Mathieu Van der Poel

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I don't dislike him anymore, but his performances during this Tour when he said he had prepared on this mountain bike... and adjusted his position in the night before... one wonders why others take the time with the wind tunnel and the many hours of special training and everything, when van der Poel can just climb on his tt bike and beat Asgreen and only lose 11 seconds to Küng...
What I don't really get is why he wasn't up there with Ala on the first stage. Did he just have a bad day?
It's really weird to me what happened on stage 1. I thought he was tired from long spring + MTB + Tour de Suisse. But then he was dominating Mur de Bretagne and then pulling from 2.5k to 1k on stage 3. And then the absurd time trial yesterday. He is obviously on excellent form (as ever). don't understand how he could barely close the gap to JA on first stage.

Maybe he just realised he couldn't win so saved a bit for the following day.

Anyway yesterday was a radioactive ride but overshadowed by the glow from Pogacar. VDP was not preparing for time trials, yet matched WVA, who is maybe the most dialled in time-trialist in the race, who spent so many hours in the TT bike. As others pointed out, VDP is not even as aero as he could be, his equipment could be better.
 
Stage 1 he could have been a little rusty & the "juices" weren't flowing properly.

Yesterday's TT from van der Poel was pure power related stuff, not aerodynamics or positioning. A bit like putting Bjarne Riis circa 1996 on a TT bike & saying "GO!". That's when the magic happens.

I don't know, but as this is the clinic I'll refrain from embarrassing myself with attempts to offer plausible, scientific, reasonable explanations as to "how the f did that just happen?" with regards to Mathieu van der Poel reinventing himself as an expert time trialist overnight because (his quote here) "the yellow jersey gave me wings".

Or maybe Mark Padun was praying to Jesus for VDP to keep his yellow jersey from whichever weight loss program he's on right now. Pro cycling never disappoints.
 
Too long an effort?
I think it's just bad day + bad positioning. Maybe we underestimate his form of that day a little cause he wasted his move in a failed counterattack.

Form fluctuates, as there was also no real reason for Alaphilippe to be so much worse on Mur de Bretagne other than that.

As for the ITT, Van Aert mentioned how up and down it was and hwo you had to go over threshold and back, so I guess that and his elite cornering helped him a bunch. But it's still a mindblowing performance.
 
Stage 1 he could have been a little rusty & the "juices" weren't flowing properly.

Yesterday's TT from van der Poel was pure power related stuff, not aerodynamics or positioning. A bit like putting Bjarne Riis circa 1996 on a TT bike & saying "GO!". That's when the magic happens.

I don't know, but as this is the clinic I'll refrain from embarrassing myself with attempts to offer plausible, scientific, reasonable explanations as to "how the f did that just happen?" with regards to Mathieu van der Poel reinventing himself as an expert time trialist overnight because (his quote here) "the yellow jersey gave me wings".

Or maybe Mark Padun was praying to Jesus for VDP to keep his yellow jersey from whichever weight loss program he's on right now. Pro cycling never disappoints.
Okay, that final paragraph resulted in a sustained laughing fit. Well played!

Indeed, there are infrequent occasions when vdP pulls off amazing TT like efforts, and they are all quite eyebrow raising. I believe he is a megatalent, but TT is on the opposite spectrum of where he's always demonstrated ability.
 
Aren't cyclocross and MTB races usually 40-50 minutes long? They usually go all out on those.
CX is typically an hour, MTB XCO is typically closer to 90 minutes. It's not about simply going full gas, it's a difference between the always on, or nearly always on power commitment for a time trial, compared to the very stochastic nature of efforts in cyclocross and mtb, far far more short accelerations with momentary rests. VdP has always demonstrated not only excellent technical skill, but his own unreal ability to accelerate incredibly quickly. That latter aspect is fairly genetic, but generally speaking, if acceleration is a major talent of yours, then you have a lot of fast twitch capacities going on, which inherently tends to limit your ceiling for sustained wattage over long periods. Moreover, while there can be similarities between road bike, cx, and MTB positions, time trial positions are notoriously different and more challenging to sustain high power out of.
 
It does seem so suspicious. MvdP and WVA (and Ghirmay?) are successors to the Hushovds, EBHs and Sagans. But they just seem so much better as all rounders than their predecessors. Its not even like there is a lucrative all rounders jersey at a GT any more that might want to make teams prioritise such riders.

I'm not mentally closing the door on there just being developments in training all rounder talent though. Itd make far more sense for Alpecin and TJV to cheat with dedicated climbers and keep MvdP and WVA's training focussed on what they were originally best at.
 
To be fair though, back in 2011 Peter Sagan (albeit a lighter weight version of himself closer to his mountain bike origins than at his peak Classics period size) won the Brig-Grindelwald stage of the Tour de Suisse over Grimselpass and Großer Scheidegg, while Thor Hushovd won (admittedly from the break and largely on his descending nous) a stage over the Col d'Aubisque, and featured in a solo break of the day in the queen stage of the 2009 Tour in a quest for the green jersey points for the intermediate sprint which meant he had to be at the head of the field over the Cormet de Roseland, Col des Saisies and Col des Aravis.

I agree that van Aert has done this frequently enough that it is no longer an isolated type of occurrence like those examples above, and that he moves more into the realm of Geraint Thomas or George Hincapie, but for the moment this is still a pretty isolated data point in MVDP's career.
 

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