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Teams & Riders Official Wout Van Aert thread

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It's not like when Asgreen or Colbrelli won MvdP was at this level
This is not as relevant for Van Aert as you may think. Regardless of Van der Poel's level, Van Aert would still be considered too good to get a headstart from the likes of Van der Poel or Pogacar, and too good for 2nd tier riders not to treat him like a big favorite who has to take responsibility in the chase. Even Van der Poel "in this form" didn't win MSR, and it didn't take that much for Matthews to have won it. Would you consider Matthews (or Philipsen for that matter) a level above Van Aert? I assume not. Race conditions change, and before MSR there was only talk about two riders, who ended up cancelling each other out and an outsider won. With a bit more brainpower (RVV'20) and being a bit less unlucky (PR'23) Van Aert could have had 3 monuments by now, vs 2 for MvdP. So to come back to the statement i was responding to, it's not about Van Aert not having the chops to win a big race. It's just that he misses that top-end to dominate those races in such a way that he can claim victory purely on merrit. Basically for Van Aert how good Van der Poel is exactly, is of little importance since he will always be stuck between being too good and not being good enough.
 
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He looks chubby.

With regards to WvA declining or not: he has the biggest engine in the peloton. Not the best in W/kg (Vingegaard, Pogacar), not the most explosive (MvdP), but the biggest. For the last 5 years, and probably for the next 5 years as well.
A rider like WvA is a once in a decade affair. But we're all spoilt these days with many fantastic riders (like Masnada). Those who downplay WvA at this moment in time don't seem to realize they could simply enjoy watching his incredible power, whatever his results / classic wins.
I thought exactly the opposite and thought his legs and mid section looked slightly smaller, thinner. He was flat for last @40k no snap to anything he did.. MVP just rode away from him
 
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It's not like riders who beat Van der Poel at RVV and PR in the past (Asgreen, Colbrelli etc) are a level above Van Aert. Quite the opposite. So "he might not have it for the big races" is simply not true. The problem is that he is always one of the big favorites, so he can never surprise as an outsider (like Asgreen and Colbrelli for instance) and every 2nd tier rider will always look at him to do the work, to react when Van der Poel for instance attacks. But on the other hand, in a 1v1 he manages to lose, either on power/form, or on tactical dumbfuckery.

Basically, he is too good to be able to race as an underdog and get a free pass by lesser riders or some leeway by the other top favorites. But compared to the other top favorites he misses that killer instinct, that extra top end to make the difference, the tactical nous and sometimes that bit of luck..
Got it. Perhaps a more accurate statement (and closer to what I meant) would be "compared to other top favourites, he might not have it for the big races".

A couple of other observations. I suspect the race conditions were a touch of a shock from his altitude camp. Also, not sure how blown out/ready his legs are just a couple of days back from altitude camp.

It's a bit tough to draw too much from today for him. He looked like he might have been feeling sharper, but then had a weird crash at a pretty bad time, and then ran out of steam.

Van der Poel looked fantastic. Next week will be interesting!!
 
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I thought exactly the opposite and thought his legs and mid section looked slightly smaller, thinner. He was flat for last @40k no snap to anything he did.. MVP just rode away from him
Ofcourse he was flat, he went over the limit to gain back 25 seconds on mvdp after he lost 35 seconds due to his crash. Mvdp could pace the penultimate climb while Wva was going into that climb overheated.
It probably didn’t help this was his first race after altitude, and he wouldn’t have won anyway: without crashing, he would likely have been chasing mvdp solo from paterberg (so an even longer chase). But who knows he gets over the top of the last few hills with mvdp. Now Wva made life much more difficult going solo in the chase. Either riding with mvdp or with the chase group would probably have fatigued him less than what he did now.
 
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Any more examples of him beating Van der Poel, Pogacar, Evenepoel in big races? Because that was what the discussion was about, and by big races i was primarily thinking of WCC or monuments. The fact that you have to bring up last year's E3 kind of proves the point though. He was clearly a level below Pog and VdP and had that motor not crashed, he would very likely not have been able to follow.
 
