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Mathieu Van der Poel

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No doubt his ride defies credulity.
Never mind towing a group for several km s, at top speed at the end of a 260 km race; that alone raises eyebrows. But the fact he started swerving all over the road to rid his opponents at the end and was still able to outsprint everyone is just mind-boggling. He was fresh as a daisy.
I understand Cooksters point about the drugs not being as effective compared to previous years, but I have a hard time thinking MVDP is not on some next level stuff that others might not be aware of. Obviously this is pure speculation, but good lord, man. You don't just turn to road racing and decimate an entire field of elite riders overnight without a bit of help.
 
Re: Re:

proffate said:
42x16ss said:
There are people saying VdP can win all 5 monuments, but in reality, Lombardia and probably Liege as well would be a bridge too far for him. At least I hope so, for the state of the sport. If VdP starts climbing like his grandfather something truly stinks.
What recent indication do we have of mvdp's climbing ability? He got a podium at MTB worlds and won Amstel and those are both events for climbers. We don't have much to go on for long alpine passes but I wouldn't put it past him to win the tour at this point. He's like Jungels but with an extra 100w engine that kicks up to 1000w in the last km.
Depends on what you mean exactly by climbers, but I would actually say that they typically are not such races. LBL and more so, Lombardia, are races for climbers. The last RR Worlds was a race for climbers. Amstel tends to be for puncheurs. MTB XCO tends to be for the puncheurs of technical/off road. Of course body weight matters in these other races, but you do not tend to see a strong favouring of climbers.
 
Logic-is-your-friend said:
The real surprise is (as well as the reason we are posting in this topic), that van der Poel obviously didn't need any "focussing on the road" and neglecting CX, like Van Aert had been doing, in order to simply make the transition to full classics level road racing. Up untill that point, everybody thought that Van Aert's transition had been highly impressive (2x third in Strade, 6th in San Remo, top 10 in RVV, 2nd in E3...). But then van der Poel came and basically started winning left & right. To be clear, i think van der Poel has been increasingly lucky in his spring races, unlike Van Aert, meaning i rate Van Aert's ride in San Remo and Roubaix, about as high as anything van der Poel did, but the latter did have certain conditions on his side. Van Aert was left by his team to chase alone for 25k into the wind in PR, while van der Poel did actually have a lot of help from teammates at that point in RVV. Circumstances in AGR, also were in his favor, being able to ride from group to group, cars in between so the leaders couldn't see who was coming and how far, while the radio wasn't working on top of that... But the difference is, van der Poel won Denain (whatever that means), Brabantse Pijl, Dwars door Vlaanderen and Amstel. Van Aert won zilch, bupkis and diddly squat.
Had Van Aert not forgotten to eat in Roubaix, during his mad chase, maybe we would have been posting in a Van Aert topic in the clinic section as well.

In conclusion, the two things that surprise me about van der Poel's spring is:
How easily he made the transition to 275k races (esp RVV), without making any concessions (unlike Van Aert).
His leadout sprint in AGR, where he's basically sprinting for 1.4k and nobody is able to jump off his wheel.


Especially the last part, is something that instills doubt.
You've said what I've been thinking. And now over to MTB where I would not be surprised at all if he simply destroyed folks. I don't think I would be surprised by almost anything!
 
Re: Re:

proffate said:
42x16ss said:
There are people saying VdP can win all 5 monuments, but in reality, Lombardia and probably Liege as well would be a bridge too far for him. At least I hope so, for the state of the sport. If VdP starts climbing like his grandfather something truly stinks.
What recent indication do we have of mvdp's climbing ability? He got a podium at MTB worlds and won Amstel and those are both events for climbers. We don't have much to go on for long alpine passes but I wouldn't put it past him to win the tour at this point. He's like Jungels but with an extra 100w engine that kicks up to 1000w in the last km.
Isn't the whole reason that he has this unusual power profile, because he trains differently to everyone else in the pro peloton? Everyone else has to do long, hard training blocks to prepare for three week tours and tough stage races. Also altitude training to reach peaks and troughs. All of which improves their recovery ability, fat utilization, power at sweet spot and below threshold, but blunts their sharpness to an extent.

