but more or less the same as in the Belang. The GvA also has an article about Sanne Cant's comment but I'm sure it doesn't tell anything different than what you have above.  ;)




    To the Finish on Nine Toes


    Even a crackin a toe cannot stop peerless Wout Van Aert from smashing the field last Saturday in Iowa City. After a failed start due to a piece of wood stuck in his derailleur, the World Champion managed to close the gap in a minimum of time on leader Laurens Sweeck. With two laps to go he literally dropped him. Afterwards Van Aert honestly admitted he felt no pain in his wounded toe.

    Only in the beginning he felt it a bit. The heat was a bigger obstacle for him. He never raced a hotter race in his career than in Iowa City (29°C). In the last lap, he felt cramps coming.

    Van Aert won the three crosses that he entered on US soil (Waterloo,Las Vegas and Iowa City), always in an impressive way but he does not consider himself uneateable. Last year he also had a lesser period after an excellent start and from next weekend on two fresh Dutchies are coming back [Van der Poel and Van der Haar] even though they are back from injuries and lack race rhythm.

    After two World Cup events in the US, the whole top10  in the ranking is Belgian. The first non-Belgian is *nl Thijs Van Amerongen, 11th.

    The internationalisation of cyclocross still needs being worked upon.

    It's also very optimistic for the future of Belgian cyclocross since Kevin Pauwels aside, all the others are U23: Laurens Sweeck, Toon Aerts and Michael Vanthourenhout are 22, Wout Van Aert is 21 [they say 22 in the article but not yet!] and so is Quinten Hermans.

    Laurens Sweeck:

    Quote
    I tried to make Van Aert suffer but I've hurt myself more than him



    The Biggest Tom Meeusen Fan Comes From Kansas City

    Believe it or not, the best supporters of cyclocrosser Tom Meeusen come from God-bettered [?] Kansas City. Brent Bartram and Lynn Coleman did a 500km trip to Iowa City to cheer for their hero from the Campine and despite the 30°C Brent put on a gorilla suit in order to seek the Belgian crosser's attention.

    How the hell did a guy from Kansas City become a fan of Tom Meeusen?
    Quote
    I find cyclocross a great sport and I like rooting for the underdogs. And I like Tom Meeusen's acrobatic style. I've never been to Belgium yet but in the coming years I'm sure to give it a look on the Koppenberg and in Zonhoven.

    Tom Meeusen himself found it great:

    Quote
    Wow I didn't expect that. I'll sure say hello to him



    Before the race, the broken toe on Van Aert's left foot was the topic of discussion. He was to decide the morning of the race if he could start. He could hardly push on it, it looked blue and on Friday he only did a 40km training with coach Niels Albert and could not recon the route. According to the doctor, it should last for three weeks before the pain goes away and 6 of them before the injury is fully healed but that is for ordinary people he says and perhaps it's faster for him.

    Indeed, it seems it is.

    John Meehan the organiser of the Iowa cyclocross was very ambitious and expected 15 to 20,000 spectators. The Belgian journalist seemed stunned. Las Vegas only had 2,000 spectators and the town is hardly 65,000 people, including 35,000 uni students. There's no promotional ads anywhere. The greatest event of the day in the town seems to be the Northside Octoberfest beer festival.

    John Meehan said that cyclocross gets bigger and bigger in the US and for the first time it's covered by major broadcasters. NBC Sport streamed the race live on its websites (any of you had seen it?) and provided a replay on Sunday and Monday evening.

    There's a lot of potential in the US and that's why Meehan does not understand why some Belgian DS are no advocates of cyclocross in the US. There's a lot of money to gain and even if Belgians are sceptical, it was to be great that evening, he says. 
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #13 on: September 29, 2016, 11:44 »
    Belgian Championship on 8 January will be held in Ostend. For the 100th edition Belgian fed have designed a temp bridge linking the beach to the hippodrome.  :lol



    It's will be the first ever cyclocross nats in Belgium.

    Socialist mayor Johan Vande Lanotte said he did everything to make sure that riders take the beach. Besides, they ambition to organise the Worlds in 2021.

    It will be a 2650m route including 1342m on grass, 480m on the sand, 413m on cinder, 80m on asphalt and 335m on the bridge, the eyecatcher of the route. 8 meters above the railway (I think it must be the coast tram). The finish will be on the hippodrome.

    Paul Herygers claims it's a route for Wout Van Aert who can make use of his power and running capacities. (Well every route are for Wout Van Aert, I guess)

    It's not a real hard route, says former World Champion but there are hard passages like the one whereby the riders are leaving the beach to take the bridge but it will be a nice championship, he says.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #14 on: October 02, 2016, 11:48 »
    Laurens Sweeck beat Michael Vanthourenhout in Neerpelt, in Van Aert's absence.

    I'd like to get back on the Belgian nats, knowing that it's not interesting in itself to the international community but the route seems so spectacular that it deserves further talks.  ;)

    There was a long article in the Krant van West-Vlaanderen last Friday. It was the front page of the paper's sport extra and I can confirm that it's really the most cycling-friendly newspaper in Belgium. Shame that it's just a weekly newspaper.

