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Echoes

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The Mathieu Van der Poel Appreciation Thread
« on: October 01, 2016, 12:33 »
There's a thread about Wout Van Aert, so there should be one for Mathieu, obviously.  :) (Lars & Kevin deserve one too but I don't want to overload these boards with riders thread, lol)

French flag is a joke about his many nationalities, or well he's got two nationalities but grew up in a third country, as you all know.  :lol

This being said, I have the feeling that Mathieu must be the most talented French cyclist at the moment :D. In the youth categories, he proved more talented than Alaphilippe, I think.



An article from the Gazet van Antwerpen, yesterday. An interview with both him and manager Christoph Roodhooft.

So first the journalist reminds us that Mathieu had a dual knee surgery and that the injuries halted his mountainbike campaign for the Olympics. He laid on the table with Toon Claes, a surgeon in Herentals (in Wout's domain  :P). Mathieu says that for the last three weeks or so he's finally been able to do some complete/quality training even though he still feels pain in with long and heavy efforts but the knees themselves are pain free. There are no signs that he should get other problems in the course of the season.

He targets a top10 place in Gieten, tomorrow. Of course, last year for his come back race in Koksijde he was 3rd but during the race he felt like he had a critical moment, so he does not wish to be too careless in prediction. Roodhooft adds to that comment that Gieten is a relatively flat circuit in which there may be 20 contenders for the win in the final 2 laps so that there's no reason to be too ambitious for that.

Wout Van Aert has dominated the start of the season in Mathieu's absence. Last year he could win every rankings and the Worlds but it was also due to Mathieu's absence at the season starts. Mathieu claims that Van Aert early successes in the US were expected and that he can make the season thrilling again [was the headline of the article which I could not scan "I can make the season entertaining"]. He managed it last year so why not again. He gives himself three or four weeks to get back to the top.

The World Cup is already gone and in the Superprestige and the DVV Trophy [replacing the BPost Trophy, which itself replaced the GvA Trophy], he also can lose a lot of ground to Wout in the coming weeks so he just wishes to race a good season and then see what comes out of it.

Roodhooft does not see any reason why we should take for granted that Van Aert is unbeatable. He also gives Mathieu three weeks to get back to the top. He fix the date 16 October. It's Zonhoven and Mathieu loves that cross a lot.


Mathieu has heard about Sven Nys criticism (interview in the Laatste Nieuws)
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If Mathieu does not get more serious, the gap between him and Wout will get very big while he can get further than Van Aert but then he should "press the button". He's still riding in the playground, making mistakes

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Somebody told me about this quote. What can I say? Everybody sees it differently in each other and for my part it does not always work to take it seriously all the time. Those who know me know that playful ways belong and probably always will. But if I crash while training that's not because I'm playing but because I'm trying to push off my limits. Is that not what Nys has done? And if last year I got back immediately after my injury, that's also because I did more than playing in trainings.

Roodhooft says that he would like to know what Nys meant by "making mistakes" while the cyclocross/mountainbike combo is exactly what Nys did in his own career. He acknowledges that Mathieu has a playful approach to the sport, that's true but he seems begging him to let a 21 year old living his job in another way as a 36 year old. He doubts that Nys has enough contact with Mathieu to give any judgment and encourages him to strictly give comments on his own riders. He does not want to raise controversy but wishes to defend his riders.


I've personally missed that Nys interview. I'm more in touch with the Belang van Limburg and the Gazet van Antwerpen than with the Laatste Nieuws, I'm afraid. But I'll try to get it.  ;)
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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)

    Echoes

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    I chose to post this article in the Mathieu thread, here.  ;)

    Article from Het Laatste Nieuws (4 October, last Monday) about the clash between Mathieu Van der Poel and Wout Van Aert




    Who is the best of them all?

    Talent & Technique vs Power & Character

    After Gieten Wout Van Aert said

    Quote
    If Mathieu Van der Poel gets EVEN better I have a problem

    Could it be? Four former World Champion don’t believe in it. The one is on par with the other

    Quote
    Together they put cyclocross to a higher dimension

    Sven Nys:

    Quote
    Wout more professional, Mathieu more playful
    With regards to pure cross technique I rate Mathieu higher than Wout. Van der Poel can put Van Aert to shame in one flash of genius like riding one lap damn hard through the sand, jumping over the hurdles, one unexpected overtaking manoeuvre: we saw a few examples of that in Gieten. Wout adds up to that with an enormous strength potential and outstanding power.

