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E3 Saxo Classic 2023, one day classic, March 24

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It‘s incredible how close MvdP and WVA are to each other, and have now been over 15 years or so. They are so close that you still cannot say who‘s the better rider of those two. Their bodies and minds are so similar.

In recent times, Slovenians or other Eastern Europeans appeared to have an advantage, mentally, due to their hard selective junior and Espoir years. Now with Wout and Mathieu, this is completely over.

Wout and Mathieu spent their last 15 winters, Sunday afternoon after Sunday afternoon, in the dark, cold, wet, muddy fields of the Benelux cyclocross races. That makes mentally tough. If you do not develop to love this ambiance, it can absolutely destroy you. These dark, cold afternoons, when you - with maybe just a soigneur and a mechanic - spend hours in this „ugly“ conditions.

The only one who had to go through a harder school is probably Roglic, who lived in the very small world of ski jumping, and did not know anything about bike races. That maybe makes mentally unbeatable.

For RVV, I still see Pogacar as favourite, although Wout seems to have managed his peaking perfectly, this time. I think the 260k in the Ronde, compared to 200k in E3, might be beneficial to Pog. Until now, the long distances of RVV and Roubaix have been a little bit an issue for Wout, who‘d probably prefer 240 instead of 260k…
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Fair enough Beos I'm glad I could entertain you. I think WVA was tiny bit lucky today , Pogacar and vander poel both did quite poor tactics which allowed him to stay with them and meant that his defensive tactics, which cost him big races in the past, worked.

It's still a big difference 200km today vs 260km on RVV or roubaix, and he did technically break a rule that warrant disqualification, but I can't fault him much otherwise , he deserve to win the race

I agree.
Both of them were better and I fully expect them to drop WVA on the last Kwarement/Paterberg in the RVV. The only way he can win is by tactically manouvring his team in the all the right positions and maybe get 1 or 2 guys in a breakaway but even then it'll be difficult.

There's to much of a difference between spring WVA and summer/tour de france WVA. Spring WVA can always win any of the non monument classics in a dominant way but somehow he lacks the depth or the panache to be the strongest in a monument. I don't know if it's because of his cyclo crossing in the winter, because he's better in really hot weather or because his endurance keeps him fresh longer then other guys during the tour but spring WVA isn't as strong as summer WVA.

He can still win RVV or Roubaix, but he'll need his team and will have to cling on to settle it in a sprint.
For now I fully expect MVP and Poggy to battle it out in Oudenaarde next week mano a mano.
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