    Anyway







    West-Flemings about the Belgian Championships in Ostend


    Michael Vanthourenhout

    Quote
    In Ostend it’s gonna be indeed something special because I’ve never crossed on a beach before. On the Zilvermeer in Mol, you’ve got something similar but still … I’ve also seen that there’s a bridge on the route. These extra vertical gains and the length of the bridge will be in my favour, I guess. If it rains it might get heavy even though on the beach it can get smoother.


    The Zilvermeer is a lake in Mol, there’s some sort of a beach but it’s not a long section and a lake beach is probably something different.

    Dieter Vanthourenhout

    Quote
    It’s gonna be something special. I saw on the plans that there’s gonna be a lot of straight passages. I know the hippodrome because a few years ago I went there to look at the cross country running nationals. It’s gonna be a bit comparable with the 2014 nats in Waregem. Wait & see what the passage on the beach will prove. Running or riding? The weather might decide. With bad weather it’s going to be something for the runners and then I think it’s gonna be more than ever something for Wout Van Aert. In any case, it will be a hard national.

    Gianni Vermeersch

    Gianni was 5th in Iowa City (thereby he may have amortized the expense of the trip to the US, after all. :)

    Quote
    Ostend is not even 20km from home. A championship in one’s own area is always fun and motivating. […] The biggest bridge that we’ve ever climbed up was the one in Hamme-Zogge, half-way on stairs and the second half on the bike but it was not longer than 100m. It’s gonna be worth it if you bear in mind that we will have a heavy section just before [the one on the beach, that is]

    Eli Iserbyt

    Quote
    It’s something for the big engines because there are a lot of straight parts in it. I read that the bridge 8m is with a 21% gradient. It will weigh on the finale. It’s always hard to race on beach sand, whereby we might need to run a lot. A lot will still depend on the weather condition. If it freezes, it will be a tactical speed cross. […] Hopefully it won’t because it would make the race less nice. If it rains it may enable us to ride through the sand but we would in any case have a heavy section on the hippodrome. I remember the nats in Waregem. It was still worth the effort, you know.

    Klaas Vantornout

    Quote
    I saw a plan at the race presentation last Wednesday. I heard that that bridge is very steep and long and as far as I know there’s never been a cross on a real beach. So in any case it gets very special. Hopefully it won’t be too bad a weather because I read that an alternative route is planned. Of course I rode several times on a beach in training. […] Tire choice? For the beach that is straightforward: as wide as possible slicks (laugh) But of course there’s still the other part on the hippodrome where I have never ridden on. Then it might be rhino’s again. De distance between the bridge and the hard part of the beach is very long. Maybe you can ride through it on the bike but that is not gonna be possible on the way back.


    The project cost 900,000. They expect 15,000 to 20,000 spectators including 2,000 to spend the night. 700 voluntary workers should keep the whole thing under control.

    Confirmation that Ostend wants to hold the Worlds in 2021 and also a World Cup event in 2020.

    It’s really a cross on an unprecedent route. The bridge is not just the link between the beach and the hippodrome but also an “eye catcher”, from 15 December on. Confirmation that it will stand above the tram railway AND the Queen Astrid Avenue (Koningin Astridlaan). This bridge will of course not be accessible to the public. In case of extreme circumstances like a hurricane that only occurs in 25 years there’s an alternative route planned.

    Former World Champion Paul Herygers (1994 in Koksijde) – he was himself a sand specialist, which is not mentioned on the article – does not leave any doubt, it’s a fitting route on which the best riders must get it and that is normally Wout Van Aert but the form and the circumstances of the day also play a role. The finish on the hippodrome is unique. The spectators in the tribunes will have the chance to follow the whole race on the high screen.

    Ostend does have a tradition in cyclocross with two great figures. One is Norbert Dedeckere, former amateur World Champion in Prague in 1966 and who died last year at age barely 66. The other one Charel Van Houtte was a sort of mentor to Dedeckere. He will be 87 in November and is still “alive & kicking” [in English in the text]. He was the driving force behind the organization of the first North Sea Cross in Middelkerke (Noordzee Cross) in 1960 [the oldest cyclocross still raced in Belgium] and won it in 1963 ahead of an international field with Rolf Wolfshohl *de and Renato Longo *it. And yet he’s never been selected for the Worlds. 
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #15 on: October 04, 2016, 19:54 »
    Several Dutch-speaking Belgian newspapers released a Cyclocross Guide (Veldritgids) last weekend and yesterday. I scanned a few pages of Het Laatste Nieuws (but it's 72p long !!!) and all of the 48 pages of the Gazet van Antwerpen guide. Then there's the Nieuwsblad guide which is roughly the same GvA.

    Sorry for non-speakers of Dutch, no translation this time. I guess it's already pure madness of my part to scan all those scans and share it to you :o. But you have the whole calendar somewhere on the scans so it can be interesting.  ;)

    I don’t even have time to talk about the great come back by Mathieu Van der Poel but I’m glad about that win. :cool

    So the whole Gazet guide for starter (I’ve only skipped a few pages that are dedicated to an uninteresting contest for the readers), I'll see afterwards if I have some more, if you are interested don't hesitate.  ;)




    The front page of the Laatste Nieuws’ « Veldridgids » also features Wout Van Aert with this headline « The Cannibal ? ». I’ve always thought that since last summer the Belgian press has overhyped Wout while they knew full well that Mathieu Van der Poel could at least be on par with him. If there is dominance Wout will share it with Mathieu. In my opinion it’s even possible that Mathieu dominates the field, Wout included. It’s now Wout’s to show that he can beat Mathieu as often as Mathieu can beat him.