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This was his first race after altitude training. Like MVDP said too, they need a bit of racing to get on their best shape. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a much better WVA next week.
Okay... but MVDP was arguably already great in his first race, MSR.

He dropped the others with relative ease when he wanted to yesterday.

I dont think WVA was bad yesterday either and the improvement you can expect next week is only marginal at best.

At the same time MVDP has probably benefitted from these races as well. In normal circumstances he is just better than the other.

WVA has everything stacked up against him next week. It would be huge if he can pull it off, but as of now I rate his chances in Paris-Roubaix more than next week. It is a different race and suits WVA much better, but it is a hard race to win even for both of these guys.

However, on the hills in Ronde he just doesnt seem to be able to match MVDP. He will have to find another way. Attack in an unexpected moment. Riding MVDP out of the race, if he is caught behind (an opportunity they had last year). Just hope MVDP has a bad day.
 
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My current expectation: he will get another flogging by MvdP in the Tour of Flanders; BUT... One week later he will win Paris-Roubaix.

The last monument Visma won was in 2020... aka Rog's Liège win.

I think it's probably time to recognize the fact they aren't the best one day race team with the best one day riders. There's always something that happens on the day, whether it's incidents (mechanical/crashes), tactical errors or sometimes just getting beaten by stronger men.

I'd put all the money in the world on Wout van Aert outperforming MvdP over 3 weeks in a GT but in races like Paris-Roubaix? Nah. What's more likely is if WvA is on a good day, he marks out MvdP i.e. they look at each other & cancel each other... & someone else wins. It has happened before.
 
My current expectation: he will get another flogging by MvdP in the Tour of Flanders; BUT... One week later he will win Paris-Roubaix.
That may be correct prediction. I'm concerned the mental game is not in his favour after yesterday. If he loses RVV the mental game might be even more skewed leading to too much hesitation to go all out on the attack, which in my opinion, could bring him the result.
 
I don't see reason for doom and gloom for Van Aert. If Van der Poel has a good day, even the best Van Aert is in disadvantage on the Flemish hills. The gap on the line is huge, but not all telling as I think Van Aert made a big mistake trying to bridge that gap alone, whilst I suspect Van der Poel was toying with him and let the gap come down on purpose so to murder him in the next hill zone.

It's a lot of coulda, woulda, shoulda, but with Laporte, Van Baarle and Tratnik the world suddenly looks very different. However, I do think Van Aert needs to take the initiative more, rather than just sucking Van der Poel's backwheel. Van Aert is doomed if he let's him dictate the race. Visma, Van Aert included, need to be the one to launch an all-out offensive. Van der Poel can't chase them all.
 
It's not like riders who beat Van der Poel at RVV and PR in the past (Asgreen, Colbrelli etc) are a level above Van Aert. Quite the opposite. So "he might not have it for the big races" is simply not true. The problem is that he is always one of the big favorites, so he can never surprise as an outsider (like Asgreen and Colbrelli for instance) and every 2nd tier rider will always look at him to do the work, to react when Van der Poel for instance attacks. But on the other hand, in a 1v1 he manages to lose, either on power/form, or on tactical dumbfuckery.

Basically, he is too good to be able to race as an underdog and get a free pass by lesser riders or some leeway by the other top favorites. But compared to the other top favorites he misses that killer instinct, that extra top end to make the difference, the tactical nous and sometimes that bit of luck..
Are we comparing 2021 VDP to the level he has in 2023/2024? Doesn't seem correct either
 
Are we comparing 2021 VDP to the level he has in 2023/2024? Doesn't seem correct either
Like i told RR in a follow up post, this doesn't really affect Van Aert's situation. He is still caught in between.

But my analysis is specifically for these races. There are things he is better at than Van der Poel as well. Had he continued the path of the 2021 Tirreno, he could have won Paris Nice by now and likely one LBL and one Lombardia. Those efforts suit him a lot better.
 
