This is the thing about cx and vdP. He races pretty much all year long off road, he has natural skills to start with, and his physiology is specifically perfect for cx. Perhaps if we see other talents who also start to race year long off road, we'd see more competition.gillan1969 said:cross, with its stop start nature and short high intensity power bursts means that you can gain say 1 sec per corner by the corrrect distribution of power and choosing the correct line........i know this due to my own poor skills and can see a rider of equal fitness put perhaps 15 secs a lap into me due to better technique...being able to haul yourself across the last few metres of a steep mound at about 20 rpm for 3 secs might be the difference in dismounting or not and giving yourself another 2 secs advantage per lap on the one mound
van der poel rides very completely...he is a rider that combines all the elements...and as alluded to by others...he gets beaten where the skillset is similar but slightly different i.e. mtb xc
cross is very different to track and/or froome on a climb
that's not to say he's not doping but your assertions as to why he might be don't seem well formed......we don't have a mid-career sudden remarkable transformation for example......
WvA clearly does not focus too much effort/time on the off road. It's pretty clear he's wasting way more energy and losing seconds here at there, likely 5-10 seconds per lap. In many ways, this is actually good for the depth in cx ... that you cannot win riding away if your technique is not very good. A big issue is the competition at the very top in men's cx is just not as deep as other sports.
This said, I'd not be surprised at all if vdP was doped to the gills! And whenever you ride folks off your wheels on non-technical areas, a la Fabian in PR, it looks very suspicious.