    I’m very fond of this page of the Laatste Nieuws guide, the Zonhoven waste dump.



    The Nieuwsblad front page, nothing special, just Wout’s baby face. ;) Nieuwsblad’s guide is pretty similar to the GvA one but for a few extra ads, I’d say.


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  • « Last Edit: October 08, 2016, 09:52 by Echoes »

    jimmythecuckoo

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #16 on: October 05, 2016, 10:18 »



    Its coming :)
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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #17 on: October 05, 2016, 10:45 »
    Thanks for posting all these Echoes! Nice to read these previews. The page about Crelan and Wout van Aert himself seems to be missing by the way.

    On the Wout-Mathieu discussion: it makes sense the Belgian media go crazy for Wout. He was absolutely dominant last season. And he is a Belgian, with his major competitor a foreigner (at least nominally). The love for Nys was also at its most intense when the competition was Dutch (Groenewegen) or Czech (Stybar), and cooled a bit when it was Belgian (Albert). And Van Aert's road performances this year have helped the hype as well.

    I honestly do not know who between Wout and Mathieu is the better rider, and for the sake of the sport I pray neither of them will end up dominating totally - although if one will, then I'd prefer it to be Van der Poel ;) But really, a big rivalry between these two can only be good for the sport. And hopefully a few of the others can compete as well.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #18 on: October 05, 2016, 11:48 »
    Thanks for posting all these Echoes! Nice to read these previews. The page about Crelan and Wout van Aert himself seems to be missing by the way.

    Thanks for noticing Slow. I always missed pages 30 & 31 about Namur (and with the picture of Mathieu showing the knee). They're added now.  ;)


    On the Wout-Mathieu discussion: it makes sense the Belgian media go crazy for Wout. He was absolutely dominant last season. And he is a Belgian, with his major competitor a foreigner (at least nominally). The love for Nys was also at its most intense when the competition was Dutch (Groenewegen) or Czech (Stybar), and cooled a bit when it was Belgian (Albert). And Van Aert's road performances this year have helped the hype as well.

    I honestly do not know who between Wout and Mathieu is the better rider, and for the sake of the sport I pray neither of them will end up dominating totally - although if one will, then I'd prefer it to be Van der Poel ;) But really, a big rivalry between these two can only be good for the sport. And hopefully a few of the others can compete as well.

    There's truth in what you say. I probably expressed myself wrongly. I do understand the media attention around Wout (though I fear it might impair his performances), especially after his amazing road season  but I don't really understand how they feared total dominance by Wout while it stood clear that once Mathieu come back, the rivalry would at least resume.

    Last year, Wout really dominate only when Mathieu was absent or not yet back in form but once he was in top form, Wout was regularly beaten by Mathieu (not all the time though, as at the Worlds). I can tell you. You were far away back then but believe me, though the two are miles above the rest, Wout and Mathieu are on par with each other at this point. Normally commentators should know it.

    After Gieten (so on Monday), you have this article from the GvA (there was a similar one in Het Laatste Nieuws):



    "Oof! The suspense is back" While it was to be expected.  :shh

    (Sorry again, I have no time for a translation but for you SR it will be no problem)
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #19 on: October 05, 2016, 15:52 »


    Article from Sport Voetbalmagazine with its French-speaking counterpart Sport Foot Magazine.

    The French version never stops making us laugh. They say "L'été dernier" Boom was 14th at the cyclocross Worlds ("Last summer", thus).

    The Dutch-speaking version knows that cyclocross is a traditionally practiced in winter.  :D

    This being said according to the article Boom has skipped the road Worlds in Doha to race more crosses as a build-up to the cyclocross Worlds in Bieles, Luxembourg. He's ambitioning a top3 this time.

    Stybar has also announced he would start a few crosses at Christmas time but for him they are just a sringboard for the road season.

    Boom's last full cross season dates from 2008/9. In 2010/11 he won Zolder (WC Event) and was Dutch champion until 2012.

    I guess it was mentioned in the transfer thread that he's leaving Astana for LottoNL?
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #20 on: October 08, 2016, 10:58 »
    The oldies can no longer keep up, said the Gazet van Antwerpen on 4 October




    On one day they would crop. Then the experienced Kevin Pauwels, Tom Meeusen and Klaas Vantornout would reign along over the cross. We thought so at least because nowadays they are not just crushed by Wout Van Aert and Mathieu Van der Poel but also by the storming talent of Laurens Sweeck (23), Toon Aerts (22), Jens Adams (24) and Michael Vanthourenhout (22). Are the ‘older’ Meeusen, Pauwels and Vantornout definitively done?