Meanwhile, VdP is just spending six months simply racing once every three or four days maximum, with loads of explosive efforts each time. Then he's having three days rest or recovery rides, and repeat. He's doing no stage races driving cortisol through the roof, causing inflammation or massively lowering his testosterone or natural hgh levels. Imagine if Sagan or GVA trained exclusively to do one day races; and only did about 25 or 30 of them a year. I think they would be able to perform similarly to how VdP has done.

And if VdP wanted to tackle something like the Tour, then suddenly all his training has to be different, he has to lose weight, time peaks, get nutrition spot on, avoid ilnesses etc... It changes everything.
 
Jul 13, 2016
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Logic-is-your-friend said:
.Froomestrong. said:
Well, he isnt merely 'good' at CX. He is a god. For years, the entire field has been racing for 2nd- and the field has guys like WoutVA, Stybar, Pauwels, Nys, etc. Not a bunch of also-rans. So, if we only look at that, he is likely one of the best bike handlers, and biggest engines that CX has ever seen.
Van der Poel and Van Aert raced their last WC CX at the U23 (which Van Aert won), when Stybar won his last WC (in one of the more epic duels with Nys). By that time Stybar had already swapped CX for roadracing. He still did some races in preperation of the WC, but he did not ride the entire season, not even 1 / 3rd of it, IIRC. The year later, he raced even fewer races. Nys at that time was turning 38 years old before the new season started. Boom had long left, Albert had quit due to his heartcondition, and Pauwels... he was never really of the same level as Nys, Albert, Wellens (for 2 seasons or so), Boom or Stybar.

So directly comparing Van Aert or van der Poel to those guys is hard. Basically the only "grandmaster" that was still riding, was Nys, and he lost all his explosiveness and was ready to retire. You could compare them to guys like Van der Haar, who was still young, but had 3 or so years more under his belt... but he also wasn't quite of that level.

So you can't really compare them directly. The thing is, that other than Pauwels, already past 30 at that time and past his prime, Van der Haar, Meisen and Meeusen, basically the entire field got swamped by a new generation. Obviously Van Aert & van der Poel, but also guys like Aerts, Sweeck bros, Vantourenhout, Hermans, Vermeersch, Merlier, Adams... they are all within 2 years of Van Aert & van der Poel (in age). So, there have been very little points of reference to compare them to the previous generation.

That said, i've started watching CX as a kid since the days or van der Poel sr, Pontoni, Herygers, Groenendael, De Bie... Never seen any of them stand out like that and decimate the entire field.

As the entire field racing for second, that 's not a little bit disrespectful towards Van Aert. Three time Worldchampion in a row, and if it weren't for a mechanical in 2015, he would likely have won that too. People seem to forget fast, but Van Aert has a pretty impressive resumé (especially considering the competition). Fact of the matter is that Van Aert has been focussing on the spring the past two winters. The fact that he wasn't able to compete anymore with van der Poel, wasn't a surprise.

The real surprise is (as well as the reason we are posting in this topic), that van der Poel obviously didn't need any "focussing on the road" and neglecting CX, like Van Aert had been doing, in order to simply make the transition to full classics level road racing. Up untill that point, everybody thought that Van Aert's transition had been highly impressive (2x third in Strade, 6th in San Remo, top 10 in RVV, 2nd in E3...). But then van der Poel came and basically started winning left & right. To be clear, i think van der Poel has been increasingly lucky in his spring races, unlike Van Aert, meaning i rate Van Aert's ride in San Remo and Roubaix, about as high as anything van der Poel did, but the latter did have certain conditions on his side. Van Aert was left by his team to chase alone for 25k into the wind in PR, while van der Poel did actually have a lot of help from teammates at that point in RVV. Circumstances in AGR, also were in his favor, being able to ride from group to group, cars in between so the leaders couldn't see who was coming and how far, while the radio wasn't working on top of that... But the difference is, van der Poel won Denain (whatever that means), Brabantse Pijl, Dwars door Vlaanderen and Amstel. Van Aert won zilch, bupkis and diddly squat.
Had Van Aert not forgotten to eat in Roubaix, during his mad chase, maybe we would have been posting in a Van Aert topic in the clinic section as well.

