KASPER "The Watt Monster" ASGREEN

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Yes, he won the sprint for third or fourth place from Philipsen. And he had a few top 10 finishes as well i believe. Actually think he won the Points Jersey.
He also won a two-up sprint against Van Gardenen in that tour and won head-to-head against Stuyven in the Deutschland Tour. I think the only rider to beat him in such a situation was Morkov at the Danish Championships.
 
The great thing about this win is really that he just beat prime MvdP and Van Aert not by playing tactical games but by being straight up the strongest. That's just not something I expected anyone to do this classics season and if I expected it by someone it definitely wasn't Asgreen. Even when Terpstra and Gilbert won the Ronde for QS a few years ago both wins were heavily assisted by having the strongest team. This wasn't and I'd argue Asgreen had tougher competition than both Terpstra and Gilbert had. Really, really impressed.
 
The great thing about this win is really that he just beat prime MvdP and Van Aert not by playing tactical games but by being straight up the strongest. That's just not something I expected anyone to do this classics season and if I expected it by someone it definitely wasn't Asgreen. Even when Terpstra and Gilbert won the Ronde for QS a few years ago both wins were heavily assisted by having the strongest team. This wasn't and I'd argue Asgreen had tougher competition than both Terpstra and Gilbert had. Really, really impressed.
I would add that he also races smart. No doubt he was strong, but he also measured his efforts. So much of the time he was quite cool and in control. He does not burn matches unnecessarily.
 
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We Danes are so proud of our Kasper Asgren, the Danish Champion.
He was definitely the best rider today and the Elegant-Quickstep team did their best
to help him to win and he did.
 
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Brian Holm with an Asgreen anecdote:


Basically it says, that at the very first team meeting Asgreen attended, after getting picked up by DQ (from Riis' continental team, as a replacement for an injured rider), he proclaimed that he was going to win De Ronde for the team.

Holm says all the Belgians in the room just looked at each other (meaning they thought "this kid is crazy").

Friday Steels reminded Asgreen of that promise, at the team conference ahead of the race, saying the team believed he could do it.

Pretty cool :cool:
 
We Danes are so proud of our Kasper Asgren, the Danish Champion.
He was definitely the best rider today and the Elegant-Quickstep team did their best
to help him to win and he did.
He was the strongest, but i wasn't that impressed with the team to be honest. Good thing Alaphilippe was the perfect decoy, because other than that Kasper didn't really benefit all that much from team support. He did most of it on his own.

Brian Holm with an Asgreen anecdote:


Basically it says, that at the very first team meeting Asgreen attended, after getting picked up by DQ (from Riis' continental team, as a replacement for an injured rider), he proclaimed that he was going to win De Ronde for the team.

Holm says all the Belgians in the room just looked at each other (meaning they thought "this kid is crazy").

Friday Steels reminded Asgreen of that promise, at the team conference ahead of the race, saying the team believed he could do it.

Pretty cool :cool:
Evenepoel predicted him to win today, by the way.

I would add that he also races smart. No doubt he was strong, but he also measured his efforts. So much of the time he was quite cool and in control. He does not burn matches unnecessarily.
I think he could have saved a lot of energy in the final by slipping van der Poel the hot potato when van Aert was chasing. He won, so it's easy to say he rode smart, but i don't agree. He took a huge gamble going to the line with van der Poel without saving his legs more and without taking advantage of van der Poel's eagerness to drop van Aert. Had he lost the sprint to van der Poel (which, if we can all please be honest, was always a big possibility) comments would have been he voluntarily let himself be led to the slaughterhouse.
 
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He was the strongest, but i wasn't that impressed with the team to be honest. Good thing Alaphilippe was the perfect decoy, because other than that Kasper didn't really benefit all that much from team support. He did most of it on his own.


Evenepoel predicted him to win today, by the way.


