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Race Thread

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The rain had turned the Merksplas into something really hard. Really nice to see Nieuwenhuis get a good win. Took the start and just continued grinding and making almost no mistakes at all on a very tricky course.

Like the way Vandeputte rides, looks smooth and almost flowing style. He might not be able to contend with eg Iserbyt when it comes to sustained power but he sure has excellent technique. Even when he misses it doesn't look panicked.

Kuypers has some serious power but he needs to get rid of the mistakes. In a year or two he will be winning stuff.
Iserbyt was a freaking beast today...once he caught van der Haar (which I was not expecting to happen, the way he dropped everyone early), was impressive. He and Alvarado appear to have really taken the challenge of being considered 2nd tier.
 
Puck seems to be well off her game right now, think the break really knocked her out of form. I guess if she comes back into form later in the season, it might have been worth it. Hope so.
Van Empel says she's mostly been training on endurance for the road season. And it shows, she can just keep going. Maybe with Pieterse's increased focus on the mountainbike that's what she is lacking.
 
Great mens action today.
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Ava Holmgren repeats as Canadian elite women's national champion. The arguably more talented twin sister, junior rainbow jersey winner in CX and XC, Isabella, raced and won in the U23 race. Worth noting that Maghalie Rochette and Sidney McGill are racing the World Cups in Europe and did not take part.
 
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Red tape causing problems for riders off to Dublin -
https://cyclinguptodate.com/cyclocr...gate-for-cyclocross-stars-competing-in-dublin
Very few riders are set to do the Saturday-Sunday double this weekend. One of the main reasons for this is the endless amounts Brexit red tape required just to get riders and bikes from Kortrijk on Saturday to Dublin on Sunday.

"To make that trip, you have to fill in everything down to the smallest detail on a customs form," explains Dutch national coach Gerben De Knegt in conversation about the difficulties with Sporza. "It goes so far that you have to indicate for your front wheel, for example, which tube and which hub it is. You really have to name every item in that bus. We spent more than a week completing that customs document. to get in order."
 
What Brexit red tape ?

Ireland is in the EU
Yes. Unfortunately there is a little country in between you have to get through to get to Ireland.

Could be, at her best she can at least battle Fem, but behind Brand today and well behind Alvarado last week. Nowhere near her best at the moment.
She said after the race that the effort in MTB (3-4 minute efforts uphill followed by recovery downhill) is totally different from cyclocross (full gas all race, almost no recovery) and that she struggles a little bit with that. She expects to get better toward Worlds.
 
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Could be, at her best she can at least battle Fem, but behind Brand today and well behind Alvarado last week. Nowhere near her best at the moment.
Pieterse looks quite off. In order to keep up with Van Empel and Brand she had to go way into red and really lost the best of her technique.

Van Empel on the other hand seems to be riding well within her limits and therefore manages to coolly navigate the harder passages. She makes very few mistakes and looks completely in control. My guess is that she has several percentage higher sustained power than both Brand and Pieterse. I don’t see that this is going to change during this season and if so only major mistakes from her will allow any other rider victory.

In the men’s race I don’t think I have seen so many major mistakes by the top riders as yesterday in Kortrijk. Obviously a much more difficult course than its appearance.
 
Fantastic finish to the mens race. Plenty of drama throughout but the good kind.

A very Irish rainy day too, never heavy but absolutely constant. More like the air was full of water than actual falling rain.
It appears that last year was the pinncale of the MVDP/WVA/Pidcock era (Diegem being the very top IMO), so it's nice to the diversity in wins this year. Iserbyt seems to be slightly ahead on many courses, but not significantly so. Great racing so far this year.
 
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Really great to see Brand back in form! Maybe the WC will be more contested than it seemed it might be?
Brand looks better than ever and has improved her riding skills while maintaining or even improving her physical capacity. Clearly Alvarado has more technical skills but not enough to compensate for the difference in power.

With a complete women's elite field Van Empel is the clear favorite and with Brand safely behind. Then it becomes more competitive with Pieterse, Alvarado and possibly Van Anroij.

Next generation riders looks very promising with Backstedt (19) and Schreiber (20). Breakhrough this season and challengers for the win next?

BTW, nice race course in Dublin, the rain really made it enjoyable. Last year's edition was great to revisit with Van Aert totally dominating the field.
 
Ava Holmgren repeats as Canadian elite women's national champion. The arguably more talented twin sister, junior rainbow jersey winner in CX and XC, Isabella, raced and won in the U23 race. Worth noting that Maghalie Rochette and Sidney McGill are racing the World Cups in Europe and did not take part.
I will argue this and say that at least up until the worlds win in Hoogerheide, Ava was the slightly more successful rider. Butc I guess 2 world champs jerseys shine more over a silver medal and broken collarbone.
 
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Good races yesterday. Even though Brand rode away, I wouild never say it was over until the final, especially with the fluctuating time gaps between Alvarado, Backstedt, Schreiber, and Casasola. What did happen to Casasola in that last lap? Mens was good too. That bad sand section by Nys definitely changed the outcome massively. The Adams and Wyseure had very similar times to Iserbyt and Ronhaar the next lap and were quicker than Kamp, Adams, Wyseure were all much quicker on the final round than Nys and Iserbyt. A final lap with 2 from Baloise, 2 from the Sauces, 2 from Crelan, and Adams coming into the sand and then lumpy section could have played completely differently.

I'd want to see Thibau Nys elaborate on his comments before the race where he said the belgian races could learn a thing or two from this Dublin race. Was he just being polite to the hosts or are there areas in the course layout and general organisation that were better than something more local to him?
 
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I will argue this and say that at least up until the worlds win in Hoogerheide, Ava was the slightly more successful rider. Butc I guess 2 world champs jerseys shine more over a silver medal and broken collarbone.
That was my impression as well. Isabella was probably the better performer over their respective European seasons in 2022-23, prior to Hoogerheide, but not by much, and Ava had the better results prior to that.

My impression, based on limited broadcast coverage, is that Ava might be the more instinctive racer but Isabella is more physically gifted. Of course recent impressions aren't really fair as Ava hasn't had a proper preparation. The coming years with Lidl-Trek will be very interesting.
 

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