    With Mathieu you could not talk about a worthy summer. Wout’s fit to the smallest details. That you can conditionally face a jog. Mathieu is strong but also brittle. On heavier routes, he can pay the price for it, while Van Aert can get in better condition than in the faster routes that we’ve had so far. I than expect a slight regression for Van der Poel.

    They are great motors who have no rivals and together they put cyclocross to a higher dimension. Both are giving form to their career in their specific way. Wout is super-professional. Mathieu is for the moment a bit more playful, which can be a risk in the long run. At a certain point he’s gonna have to keep that playful way under controle.

    Roger De Vlaeminck:

    If Roger De Vlaeminck is shouting hosanna, then it should really be great
    Quote
    Good? Fantastic, that was last Sunday. I saw the most beautiful cross in years. A nice publicity for cyclocross. Normally I’m sitting quietly on my seat in front of the telly but now I’m broken down from stress, man. What a great rivalry. Mainly this shoulder to shoulder running upstairs: I intensily enjoyed that. I’m saying it to you: those two are God’s presents. Respect!

    Van der Poel is training a lot in climbing, you can see that in his running strength. A special guy, still. Of course he’s still going to improve but there’s also a huge “shelf” on Wout. That way they keep themselves perfectly in balance. On one Sunday, Wout will be the best, on the other one, it’ll be Mathieu, depending on the profile and the conditions of the route.

    A good crosser is of necessity a good roadie. I would like to see them race a major classic. I’d be curious to see who’s got the edge there. Okay, a bit of patience sure cannot do harm (laughs). Why would they already turn their back on cyclocross? Well they are the absolute top in their discipline. “By life and healthiness they can have 15 World titles between themselves, Jesus!

    Bart Wellens:

    Quote
    In the coming months, we’ll get some firework. I’m looking forward to the day Van Aert just like Van der Poel are top because they both can be a lot better. Van der Poel has had a disrupted preparation, Van Aert is suffering with a toe and has undoubtedly not yet recovered from the jetlag after his trip to America.
    A lot will depend on the route. Mathieu is a lot better on fast and technical routes, the heavy mud crosses are better for Wout. I’m already looking forward to Koksijde (20 November, ed.), that is a cross that can perfectly suit them both.
    Mathieu is the one with the more talent but Wout has more fortitude. Mathieu loves cycling and races on pure class, Wout must work very hard for it. This season we will not only have a physical but also a mental fight. The one who is losing about three time in a row will have a serious blow. I have the feeling that Van Aert can deal with frustration a lot better. At the last Worlds, both crashed together and lost both ground. Wout got a boost, Mathieu let his mind hung.

    Erwin Vervecken:

    Quote
    Those two are so close. Details will often be the decider. The route of course plays a role but surely also the shape of the moment. With young riders, good and bad days can seriously vary.

    Van Aert is the time-trialist, the one with the bigger capacity who can hold through a heavy effort for a full hour. Van der Poel is more the rider of the interval. He’s good in long attacks. Van Aert is not specifically made for cyclocross, he’s more an all-rounder. He’s like Eddy Merckx: not a natural born climber, but good enough to win the Tour of France. Van der Poel has more cross technique, more aptitudes. Even under pressure and “à bloc”, he handles it without mistake. Talent-wise he’s one step ahead.

    We shall see it day by day. Two years ago I found Mathieu stronger in his mind: he didn’t worry about anything and found everything fun but in the meantime Van Aert has caught up with him and he’s no longer panicking so quickly.
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  • Slow Rider

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    One interesting thing in the Van Aert-Van der Poel rivalry is that Van Aert seems to me to be most suited to the road, while Van der Poel is more likely to actually make that switch. And I find it weird a number of people seem to see Van der Poel's fun-loving attitude as a weakness. The man likes to race, he loves the sport. Which just means he will keep challenging himself, and is not likely to get burned-out from the whole thing. Seems to me more like a strength than a weakness.

