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Re: The Mathieu Van der Poel Appreciation Thread
« on: October 09, 2016, 12:43 »
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.

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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