    Sven Nys’ analysis:
    Quote
    We are the witnesses of a generation clash, which does not surprise me. Sweeck could already mix it up with Van Aert and Van der Poel in the youth, so it’s logical that he can also come close to them now just like the other up and coming youngsters.
    It’s also not the first time that you saw that. I remember the Sven Vanthourenhout generation. They also thought that it was their turn, at a certain point until they all of a sudden were overtaken by youngsters like Albert and Stybar who from the youth straight made their way through to the top. Don’t underrate that. It’s mentally very hard.
    I however want to remain a bit careful. We are still early in the season. Everybody’s still fresh. Besides, we’ve so far had crosses that are in favour of quick and explosive riders. If winters lasts longer than the experienced crossers will make their way back up. But it’s for sure that they will have to fight for their place




    Tom Meeusen’s (aged 27) last great victory was Loenhout last year (in December, last race of 2015), though he won 4 other smaller crosses. Since then he’s never reached the shadow of Wout Van Aert and Mathieu Van der Poel.

    This season he started every great cross but has never reached the top5 in them. His 7th place in Gieten is his best result so far.

    What he says

    Quote
    Fact is that the global standard in cyclocross has raised massively in recent years and that you also notice it in my results. I’m not riding more slowly than before but they are currently so many good riders that it’s sometimes fighting to even reach the top10. That the great difference. The places have become much more “expensive”. In the past you’d win one top cross a year and for two or three years you were sure of your place in the cross peloton. That’s gone.
    Cross has got so attractive that good young riders strong-mindedly chose for cyclocross today while in the past they were quick to make the step towards the road. It surely is not easy. 20th in Geraardsbergen, 14th in Iowa, 11th in Las Vegas… I admit that my confidence went away.
    On the other hand I know that a route like Las Vegas does not suit me at all. That has never been so in the past. Besides I’m usually better and better as the season goes on and the crosses get heavier. Don’t forget that, please, we are still just in early October. Let’s not draw too quick conclusions.

    Kevin Pauwels’s (32) last great win was the final cross in Oostmalle last season but he also won a good “TV cross” in Niel [Mettepeningen’s words, lol] and a ranking event in Ruddervoorde.

    This season he had a nice 2nd place in Iowa but was neither top10 in Vegas nor in Iowa (I add a nice 4th place in Geraardsbergen)

    What he says

    Quote
    I’m a bit embarrassed about not even being top10 in Gieten. That’s not my standard. Normally I should manage to do better but it really didn’t go. Initially I still felt good in Gieten but that feeling was quickly gone. It also has something to do with these young guys being better than I . They really must have made a step ahead but it’s most of all a sign that I am a bit less goed myself. I don’t know how that comes but I hope that it quickly turns because at this moment it’s just disappointing

    Klaas Vantornout’s (34) last great win was the Belgian title in 2015.

    This season he’s already won the smaller Swiss cross in Baden and has been 3rd in Geraardsbergen. He skipped the US crosses.

    What he says

    Quote
    I’ve accepted that youngsters are better. That’s not new either. Last year you could already see it coming. And even the year before. By then I had problem with it. I fought against it with all the consequences of it. At the end of last season I was physically and mentally totally down. That didn’t make sense at all. Since then I “turned the button” [Dutch idiom to say “change the way I see things” of something of the sort]. Yeah the youngsters are better. But what then? I’m 34 and I’m happy with the career that I’ve had. I can sleep with that. Even my results. Whether I’m 5th or 10th, it does very little to me.
    The pleasure is now back above all else in me. That’s why I’ve also skipped the crosses in America. That only gives stress. Then I ‘d rather stay home. Let me just simply cross again. Even the leadership should not even be anymore – I’m not even paid for it anymore, which doesn’t mean to say that I have no power in the legs anymore but I used to be disappointed when those young guys were better and now I’m glad that I can sometimes put them in trouble once again.
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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #21 on: October 08, 2016, 16:45 »
    Good win by Mathieu Van der Poel at the Berencross (Meulenbeke) today, Wout van Aert was apparently a bit ill this week and hadn't completely recovered. He was nowhere near good enough anyway. The good news is that Bosmans was able to follow Van der Poel almost until the line. Bosmans had some tough years due to Lyme disease, but seems to be better than ever this year, which is good news for the cross. A lot of exciting young talents breaking through this year in the wake of Wout and Mathieu.

    On the oldies; the article is right, it seems they're unable to keep up. But to be fair, Meeusen has always been an outsider at the very best, never close to Nys, Albert and Pauwels, so no surprise he cannot keep up now. Vantornhout always had to rely on a few races each year but was never a huge winner either. Only Pauwels at his best may be expected to keep up with these youngsters and even that is a lot to ask. To be honest I've never liked Pauwels that much, so I'm not unhappy he's made way for more exciting talents anyway. Pauwels will be ok though, he'll be somewhere in the second line alongside the likes of Van der Haar, taking the occasional win but nothing more.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #22 on: October 18, 2016, 11:30 »
    Next Thursday - 20 October - is the GP Daniel Callewaert in Ardooie, one of the rare cyclocrosses that Sven Nys has never won. I'm not sure it would get televised though. Poster in Het Laatste Nieuws.  ;)




    Post Merge: October 18, 2016, 11:39

    Edit: other news, Michael Vanthourenhout has won the cyclocross of Contern in Luxembourg ahead of his brother Dieter and Marcel Meisen



    (Het Nieuwsblad)
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #23 on: October 21, 2016, 17:11 »


    Het Nieuwsblad/Sportwereld - Belang van Limburg - GvA

    So Wout did what Sven Nys never did, winning Ardooie!  :lol

    Het Nieuwsblad/Sportwereld headlines: Van Aert Sovereign in the Modder

    Of course Mathieu skipped that cross but Wout gained confidence and dominated the race from lap 1 to finish.