I think he could have saved a lot of energy in the final by slipping van der Poel the hot potato when van Aert was chasing. He won, so it's easy to say he rode smart, but i don't agree. He took a huge gamble going to the line with van der Poel without saving his legs more and without taking advantage of van der Poel's eagerness to drop van Aert. Had he lost the sprint to van der Poel (which, if we can all please be honest, was always a big possibility) comments would have been he voluntarily let himself be led to the slaughterhouse.
Yeah, but he won, so it was the right call.
 
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He was the strongest, but i wasn't that impressed with the team to be honest. Good thing Alaphilippe was the perfect decoy, because other than that Kasper didn't really benefit all that much from team support. He did most of it on his own.


Evenepoel predicted him to win today, by the way.


I think he could have saved a lot of energy in the final by slipping van der Poel the hot potato when van Aert was chasing. He won, so it's easy to say he rode smart, but i don't agree. He took a huge gamble going to the line with van der Poel without saving his legs more and without taking advantage of van der Poel's eagerness to drop van Aert. Had he lost the sprint to van der Poel (which, if we can all please be honest, was always a big possibility) comments would have been he voluntarily let himself be led to the slaughterhouse.
I'd say he paced himself and knew what he was doing, and checked out vdP carefully. Of course there were risks, that's racing. But if he sucked wheel too long, likely vdP would either have slacked off or started attacking. Asgreen likely would not have enjoyed too many attacks. He felt good and he took his chances. He metered his energy. He checked out his rival. He did not overextend himself. He sprinted smart.
That's pretty smart racing
 
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I think he could have saved a lot of energy in the final by slipping van der Poel the hot potato when van Aert was chasing. He won, so it's easy to say he rode smart, but i don't agree. He took a huge gamble going to the line with van der Poel without saving his legs more and without taking advantage of van der Poel's eagerness to drop van Aert. Had he lost the sprint to van der Poel (which, if we can all please be honest, was always a big possibility) comments would have been he voluntarily let himself be led to the slaughterhouse.
I think he rode like he should, in line with his character. He's not the guy who would play games, he's a hard classics man, and he rode like that.
Also I'm not so sure what would he gain if he started playing games. Maybe Mathieu wouldn't pull like a madman seeing he's not working. Wout would maybe catch them, that's 2 fast guys instead of one. Group would maybe catch them too, that's too many guys for a guy who was up front with just another one. There's a golden classics rule, if you're at the front you ride, you don't wait for anyone, and he did just that.
Another thing, we maybe all underestimated his speed, especially after a hard race. Asgreen probably knows what he's capable of. We all thought for example that Pedersen will lose that WC final against Trentin, but if the race is held today I'm pretty sure many of us around here would pick Pedersen. Same could happen with Asgreen. Van Aert himself wasn't winning sprints right from the gun, it took time reach that level.
 
Had he lost the sprint to van der Poel (which, if we can all please be honest, was always a big possibility) comments would have been he voluntarily let himself be led to the slaughterhouse.
I just read the comments on the CN news piece and someone reckoned he was confident Asgreen would win as he's always there toward the end in the DQS sprint lead out!
I think in hindsight is a great thing but also a lot of people (especially Carlton Kirby) forgot about Asgreen's attributes and believed too much the Big 3 hype.
 
Well, i simply don't agree, and the fact that he won, doesn't make it smart. If you get a chance to wear down opponents, especially of this caliber, you take it. But let's agree to disagree.
If it had been someone like Benoot or Vanmarcke in that break with vdPoel, someone who we know has a track record of losing 2-up sprints in classics or at the end of long breakaway stages, you'd probably be right, and they would probably have gone on to lose that sprint. But Asgreen, to the extent that his sprinting was a known factor, it turns out actually had a pretty good past record in those situations, to the extent that in retrospect, vdP's win was not the gimme we all, and he, and everyone except Quickstep, thought.

You thought it was foolish of Asgreen to work with vdP at the time, and that was a fair assessment with the information you had at the time. It has since come to light that Asgreen can win match-sprints at the end of long races, not only yesterday, but in other previous races too, something Asgreen and Quickstep knew but the rest of us either didn't, or dismissed.