In conclusion, the two things that surprise me about van der Poel's spring is:
How easily he made the transition to 275k races (esp RVV), without making any concessions (unlike Van Aert).
His leadout sprint in AGR, where he's basically sprinting for 1.4k and nobody is able to jump off his wheel.

Especially the last part, is something that instills doubt.
But hasn't Van Aert mainly been racing for second in recent years in Cyclocross? Yes he got an extra World title, but he's got nearly half of the victories VdP has while VdP missed many races due to injuries and his MTB adventures.

Nothing against Wout though, he has been very strong and he'll be a sure thing the coming years in the classics, but I'm not sure if he'll be winning much.
 
Re: Re:

Ripper said:
Depends on what you mean exactly by climbers, but I would actually say that they typically are not such races. LBL and more so, Lombardia, are races for climbers. The last RR Worlds was a race for climbers. Amstel tends to be for puncheurs. MTB XCO tends to be for the puncheurs of technical/off road. Of course body weight matters in these other races, but you do not tend to see a strong favouring of climbers.
Riders who do well at Amstel also do quite well at Liege so I'm not sure how you can say one is for climbers and one isn't.
 
Jan 11, 2018
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Logic-is-your-friend said:
The real surprise is (as well as the reason we are posting in this topic), that van der Poel obviously didn't need any "focussing on the road" and neglecting CX, like Van Aert had been doing, in order to simply make the transition to full classics level road racing.
This is the key point for me too. With all the talent and natural ability in the world, which I'm ready to accept VDP has in spades, going from riding races that are generally little over an hour to those in a different discipline that can be up to 6+ hours, and being amongst the very strongest who are the best in the world in that format, with very little transition period, strains credulity. Particularly as he seems to be coming to the end of all those hours often the freshest of anybody. No question luck and good tactics have played their parts in his wins, but his endurance and late-race performance is particularly amazing and surprising.

I appreciate the point made above that he doesn't need to train for stage races and GTs as most of the others do, and I think this is relevant, but I'm not sure that it fully justifies what we've been seeing. I acknowledge too that even when he is primarily training for CX then most of his training rides and endurance goals will of course be for well over an hour, but still that shouldn't really be enough to be able to hang with and defeat the road specialists over 250k's in classics.

There's the question too of how exactly we are rating the performance as surprising and in need of explanation. Is it that Alaphilippe, Fuglsang etc. are clean(ish) and VDP is coming in and doping his way to success over mostly paniagua competitioners? Or are the other top guys doping too and VDP has simply come along and doped better/smarter, or with some relatively unused product, to beat them at their own game?
 
Mamil said:
There's the question too of how exactly we are rating the performance as surprising and in need of explanation. Is it that Alaphilippe, Fuglsang etc. are clean(ish) and VDP is coming in and doping his way to success over mostly paniagua competitioners? Or are the other top guys doping too and VDP has simply come along and doped better/smarter, or with some relatively unused product, to beat them at their own game?
Other options being they're all doping and he's just physiologically better, or he responds better. My money is on the former.
 