    Also "not a natural born climber, but good enough to win the Tour of France"? Christ, I know you Belgians are excited to have such a big talent again, but Vervecken might be slightly overselling Wout here ;)
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  • Echoes

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    One interesting thing in the Van Aert-Van der Poel rivalry is that Van Aert seems to me to be most suited to the road, while Van der Poel is more likely to actually make that switch. And I find it weird a number of people seem to see Van der Poel's fun-loving attitude as a weakness. The man likes to race, he loves the sport. Which just means he will keep challenging himself, and is not likely to get burned-out from the whole thing. Seems to me more like a strength than a weakness.

    Well I don't know if you have info that I don't have, Slow, but I've never heard Mathieu talking about a possible switch. Wout is now scheduled to race a few WT races apparently though as I reported on his thread, his focus is still on cyclocross but he's still the one of the two that talked more about racing road (also because he's constantly been asked about it last summer, of course but he talked about his dream to race Paris-Roubaix and a GT for a further future though). Mathieu said several times that he found road racing boring, I've never heard that from Wout. Wout enoys cyclocross a lot more but doesn't mind racing road. Mathieu likes racing road when there's a climb because that's when there's a real race but he doesn't like staying in the peloton for hours at the start of the races for example. He seems a bit impatient.  :P

    Another thing that is interesting to me though is how Van Aert is indeed considered the best suited to the road stuff at the moment while Mathieu was a prodigy on the road too, since the novice category. I was already following his results back in 2011 and 2012, in the hills, he really was dominant. He could sprint, could climb, the ITT was a bit less good but he could do that too. He was perhaps one of the two or three best riders of his generation on the road in his last junior year (worldwide, really). At the same time, Van Aert did nothing of not on the road. He only started performing in 2014 in the Tour of Liege for example, if I am not mistaken. All these has to do with Wout being really small heighted at that time and growing up very fast in the last few years so that he now has more a physique of a roadie than that of a crosser. That's how I think we may understand Meeusen's analysis when he says that multitalents are now staying in the cross while they formerly went road and it's getting harder for riders like him.

    With regards to Mathieu's playful approach, I think only Nys has been criticising him. I think I rather agree with you.  ;) Mathieu is not a Betancur anyway. He never drinks beer.  :lol (really, you know). I think it can be okay for cyclocross and mountainbike but for the road, you certainly need specific training.

    However I saw a video with Adrie speaking with Van Hooydonck. The latter regretting that a multitalent like Mathieu contends with cross and mountainbike and Adrianus said that his son was training in a playful way, not following specific training schemes and without personal physical trainers. He does what he wants when he wants. So Adrie gives Mathieu two years training in that playful way and then he would have his son training more seriously and then hopes he races the classics on the road and prove that the cross - road combo is possible.

    http://m.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/dmf20160329_02208994

    Also "not a natural born climber, but good enough to win the Tour of France"? Christ, I know you Belgians are excited to have such a big talent again, but Vervecken might be slightly overselling Wout here ;)

    That part stroke me too but I think it was badly worded by the author of the article who has to condense the comments in a few words. I cannot believe that a level-headed man like Erwin Vervecken could be implying that Wout can win the Tour of France and is a new Merckx. I think he made an analogy. Merckx was not a climber on the road but could handle mountain stages. Likewise Wout does not have the body to be a climber in cross but still can be at his best in hilly crosses as opposed to Mathieu who is at his best in fast, technical crosses. I can relate that idea to a comment made by Michael Vanthourenhout, which I shared on another thread. The latter claimed that he can beat Van Aert on a hilly cross but not on a fast one, this being due to both their bodybuild. Michael is lightweight and Wout heavyweight.