What you haven't acknowledged is the possibility that, if Asgreen had sat on and not taken a turn, vdP might not have ploughed on 100% all the way to Oudenaarde. vdP was the favourite in the sprint with Asgreen. If the group with GvA, Turgis, Senechal and vdP's teammate Vermeersch, or whatever combo of Alaphilippe, vanBaarle and Bahrain was in the moveable feast that was G2 on the road at any given time in the final 40km, come back to them, vdP is still the favourite in that sprint and Asgreen drops to 4th or 5th favourite.

Again; working with vdP, Asgreen's worst possible result was 2nd. If they got caught by the group behind, Asgreen's worst possible result drops down to 5th or 6th or 8th or 10th, and his chances of 1st are also significantly reduced, and that's even if we accept (which Asgreen didn't) that vdP is going to win that sprint 9 times out of 10.
 
Whether it was smart or not, this forum surely would have called him stupid had Van der Poel won. I was about to bring up the Terpstra vs Kristoff comparisons from a few years back before quickly deleting my pre-written comments after the sprint didn't go as I expected.
I think if Asgreen had kept it as close in the finale as vdP did, there would obviously have been a lot more "stupid Asgreen" comments, but also a few of us saying "well that sprint was closer than we thought it would be, so chapeau to Kasper for having a go, and he must be happy with 2nd place in Flanders."
 
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If it had been someone like Benoot or Vanmarcke in that break with vdPoel, someone who we know has a track record of losing 2-up sprints in classics or at the end of long breakaway stages, you'd probably be right, and they would probably have gone on to lose that sprint. But Asgreen, to the extent that his sprinting was a known factor, it turns out actually had a pretty good past record in those situations, to the extent that in retrospect, vdP's win was not the gimme we all, and he, and everyone except Quickstep, thought.

You thought it was foolish of Asgreen to work with vdP at the time, and that was a fair assessment with the information you had at the time. It has since come to light that Asgreen can win match-sprints at the end of long races, not only yesterday, but in other previous races too, something Asgreen and Quickstep knew but the rest of us either didn't, or dismissed.

What you haven't acknowledged is the possibility that, if Asgreen had sat on and not taken a turn, vdP might not have ploughed on 100% all the way to Oudenaarde. vdP was the favourite in the sprint with Asgreen. If the group with GvA, Turgis, Senechal and vdP's teammate Vermeersch, or whatever combo of Alaphilippe, vanBaarle and Bahrain was in the moveable feast that was G2 on the road at any given time in the final 40km, come back to them, vdP is still the favourite in that sprint and Asgreen drops to 4th or 5th favourite.

Again; working with vdP, Asgreen's worst possible result was 2nd. If they got caught by the group behind, Asgreen's worst possible result drops down to 5th or 6th or 8th or 10th, and his chances of 1st are also significantly reduced, and that's even if we accept (which Asgreen didn't) that vdP is going to win that sprint 9 times out of 10.
I did acknowledge that possibility but dismissed it of being the likely scenario. I have been talking about the moment where van Aert was dropped before he sat up and joined the chasers. With Asgreen not working, it would be WVA vs MvdP, and no way Mathieu would have eased off, because he would've feared Wout's sprint more than Asgreen's. And in the off-chance that Mathieu would not work with Asgreen in his wheel, Kasper could still decide to start working at that point.

At the moment van Aert joined the chasing group, race dynamics changed.
 
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I did acknowledge that possibility but dismissed it of being the likely scenario. I have been talking about the moment where van Aert was dropped before he sat up and joined the chasers. With Asgreen not working, it would be WVA vs MvdP, and no way Mathieu would have eased off, because he would've feared Wout's sprint more than Asgreen's. And in the off-chance that Mathieu would not work with Asgreen in his wheel, Kasper could still decide to start working at that point.