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Like i told RR in a follow up post, this doesn't really affect Van Aert's situation. He is still caught in between.

But my analysis is specifically for these races. There are things he is better at than Van der Poel as well. Had he continued the path of the 2021 Tirreno, he could have won Paris Nice by now and likely one LBL and one Lombardia. Those efforts suit him a lot better.
I have always been fascinated by Wouts climbing abilities. Its incredibly rare for someone to be world class in both sub 5 and lets say 20 min threshold efforts. With his weight to do the climbs we have seen him do in the tour is actually quite mindblowing to me. In combination with his TT abilities I always wondered if he would maybe consider doing a GC in a grand tour late in his career. I suspect its very hard to lose weight for him. His frame is just pure muscle mass, I even thought he looked quite a bit bigger than Mvdp yesterday.

Do we think he might transition to targeting 1 week races and LBL, Lombardia style races if he does not win Flanders or Roubaix this year?
 
I have always been fascinated by Wouts climbing abilities. Its incredibly rare for someone to be world class in both sub 5 and lets say 20 min threshold efforts. With his weight to do the climbs we have seen him do in the tour is actually quite mindblowing to me. In combination with his TT abilities I always wondered if he would maybe consider doing a GC in a grand tour late in his career. I suspect its very hard to lose weight for him. His frame is just pure muscle mass, I even thought he looked quite a bit bigger than Mvdp yesterday.

Do we think he might transition to targeting 1 week races and LBL, Lombardia style races if he does not win Flanders or Roubaix this year?
If he wins those? Maybe. I mean, he should, i've been saying that for a while. But he is stuck in a tunnel vision that he needs to be the cobbled classics rider, even when he keeps bumping in to riders who are better at it than him, while the solution keeps staring him in the face. So i wouldn't count on it, not anymore at least. Him letting go of that fixation, might even help him to win them some day. Say he is to focus on more mountainous classics for a few years, would certainly lower expectations in case he came back after a few years to the cobbles, which would then allow him to start them as an outsider rather than a favorite.
 
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If he wins those? Maybe. I mean, he should, i've been saying that for a while. But he is stuck in a tunnel vision that he needs to be the cobbled classics rider, even when he keeps bumping in to riders who are better at it than him, while the solution keeps staring him in the face. So i wouldn't count on it, not anymore at least. Him letting go of that fixation, might even help him to win them some day. Say he is to focus on more mountainous classics for a few years, would certainly lower expectations in case he came back after a few years to the cobbles, which would then allow him to start them as an outsider rather than a favorite.
Yeah agree

Somehow stageracing seems to suit him better, not just physiologically but also mentally. Pressure on Flanders and Roubaix is obviously huge from the Belgian media, not easy. I dont see him winning Flanders in a week. Maybe somebody else from Visma. Wout was very strong but not strong enough especially on the steepest parts of the climbs. This is gonna cost him I think. For Roubaix though he is equal to Mvdp, like last year I dont see how one is going to drop the other.
 
I have always been fascinated by Wouts climbing abilities. Its incredibly rare for someone to be world class in both sub 5 and lets say 20 min threshold efforts. With his weight to do the climbs we have seen him do in the tour is actually quite mindblowing to me. In combination with his TT abilities I always wondered if he would maybe consider doing a GC in a grand tour late in his career. I suspect its very hard to lose weight for him. His frame is just pure muscle mass, I even thought he looked quite a bit bigger than Mvdp yesterday.

Do we think he might transition to targeting 1 week races and LBL, Lombardia style races if he does not win Flanders or Roubaix this year?
It’s really remarkable. But there’s always going to be a better climber in LBL or Lombardia on the day. Where he might have a chance is at TA,Suisse or PN provided the course favors him AND no TdF monsters show up.

He was really unlucky to crash at the very moment of Mvdp’s attack in E3. It’s as if Adrie VdP had a Wout voodoo doll and flung it on the ground.