    Quote
    Here I can easily make the difference. Without wanting it I was alone in front. Afterwards I was looking for m own tempo. On such a hard route you can push through. On another part of the route [road sectionis], you can take some rest. Racing on half srength is impossible because ou can get through the mud. I enjoyed those routes much more than fast crosses. This win is a confirmation that the condition is still good. It's hard to compete with Mathieu but I'm still in his neighbourhood. I hope we get such routes in big crosses very quickly, in which I can get a good battle with Mathieu. In Valkenburg it has rained too. If it rains all week long it can be really muddy, though those part will be more technical. Valkenburg is alwas an explosive race. Unfortunately all the uphill parts are on the road or running. Shame that the organisers don't enable us to climb on the grass. Regardless of the weather it will be hard.


    Belang van Limburg headlines: Wout Van Aert Master of the Mud

    gazet van Antwerpen headlines: Finally, Mud. Finally, Hard Cross

    The articles are roughly the same in all three newspapers

    The Laatste Nieuws gives a small article about the Van Aert's win but more detailed info about the new Crelan Team with Crelan slowing down Nuyens' project of a merger between Crelan and Veranda Willems.



    Crelan Put the Feet on the Brake of Nuyens' Project

    Luc Versele of Crelan says:

    Quote
    We are ready to get involved in Nuyens' project but every party involved should get in agreement. As far as we are concerned there can be though budget rise. We want to grow along with Van Aert but some have shouted too fast that Wout should made the step towards road cycling and that he should start the Tour of Flanders. We know that cross is dear to Wout Van Aert's heart and that he is sober enough to understand that road cycling is totally different. The guarantee of an income that he now has is less big there.

    He called it a matter of weeks before the issue  can be completed. A ProConti team cost a lot more than the current team.

    Today there's a new deadline for sending the file to the UCI because no contractual agreement can be lodged to the UCI at this moment.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #24 on: October 22, 2016, 11:11 »


    Sven Nys Waits For Van der Haar

    (Morgen – 20 October)

    Last Sunday, Tom Meeusen finished 12th in Zonhoven, almost 3 minutes behind winner Mathieu Van der Poel. Besides Niels Wubben was lapped twice and Toon Aerts, Jim Aernouts and Thijs van Amerongen did not finish. Sven Nys did not have many reasons to be happy. He first said it to his riders in the mobile home and then via Twitter to the rest of the world:
    Quote
    Our elite riders were absolutely bad today

    The Team Nys standard is far below the rider Nys standard.
    Quote
    Everybody cannot be as good as Wout Van Aert or Mathieu Van der Poel but the norm still is that every rider should reach the best of himself. Everybody agreed with me that they could do better in Zonhoven.

    The riders are under contract until end 2017. So is Nys. In the short term he wants better results from Meeusen and is waiting for the coming of Lars Van der Haar. The Dutchman must be the true leader from 1 January on: a role that currently lays on Meeusen’s shoulders.

    Quote
    Meeusen is the team’s neon sign. He’s popular and can do things with a bike that others cannot. But he’s not Wout Van Aert. I don’t expect Tom to podium every week but he sure reach the top10. A place on the podium shouldn’t be an exception.

    From 1 January on every hope lays on Lars Van der Haar’s shoulder. The Dutchman is under contract with Giant until 31 December but already works very closely with Nys.

    Quote
    I’m his trainer along with Paul Van den Bosch. We have daily contact and sometimes train together. I’m informed about all details. More than with my other riders who have their own trainers and with whom I have limited contact.

    Van der Haar now already knows what is expected of him when he starts the GP Sven Nys in Baal with his new Telenet-Fidea jersey. Nys:
    Quote
    Lars knows that the bar is high. In every cross he should be in contention for a place on the podium

    Winning, that of course may as well.

    ****

    I’ll be very angry if Slow Rider does not give me a “like” for this. :D

    ****

    (Gazet van Antwerpen – yesterday)

    In Ardooie Tom Meeusen won last year against Nys. This year Tom can hardly move ahead. The usually well informed website veldritkrant.be argued that it’s not going well within the Nys team. However Nys does not seem to have heard anything about it though he doesn’t deny that he wants to knead the team to his philosophy.

    Is there a place for Tom Meeusen in his philosophy:
    Quote
    Sportingly speaking Meeusen isn’t worth leadership but commercially he is and remains a popular rider

    The riders seem to shut up because you don’t question a monument like Nys unless he’s got a tendency to self-destruction. However it seems that many of them are currently in search of a new employment. Their criticism: “Sven Nys is still too much a rider and not enough of a coach/manager. It still turns too much around Sven and not enough around hen.”

    However the renners need to take a look at themselves says the journalist. A cyclocrosser who takes a week long holiday in July shouldn’t be surprised if he’s “cycled from the cupboard to the wall”.

    Both have their flaws. The cyclocross icon had the firing ambition to be the best during his career. He has the same ambition as a manager. Noble ambition but not really realistic. As long as Wout Van Aert and Mathieu Van der Poel are doing their thing in cyclocross, Nys will have to realise that the 3rd place is the highest reachable place under normal circumstances. Getting Van Aert and/or Van der Poel is just as impossible. Van Aert has found love with Niels Albert and Van der Poel is too cocky to listen to Nys.