Re: Re:

DFA123 said:
proffate said:
42x16ss said:
There are people saying VdP can win all 5 monuments, but in reality, Lombardia and probably Liege as well would be a bridge too far for him. At least I hope so, for the state of the sport. If VdP starts climbing like his grandfather something truly stinks.
What recent indication do we have of mvdp's climbing ability? He got a podium at MTB worlds and won Amstel and those are both events for climbers. We don't have much to go on for long alpine passes but I wouldn't put it past him to win the tour at this point. He's like Jungels but with an extra 100w engine that kicks up to 1000w in the last km.
Isn't the whole reason that he has this unusual power profile, because he trains differently to everyone else in the pro peloton? Everyone else has to do long, hard training blocks to prepare for three week tours and tough stage races. Also altitude training to reach peaks and troughs. All of which improves their recovery ability, fat utilization, power at sweet spot and below threshold, but blunts their sharpness to an extent.

Meanwhile, VdP is just spending six months simply racing once every three or four days maximum, with loads of explosive efforts each time. Then he's having three days rest or recovery rides, and repeat. He's doing no stage races driving cortisol through the roof, causing inflammation or massively lowering his testosterone or natural hgh levels. Imagine if Sagan or GVA trained exclusively to do one day races; and only did about 25 or 30 of them a year. I think they would be able to perform similarly to how VdP has done.

And if VdP wanted to tackle something like the Tour, then suddenly all his training has to be different, he has to lose weight, time peaks, get nutrition spot on, avoid ilnesses etc... It changes everything.
Interesting analysis. Also funny to talk about someone needing to lose weight when they're skinnier than 99% of humans:) But...pro cyclists are different than the average human.
 
red_flanders said:
Mamil said:
There's the question too of how exactly we are rating the performance as surprising and in need of explanation. Is it that Alaphilippe, Fuglsang etc. are clean(ish) and VDP is coming in and doping his way to success over mostly paniagua competitioners? Or are the other top guys doping too and VDP has simply come along and doped better/smarter, or with some relatively unused product, to beat them at their own game?
Other options being they're all doping and he's just physiologically better, or he responds better. My money is on the former.
My guess is he's like a classics version of Pantani - an outlier in both natural ability and the physiological response to doping.
 
Re: Re:

DFA123 said:
proffate said:
42x16ss said:
There are people saying VdP can win all 5 monuments, but in reality, Lombardia and probably Liege as well would be a bridge too far for him. At least I hope so, for the state of the sport. If VdP starts climbing like his grandfather something truly stinks.
What recent indication do we have of mvdp's climbing ability? He got a podium at MTB worlds and won Amstel and those are both events for climbers. We don't have much to go on for long alpine passes but I wouldn't put it past him to win the tour at this point. He's like Jungels but with an extra 100w engine that kicks up to 1000w in the last km.
Isn't the whole reason that he has this unusual power profile, because he trains differently to everyone else in the pro peloton? Everyone else has to do long, hard training blocks to prepare for three week tours and tough stage races. Also altitude training to reach peaks and troughs. All of which improves their recovery ability, fat utilization, power at sweet spot and below threshold, but blunts their sharpness to an extent.

Meanwhile, VdP is just spending six months simply racing once every three or four days maximum, with loads of explosive efforts each time. Then he's having three days rest or recovery rides, and repeat. He's doing no stage races driving cortisol through the roof, causing inflammation or massively lowering his testosterone or natural hgh levels. Imagine if Sagan or GVA trained exclusively to do one day races; and only did about 25 or 30 of them a year. I think they would be able to perform similarly to how VdP has done.

And if VdP wanted to tackle something like the Tour, then suddenly all his training has to be different, he has to lose weight, time peaks, get nutrition spot on, avoid ilnesses etc... It changes everything.
I would say you're right, he's probably less prone to over-training. Domoulin commented that MVDP made him wonder if all roadies should re-evaluate their approach to training. I don't know if over-training is really useful for grand tours though. I think you either "have it" (recovery ability), or you don't. Chris Boardman famously didn't. (obviously drugs help with this)

I don't think that needing to maintain race weight, peak, eat well, or stay healthy is unique to grand tours. Those are all necessary for every kind of bike race. It's true we don't have clues into MVDP's performance over 3 weeks. At the very least, he could take a bunch of stages at the tour across a variety of terrains, even if he couldn't contend every single day.
 