At the moment van Aert joined the chasing group, race dynamics changed.
I think in that moment, it definitely suited Asgreen to put more distance into WvA than to worry about if he could maybe beat MvdP. Iirc, he had already been sitting on a bit letting the other 2 take most of the pulls before the Kwaremont, so was probably better rested than Matthieu.

It was probably a pleasant surprise for vdP that Asgreen would pull through at that point, but instead of being suspicious as he should have been (“wait, he’s stronger than I thought, I should watch out here...”) vdP took the wrong conclusion (“he knows I’ll win the sprint and settling for 2nd, I can totally lead out the final km”). So really it worked out smarter for Asgreen.

Again, at the time of MVP’s attack, I probably agreed with you that Asgreen should/could have sat on. In hindsight, knowing what we now know about Asgreen’s strength in the sprint, Asgreen by pulling with vdP gave himself the best chance of winning the race.
 
I did acknowledge that possibility but dismissed it of being the likely scenario. I have been talking about the moment where van Aert was dropped before he sat up and joined the chasers. With Asgreen not working, it would be WVA vs MvdP, and no way Mathieu would have eased off, because he would've feared Wout's sprint more than Asgreen's. And in the off-chance that Mathieu would not work with Asgreen in his wheel, Kasper could still decide to start working at that point.

At the moment van Aert joined the chasing group, race dynamics changed.
I think you are making a valid point. MvdP might have dragged Asgreen to the finish line even if Asgreen hadn't made a single pull after the Paterberg and I'm certain he could have done a lot less work without getting caught. The question is simply how much work maximizes your chances at winning and Asgreen definitely had more knowledge in that than us fans watching on TV did.

Maybe Asgreen noticed vdP didn't look as explosive anymore after the Kwaremont attack, maybe he just felt extraordinarily good. Taking those sort of things into account, do you really increase your chances to win by playing games or is it more likely to win by betting on your own strength?
Remember a few years back when MvdP of all people won the Amstel Gold race because Fuglsang didn't want to drag Alaphilippe to the finish line, but Alaphilippe was completely spent and cramping. Fuglsang thought Alaphilippe was bluffing, the two were caught, Fuglsang ended up beating Alaphilippe in the sprint but still only got third.
 
Asgreen was in a great situation at that time. He had just been dropped and had a teammate in the chasing group as well, so he had motive to play the game as well. If he stayed in vdP's wheel, he could save energy while draining both Mathieu and Wout. If in that case he would see van Aert would come closer, or in case van der Poel would not keep dragging him along for free, he could still at that point decide to start cooperating with van der Poel. Yes, he was good, yes he knew he was good, and in hindsight it's easy to say he made the right decision because he won... but i still stand by my assessment that he could and should have taken advantage of the situation more, to further increase his chances.
 
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Well I think the final strategy all came down to Kasper Asgreens confidence in his own sprint.

Think I mentioned it before here; Brian Holms live commentary referrring to DQS' pre race meeting on MS Teams video meeting, Kasper stated to the team that he was stronger in a sprint after 260K than they thought and even believed he would win a bunch sprint after that distance. Talk about confidence.

But it's not really sensational if you observe Kasper's development since he entered the pro field. He only becomes stronger on the longer distance, especially when ridden hard. And this edition of De Ronde surely was ridden 'én téte', in major parts of the race greatly thanks to Kasper's own constant presence at the front of the field.
Besides we have been witnessing MvdP blowing up on more occiations on the long distance. And then add a semi-long power sprint with MvdP in the lower gear and Kasper in the higher speaks for Kasper.
Ofcourse it was very difficult for MvdP to wait much longer, especially if he was at the limit both physically and mentally.

That said, post race Kasper also stated that he at the last 10K flat section to Oudenaarde finish, he felt tired legs and decided to save all energy left for the sprint.

Personally I think he did cleverly in taking part in MvdP's pulling, since the distance to the 2nd group in a few occations seemed to decrease. Also I think he had the last climb of Paterberg in mind where he might observe weakness of MvdP, taking the 'easy' but risky lane and seemed in trouble just at the top.
 
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