    ****

    Very poor article if you ask me. As though Nys hasn’t realized yet that with Van Aert & Van der Poel his leaders can only ambition a third place.

    ****

    On the Nieuwsblad and GvA articles above you can see that Toon Aerts reacted positively to the criticism by claiming second place to Wout Van Aert (+40”) in Ardooie. Quinten Hermans – who is still U23 – was 5th, Corne Van Kessel 6th and Nicolas Cleppe 7th.

    Adams:
    Quote
    As riders we were shocked that such things were written though I think the criticism was magnified. The criticism was not directed at me personally but at the whole team. But as riders we can place that incident well. As a team we have enough quality to restore the situation. I like heavy routes. Interval races like Valkenburg are not really suited to me.

    Manager Sven Nys drily tweeted “Class” after their riders’ performances in Ardooie.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #25 on: October 31, 2016, 23:37 »
    Toon Aerts, new European Cyclocross Champion hit the front pages of Het Laatste Nieuws and Gazet van Antwerpen today.







    The organizers of the podium ceremony confused him with his 4 year younger brother Thijs, current U23 Belgian champion [so did the French TV at the start of the race, actually.].

    Aerts is a late-blower who only start crossing over at age 17 but with a big motor. It’s half a wonder that could win a fast speed cross (29.5kmh). Last year the 188cm tall Campiner had morning pulse of 45 and a maximum one of 195.
    Quote
    My VO2 Max is among the highest of all in among crossers.
    Thanks to this great engine, he secretely dreams to race Paris-Roubaix in the long run.
    Quote
    Don’t make me a weekly favourite. This role is still fit for Wout and Mathieu. I just hope now I can be one of the guys just below them, somebody to always be watched out for. I mainly want to be high in the rankings because that’s a sign of consistency.

    Aerts’ win secures Belgium is 8 spots at the Worlds. It’s ironic since Rudy De Bie let him aside at this year’s Worlds.

    It’s also a boost for Telenet-Fidea. The first for the team since Sven Nys is manager. Nys and his lions got rampant criticism due to the absence of results. Aerts was an exception. Nys wasn’t present, as was agreed before. Sven Vanthourenhout and Kris Wouters were. Nys backed his son Thibau at a novice race in Alsemberg (the elite race of it was won by Braam Merlier, Tim’s younger brother) and on Sunday he led an youth initiation on the Balenberg, so in his own Baal. He doesn’t wish to talk about a relief because the criticism came from outside and on the inside there never was any kind of tension.

    It’s the first time this season that both Mathieu Van der Poel and Wout Van Aert are beaten while both at the start. Van Aert made a big goal of it and yet gives it as a present. Niels Albert showed afterwards that he would never have let it happen that way. Van Aert does do it and got credit for it.

    Van der Poel was the best man in the race. He attacked three times just after the hurdles and three times Van Aert got in his wheel, only just to be countered afterwards by another Belgian.
    Quote
    I was a bit fed up doing all the work. Had I kept catching all Belgians than I would have wasted energy and I would have been cooked at the end. Twan van den Brand did an excellent job at keeping the gap with Aerts as small as possible. But had Lars slid along with Aerts, he was European Champion. He probably couldn’t do better. Even though this is the European Championship, you don’t have the feeling it’s a championship. The Worlds is still much higher noted. At the Worlds, I’ll react differently.


    One question remains? How relevant is a Euro when even the two top favourite let their stubbornness speak rather than their winning instinct. It was a success: 12,000 visitors over two days. The route was fast. Several Belgian provincialers would have killed for such neat and green grass. But such route belongs in cyclocross says Van der Poel himself. Neither Van Aert nor Van der Poel for once as a winner but a tactical race with a lot of talk afterwards. This Euro was a blessing for the cross and its diversity.

    Quinten Hermans defended his title. Quinten got to cyclocross through his father. Wendy Hermans started his company All Print in 2004, current co-sponsor of Telenet Fidea and 11 year old Quinten got his first cross bike two years later. But it seems like Quinten cannot get along with new manager Sven Nys, though he seems to claim that he's making his way. "New boss means new rules. For some that's good, for others less so."

    Thalita De Jong *nl won with a great display of power the women's race but behind her the Worlds was tainted by crashes. The British team was already decapitated at the start when Helen Wyman and Nikki Harris crashed together and were carried away bleeding. Sanne Cant was hindered. She had to quickly change bikes and blew herself up trying to chase Thalita.
    Quote
    My race was already over mid-race. I only came here for the jersey. My house is already filled with medals.

    Jolien Verschueren was the closest to a medal (4th)
    Quote
    Without this crash in lap 1 caused by a stupid [!!  :o] Frenchie I would have been on the podium just like last year. I lost 20 seconds. I missed those wasted strengths at the end

    Thomas Pidcock of Leeds won the junior race. He is as good on the track as in crosses. He's described as the new wonder kid of cyclocross. In the week before the Euro, he trained on the track. No specific training. Yet when he enters a cross, the others know they are fighting for second. He did a long solo from lap 3 on.
    Quote
    I still don't want to choose between cross, track and road

    Bronze was for Tiemo Kielich. Unexpected as he had to start from 5th grid. Before the Euro he thought he was a better mountainbiker than crosser. Maybe he'll reconsider that thought.   
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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #26 on: November 02, 2016, 21:26 »


    Three in a row for Wout Van Aert on the Koppenberg.




