You are as bad in being subtle about your feelings towards Mathieu as you are in this particular analysis.Heinrich Hausler in da house!
It was nice to see him give it a go. Interesting how MVDP can step right into the pro peloton and win huge races when current and former big-time WT riders are hanging on for dear life in a cyclo-cross race.
How many CX races does Hausler do annually? How long has it been since Hausler was a decent WT rider? What did you expect?
Even Stybar doesn’t “just” enter midway a CX season and finish right behind Mathieu. He finishes well behind the seasoned top CX riders. Again I ask, wat did you expect?
The explosiveness and technique to be a top CX/MTB rider takes time to hone and diminishes over time without practice. It never goes away completely though and I think Stybar will finish higher as the season goes along and he finds that “cross feeling” as Mathieu put it.
Based on the level of skill it takes to be a top CX/MTB rider I think it’s easier to transition to the road if you have the physical ability to go along with it than the other way around. At least it sounds more logical to me.