Apr 23, 2016
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Re: Re:

proffate said:
DFA123 said:
proffate said:
42x16ss said:
There are people saying VdP can win all 5 monuments, but in reality, Lombardia and probably Liege as well would be a bridge too far for him. At least I hope so, for the state of the sport. If VdP starts climbing like his grandfather something truly stinks.
What recent indication do we have of mvdp's climbing ability? He got a podium at MTB worlds and won Amstel and those are both events for climbers. We don't have much to go on for long alpine passes but I wouldn't put it past him to win the tour at this point. He's like Jungels but with an extra 100w engine that kicks up to 1000w in the last km.
Isn't the whole reason that he has this unusual power profile, because he trains differently to everyone else in the pro peloton? Everyone else has to do long, hard training blocks to prepare for three week tours and tough stage races. Also altitude training to reach peaks and troughs. All of which improves their recovery ability, fat utilization, power at sweet spot and below threshold, but blunts their sharpness to an extent.

Meanwhile, VdP is just spending six months simply racing once every three or four days maximum, with loads of explosive efforts each time. Then he's having three days rest or recovery rides, and repeat. He's doing no stage races driving cortisol through the roof, causing inflammation or massively lowering his testosterone or natural hgh levels. Imagine if Sagan or GVA trained exclusively to do one day races; and only did about 25 or 30 of them a year. I think they would be able to perform similarly to how VdP has done.

And if VdP wanted to tackle something like the Tour, then suddenly all his training has to be different, he has to lose weight, time peaks, get nutrition spot on, avoid ilnesses etc... It changes everything.
I would say you're right, he's probably less prone to over-training. Domoulin commented that MVDP made him wonder if all roadies should re-evaluate their approach to training. I don't know if over-training is really useful for grand tours though. I think you either "have it" (recovery ability), or you don't. Chris Boardman famously didn't. (obviously drugs help with this)

I don't think that needing to maintain race weight, peak, eat well, or stay healthy is unique to grand tours. Those are all necessary for every kind of bike race. It's true we don't have clues into MVDP's performance over 3 weeks. At the very least, he could take a bunch of stages at the tour across a variety of terrains, even if he couldn't contend every single day.
Well, if you're a 200-300 mile a week rider and have never trained big miles (400-500+), then you'd never know. For me, the big miles made a huge difference.
 
Re: Re:

Huapango said:
Well, if you're a 200-300 mile a week rider and have never trained big miles (400-500+), then you'd never know. For me, the big miles made a huge difference.
What is the point of this comment? Are you suggesting overtraining doesn't exist? At Sky, EBH was training 40 hours a week over the winter and had a whole bunch of nothing for results. It's possible for pros to over-train, in fact quite probable as (a) riding a bike is fun and (b) it's easy to convince yourself that more is better. Conveniently, you just proved (b).
 
Re: Re:

proffate said:
Huapango said:
Well, if you're a 200-300 mile a week rider and have never trained big miles (400-500+), then you'd never know. For me, the big miles made a huge difference.
What is the point of this comment? Are you suggesting overtraining doesn't exist? At Sky, EBH was training 40 hours a week over the winter and had a whole bunch of nothing for results. It's possible for pros to over-train, in fact quite probable as (a) riding a bike is fun and (b) it's easy to convince yourself that more is better. Conveniently, you just proved (b).
EBH was also their best or second best rider from 2010 to 2012. I think the point is that most pros, in most years, don't overtrain.
 
Oct 9, 2010
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As much as I like MVDP, he is surrounded by dopers: his father, his manager (who was caught as a doper and a dealer), and fellow riders like Stijn Devolder. His bike handling is fantastic, he trains a lot, talks sense, he's best in class, but those people should get out of his way to free him from suspicion. That would fully make sense.