    Still the Gazet van Antwerpen.

    The Belang gives pretty much the same article:



    Wout Van Aert wins the Koppenberg Cross but finds the route too hard.

    The coordinator Simon Lamon [son of the late journalist Luc Lamon whose memory was honoured by a minute silence before the start] was aware of the hardness of the route:
    Quote
    The riders who had recoed the route in recent days could already tell me about it: that was the limit but since we could no longer use the field on the left side of the Koppenberg we needed to redesign the route on the right side of the climb.

    A matter of money, it seems. It's not going well with agriculture and so the farmer on the left side of the climb all of a sudden was asking for €7,000, 2,000 more than last year for the use of his field.

    [total support to the farmers, from my viewpoint. I need to say it.  :)]

    The organizers refused to pay and the farmer on the right side were better with that and so the organizers saw a chance to make the finish on top of it.

    Wout Van Aert:

    Quote
    I didn't have that info before racing. It's not my intention to break the organisation off. I just want to say that this was on the edge. It was climbing up or down. On the previous route I still had sections where you could regroup. Here  you almost didn't have. On each climb we almost got to our limits. Each descend was an attack against our body. There's more to this fantastic hump than this route, this I remain convinced off. Design a route that is half as hard as this is and you have the same outcome. This was more fighting against yourself, which doesn't come good for the entertaining value.

    [Wout, some spectators love it when you are fighting against yourself. It's the meaning of epicness]


    His colleagues agreed with him. Toon Aerts said in his typically Campine dialect: "wa was da, joeng" [What was that, boy?]. Lars Van der Haar found it the filthiest descend ever. Only Kevin Pauwels could reconcile with the route:
    Quote
    Had it rained it wouldn't have been doable but now I'm 2nd and for me the 2nd place is like a victory.

    [he doesn't seem to be of the opinion it was a good route if he doesn't think it's doable under rain ???]

    The Morgen insists on Van Aert's words: "An attack on the body"



    "Hard, harder, hardest" , they introduce their article with these words.

    Then they claim Wout made his complaint after the race while he was already giving his opinion in the pre-race interview.

    Wout:
    Quote
    It was good for just one time. There's still more todo around here. Organisers should take us into account. By the season's end I will have raced about 40 crosses and by then we still need to stand on our two legs.

    Van Aert still won in an old-fashioned way:

    Quote
    I've found back to old Wout Van Aert. I think I raced 60' in the lead altogether. It was having the race under control in an old-fashioned way. I permanently put pressure so that ultimately only the best could follow, first Toon Aerts and then nobody. I'm glad with the way I raced. This was just the style of the old days.

    [speaking like he was 35 year old.  :lol ;)]

    That day came the confirmation that Crelan would be a ProConti team in 2017 but Wout keeps focusing on the cross in the first place, even if the ProConti status enables him to set up a road calendar of higher level.


    And scoop, Wout will probably race the Tour of Flanders !!!! On Saturday, the one for cyclotourists.  :lol

    [you feel that he's annoyed at the same questions being asked over and over again.  :D]

    Only one guy could follow a raging Wout Van Aert for 40' and that was Toon Aerts but he too had to give in and ultimately landed on a 4th place. Aerts wants to heartily thank the attendance. For them, the Euro Champion jersey is like the muleta on the bull. He's never been so much cheered for. He's happy with 4th place, just like he will be happy with 5th or 6th place in the coming weeks.

    Total off-day for Mathieu Van der Poel:
    Quote
    I had already felt it in the warm-up but then you just hope that it will get better during the race. After one lap I already knew it enough. I managed to bridge a gap with Wout but that was the last convulsion. I couldn't see it coming, unlike what occurred to me last year in Francorchamps. Unfortunately it wasn't a route where you could put this away.

    The crossing teacher Jolien Verschueren beats the World Champion [Thalita De Jong] and wins the Koppenberg Cross for the second time in a row. In the first lap she quickly managed to bridge the gap with the fast started Thalita De Jong. Both dominated the race and seemed on par with each other. Thalita put Jolien under pressure in the descents. The East-Fleming with her 45kg was better in the climbs. 
    Quote
    The race was really taylor-made for me. For me there can be a Koppenberg Cross every week

    [Let's remember that Jolien is a teacher outside of the sport and hence she's still amateur. Cross is just a hobby for her. Her coach at Telenet-Fidea, Sven Vanthourenhout was asked during the race whether Jolien could race road, for example on "The Race" which is held on the Izoard next year and he answered that he wasn't sure whether Jolien could handle the distance of a road race and could bunch race, if I understood wisely.]

    Kobe Goosens aged 20 will be transferred from Telenet-Fidea to Marlux. 
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #27 on: November 07, 2016, 21:47 »


    Artikel of Het Laatste Nieuws about Ruddervoorde:

    Things Back in Order (could be the headline)

    Mathieu Van der Poel decided to go on an attack in lap 2 and from then on for Wout Van Aert it was "fasten your seat bell" [in English in the text].