    It's probably what Erwin more or less wanted to say.  ;)
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  • Slow Rider

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    Well I don't know if you have info that I don't have, Slow, but I've never heard Mathieu talking about a possible switch. Wout is now scheduled to race a few WT races apparently though as I reported on his thread, his focus is still on cyclocross but he's still the one of the two that talked more about racing road (also because he's constantly been asked about it last summer, of course but he talked about his dream to race Paris-Roubaix and a GT for a further future though). Mathieu said several times that he found road racing boring, I've never heard that from Wout. Wout enoys cyclocross a lot more but doesn't mind racing road. Mathieu likes racing road when there's a climb because that's when there's a real race but he doesn't like staying in the peloton for hours at the start of the races for example. He seems a bit impatient.  :P

    Another thing that is interesting to me though is how Van Aert is indeed considered the best suited to the road stuff at the moment while Mathieu was a prodigy on the road too, since the novice category. I was already following his results back in 2011 and 2012, in the hills, he really was dominant. He could sprint, could climb, the ITT was a bit less good but he could do that too. He was perhaps one of the two or three best riders of his generation on the road in his last junior year (worldwide, really). At the same time, Van Aert did nothing of not on the road. He only started performing in 2014 in the Tour of Liege for example, if I am not mistaken. All these has to do with Wout being really small heighted at that time and growing up very fast in the last few years so that he now has more a physique of a roadie than that of a crosser. That's how I think we may understand Meeusen's analysis when he says that multitalents are now staying in the cross while they formerly went road and it's getting harder for riders like him.

    With regards to Mathieu's playful approach, I think only Nys has been criticising him. I think I rather agree with you.  ;) Mathieu is not a Betancur anyway. He never drinks beer.  :lol (really, you know). I think it can be okay for cyclocross and mountainbike but for the road, you certainly need specific training.

    However I saw a video with Adrie speaking with Van Hooydonck. The latter regretting that a multitalent like Mathieu contends with cross and mountainbike and Adrianus said that his son was training in a playful way, not following specific training schemes and without personal physical trainers. He does what he wants when he wants. So Adrie gives Mathieu two years training in that playful way and then he would have his son training more seriously and then hopes he races the classics on the road and prove that the cross - road combo is possible.

    http://m.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/dmf20160329_02208994

    You're rifght, Mathieu never said anything about making the switch to the road himself - it's more everyone else saying that. Including, as you say, his father. It would be perfect though if Mathieu follows his father's plan, 2 more years full on cross and then trying to combine it with the classics. Hopefully Wout van Aert follows a similar trajectory.

    To my great shame ;) I've never really followed youth racing, so no idea what Mathieu did there. Is he most suited for Ardennes type parcours? Or could be also do stage races?
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  • Echoes

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    Well most of his best results so far have been on hilly Ardennes-like races, even on climb races like Harzé-Aywaille as a novice in 2011 (it's a Subita al Naranco like race), that's where he's at his best, I think. I don't recall seeing to things of note in Flandrian races. He of course also has a sprint. I said he wasn't great in ITT but still national champion as a novice in 2011.

    Mathieu winning the Tour of the Low Country (Ronde van Het Lage Land) and the Omloop van de Maasvallei as a junior in 2012:




    About the mountain, it's only guess work whether he has ability or not. I think the best indication is his stage win in the Tour of Alsace in 2013 in the mid-mountain and then a top10 place in the GC but that's it.

    http://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/alsace/2014/08/01/3e-etape-du-tour-d-alsace-victoire-de-mathieu-van-der-poel-526436.html

    (I was impressed by his fluent French. He speaks better French than many Frenchies.  :D

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  • Slow Rider

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    http://sporza.be/cm/sporza/wielrennen/veldrijden/1.2796267

    Mathieu van der Poel would consider switching to the road when his current contract ends in 2018. He says he could imagine getting bored in cross in a couple of years, and the road would be a nice next challenge.

    That would mean three more seasons of cross including the current year. He should probably aim to win all 3 classifications at least once in that time, and hopefully another WC. If his knees hold, that should be well possible.
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  • Echoes

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    He doesn't sound that enthusiastic though. I'm sure he's lured to the road against his will.  :(
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  • Echoes

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    Re: The Mathieu Van der Poel Appreciation Thread
    « Reply #8 on: November 08, 2016, 09:00 »


    As a preview of the upcoming Belgium-Netherlands football match, Mathieu was asked by Gazet van Antwerpen to give his comment as "Belgo-Dutch". He said that during the last Euro but he wouldn't call it supporting, he remains a Dutchman. He's gonna watch the first half and if it looks interesting he'll stay in front of his telly for a bit longer otherwise he'll go straight to bed.

    In cyclocross it's Belgium Netherlands everyday anyway, he says.  :lol
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