I actually wonder what EF1 is about. Vaughters is one of the very few that spoke openly about his doping and condemns it. Wouldn't that be a team for real champions (I'm thinking Sep Vanmarcke is one, although I can't stand his brother and manager), not shady teams like Corendon-Circus?
 
Re: Re:

Gung Ho Gun said:
proffate said:
Huapango said:
Well, if you're a 200-300 mile a week rider and have never trained big miles (400-500+), then you'd never know. For me, the big miles made a huge difference.
What is the point of this comment? Are you suggesting overtraining doesn't exist? At Sky, EBH was training 40 hours a week over the winter and had a whole bunch of nothing for results. It's possible for pros to over-train, in fact quite probable as (a) riding a bike is fun and (b) it's easy to convince yourself that more is better. Conveniently, you just proved (b).
EBH was also their best or second best rider from 2010 to 2012. I think the point is that most pros, in most years, don't overtrain.
There is obviously a difference between "overtraining" and "doing a lot of training".

I'd surmise that as time goes on riders are training more effectively as theory advances and empirical evidence mounts up.
 
Re: Re:

simoni said:
Gung Ho Gun said:
proffate said:
Huapango said:
Well, if you're a 200-300 mile a week rider and have never trained big miles (400-500+), then you'd never know. For me, the big miles made a huge difference.
What is the point of this comment? Are you suggesting overtraining doesn't exist? At Sky, EBH was training 40 hours a week over the winter and had a whole bunch of nothing for results. It's possible for pros to over-train, in fact quite probable as (a) riding a bike is fun and (b) it's easy to convince yourself that more is better. Conveniently, you just proved (b).
EBH was also their best or second best rider from 2010 to 2012. I think the point is that most pros, in most years, don't overtrain.
There is obviously a difference between "overtraining" and "doing a lot of training".

I'd surmise that as time goes on riders are training more effectively as theory advances and empirical evidence mounts up.
With all the new technology e.g. power meters and heart rate monitoring algorithms fatigue levels are monitored better than ever so over training should be less likely than the old days. e.g. Strava relative effort score etc.

I am sure today's pros with all their team resources monitor their fatigue levels closely so over-training isn't a big issue. But MvdP has never raced a Grand Tour and it is difficult to predict how his body will recover until he actually does race for three weeks straight. Not sure they could predict that in training without also risking illness that would upset his training program.

The only way is for him to ride a Grand Tour and we all get to see.
 
Aug 20, 2016
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Re: Re:

Cookster15 said:
simoni said:
Gung Ho Gun said:
proffate said:
Huapango said:
Well, if you're a 200-300 mile a week rider and have never trained big miles (400-500+), then you'd never know. For me, the big miles made a huge difference.
What is the point of this comment? Are you suggesting overtraining doesn't exist? At Sky, EBH was training 40 hours a week over the winter and had a whole bunch of nothing for results. It's possible for pros to over-train, in fact quite probable as (a) riding a bike is fun and (b) it's easy to convince yourself that more is better. Conveniently, you just proved (b).
EBH was also their best or second best rider from 2010 to 2012. I think the point is that most pros, in most years, don't overtrain.
There is obviously a difference between "overtraining" and "doing a lot of training".

I'd surmise that as time goes on riders are training more effectively as theory advances and empirical evidence mounts up.
With all the new technology e.g. power meters and heart rate monitoring algorithms fatigue levels are monitored better than ever so over training should be less likely than the old days. e.g. Strava relative effort score etc.

I am sure today's pros with all their team resources monitor their fatigue levels closely so over-training isn't a big issue. But MvdP has never raced a Grand Tour and it is difficult to predict how his body will recover until he actually does race for three weeks straight. Not sure they could predict that in training without also risking illness that would upset his training program.

The only way is for him to ride a Grand Tour and we all get to see.
Thumbs up to that indeed, let's hope we do get to see what's what should it happen.
 

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