    It was said that that Van der Poel had Frank Vandenbroucke style but Mathieu wisely reacted saying it shouldn't be misinterpreted.  :D

    About the Koppenberg he said:
    Quote
    Of course racing in that position with such a huge gap behind was painful. Of course it was creeping in my mind. But in a positive way. I couldn't find just one specific reason for that off-day. It must have been a combination of factors. I felt tired from the Euro, mostly the long trip back. So I listened to my body. Most of all: rest. I've slept for three days. While I immediately had the next cross in my mind on Wednesday.

    This last thing is important. What mental resistance this Van der Poel shows! How does he do that? (shrugging the shoulder)
    Quote
    Just like that. It's the way I am. Not looking backwards but forwards. Every counter-performance makes me greedy. It stimulates me to fly even harder and to prove myself and the rest of the world that one "wrong hour" does not mean anything.

    Mathieu further realises that it's the only ranking in which he still has anything to gain.

    It's very nice to read because Mathieu has often been considered mentally fragile in that he was said to badly deal with pressure during championships (see the two losses to Wout at the U23 Worlds in 2014 and this year's elite Worlds). Quick judgment, I've always thought.

    Then of course he claimed he was good but still not great and made too many mistakes on a route that was taylor-made for him (that was the post-race interview).

    [Ruddervoorde is an interval training if I remember well with a lot of short ups and downs and technicality, so perfect for Mathieu]

    Mathieu keeps training in Belgium this week and races the Brabant GP in Rosmalen, Netherlands next Saturday.

    Wout Van Aert certainly did not discount Mathieu as a favourite for Rudder after what happened on the Koppenberg.

    Quote
    Mathieu is still Mathieu. He too can have a bad day but most of the time he recovers very quickly from it. If he gets his good old legs back, then he's up there for a win. On such a route, I didn't expect anything else. Mathieu may have done a few more mistakes than I have but these were the consequences of high speed at which he took the turns. One makes up for the other. With a high dose of nerves on this slippery ground he immediately make up for the lost time after such skid. It was hard for me to keep up with him. There wasn't much more I could do.

    Wout's honesty.  ;)

    He also had to laugh at Mathieu's "good but not great". It "sounds more fun when you win", he says.  :D

    He bike changed at the moment Mathieu started to attack but also on this he's not looking for excuses. It might not have been smart even though he thought it wouldn't really have consequences at the end of the race but he claimed that sooner or later he had to change bike somewhere else. Mathieu was just stronger.

    Wout also seems to criticise the point system for the Superprestige by which there's a one point difference every place. So he's been 3 times second to Mathieu so far but is still in contention for the win. If you have one off-day or one unlucky day and it's all over. So that's why he keeps hope.

    Besides Gieten, Zonhoven and Ruddervoorde were typically Van der Poel crosses. Asper-Gavere, Francorchamps and Diegem are less so. Mostly in Asper-Gavere he can let his strengths do the talking. He's won there for the last 4 years, 3 three times as a U23 and once in the elite ranks. It's his ambition to win a 5th one in a row.

    Asper-Gavere is a legend for me. The most telegenic of all cyclocrosses and one of the oldest. Stybar once said that every top crosser wants to have it on his own palmares.  ;)



    (Belang van Limburg)

    On Saturday Tom Meeusen won his first cross of the season in Sint-Niklaas (that's the town where my grandfather went to school  ;)): The Waaslandcross. Unfortunately in Van Aert and Van der Poel's absence only 4,000 spectators entered the field. Last season it was in February for the BPost Bank Trophy (now DVV Trophy) and it counted 8,000 tickets sold. The organiser Gery Smet would love to get back to a ranking but therefore he needs an organisation to go bankrupt. Jürgen Mettepeningen claimed that with such a scenario for the next 2 years they will have to close the book.

    Tom decided to skip the Euro in Pontchateau and to do an intensive training instead. On the Koppenberg he still felt the training in the legs but in Sint-Niklaas he raced like in his best days. Rob Peeters kept up for long but eventually dropped.

    Also Meeusen thought that the route was made too heavy for a non-ranking event prior to the Superprestige event in Ruddervoorde on the Sunday. Erwin Vervecken admitted that they had added an extra loop but that they had better not do it. Next season they'd do it differently.
  • ReplyReply

  • Echoes

    • Road Captain
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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #28 on: November 13, 2016, 15:16 »
    Impressive solo by Mathieu today. Wout probably wasn't fit after his intensive training session in Spain but it might pay off in the coming weeks.


    If only Mathieu could stop with those wheelies. It's so silly and useless. If you make a great performance, you are not forced to make a fool of yourself like that. Shame! I'm starting to dislike a rider I really liked.  :(
  • ReplyReply

  • Slow Rider

    • Classics Winner
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    Re: 2016/2017 Season Preview
    « Reply #29 on: November 13, 2016, 18:19 »
    That was a masterclass by Mathieu. Technically perfect, and very powerful too. Could well be that Van Aert was suffering a bit from the long-distance training he did, but that takes nothing away from Van der Poel's win - he was brilliant.

    I don't really see what the problem with him celebrating with a wheelie is. The man is just having fun, no idea why that would make anyone dislike him.
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