Race Thread

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Aaaah little bit of frustration here. Again a flat tire that prevents a duel to the end. Would have loved to see them side by side till the finish and then do the Flaunders sprint all over again.
 
Aaaah little bit of frustration here. Again a flat tire that prevents a duel to the end. Would have loved to see them side by side till the finish and then do the Flaunders sprint all over again.
I've said this in the past a few times, but i'm still 100% convinced the reason why Mathieu has a lot of his punctures, is because he takes every obstacle and corner at a much higher speed. There is a downside to his way of racing. More pebbles and rocks, tree roots etc, accumulate in corners. Meaning a higher probability of getting a puncture.

After all, a deserved win for van Aert. Mathieu had 21 seconds to close with more than 5 laps remaining. He tried twice and couldn't close it, lost the amount of time the gained in the first place and cooked himself.
 
If next weeks course is going to be fast like they're saying in the post race interviews, it should suit Mathieu a whole lot more than today, yes?
It definitely will but Wout has a slight mental advantage.

A couple of take aways from this season’s races. Van der Poel’s advantage from last year has somewhat diminished. He is still the superior rider on fast, technical, dry and sandy courses but has proven to be quite human on muddy hilly courses with lots of running. Yet when he puts everything together no one can beat him.

Wout has regained his former quality as a cross rider. On muddy tracks he is rock solid and makes very few mistakes. Probably he has the highest FTP in the peloton - by a margin.

Pidcock looks better and better but is still quite some way behind the two big. Personally I really look forward to seeing him on the road and MTB.

One can also expect to soon see a generation shift in men’s CX with Nys, Kamp and Vandeputte emerging and possibly van der Haar, van Kessel, Hermans, Merlier to fade - just like Meeusen, DVDP. Sweeck, Vanthourenhout, Aerts and Iserbyt will likely remain competitive.

Women’s CX racing is getting more interesting with lots of new strong riders.
 
I think it's obvious who's the favourites in the elite Men's race at Oostende, but I really don't know about the other categories. The elite women's seems wide open between the trio of dutch riders, Brand, Alvarado and Betsema but I'm not sure who would come out on top. Brand and Betsema were really strong in the sand last week, and Betsema is proven in the sand at Koksijde (although the legitimacy of that win is a discussion for another subforum, and sand and course as a whole is quite different to Koksijde). However this week they both seemed to be off the mark. They're both normally really strong on the races with lots of elevation changes as well but Betsema didn't seem to be on good form today and then yesterday wasn't that great for Brand.
I would say the dark horse for me is Bakker as she's steadily been there or thereabouts throughout this year and has hit the ground running this weekend ready for next. But she will race at U23 level like at euros. Speaking of U23, this is wide open. Vas looked to be favourite during the Kerstperiode but wasn't up there like previous tough courses like Namur. Pieterse had an off day today, Van Empel is looking good and so was Kay today (but what's her sand skills like compared to the Dutch and the Belgians). Shirin Van Anrooij is also riding so it will be interesting to see how she is after her injury and a big training camp with Trek Segafredo.

U23 men is interesting too. No Nys who did look good yesterday so belgians have Kielich, Vandeputte (looking good after his spinal injury) and Vandebosch. Kamp is euro champ and has done well throughout the year, with Ronhaar also looking great. Verstrynge is on a great run of form since Meulebeke, but the interesting riders are the British. Mein as the only U23 World Cup winner this year did alright at Koksijde last year but the other podium riders at euros and Tabor of Turner and Mason haven't really shown well in elite. Mason had his collarbone broken at Merksplas and then crashed again at the start with Turner whos only other notable day is Dendemonde.

Anyway, it'll be really interesting come Saturday and Sunday.
 
I've said this in the past a few times, but i'm still 100% convinced the reason why Mathieu has a lot of his punctures, is because he takes every obstacle and corner at a much higher speed. There is a downside to his way of racing. More pebbles and rocks, tree roots etc, accumulate in corners. Meaning a higher probability of getting a puncture.

After all, a deserved win for van Aert. Mathieu had 21 seconds to close with more than 5 laps remaining. He tried twice and couldn't close it, lost the amount of time the gained in the first place and cooked himself.
Logic, do you really think spotting Wout 29 seconds is no big thing? Come on. As for flats, Wout has one and MVDP 2 this year - pretty random difference, no? Other than the mudfest, the times Wout has tried to chase back to MVDP this year have been a result of him getting dropped by MVDP - whereas MVDP is chasing back because of mechs.
 
Oostende will be a fast race. Only the sand section could be tricky and heavy. Difficult to overtake unless the riders have to run. BUT...... the organisers were forced (?) to mix the natural sand of the beach with rough sand. So probably the riders will be able to stay in the saddle, the whole beach section. At the Belgian championship, a few years ago, on the same track, the riders could stay in the saddle, the first part of the beach, then had to run to come back in the hippodrome. What a pity they transformed a natural course mixing raw construction sand (forced by the UCI ?). I don't like courses where you cannot not use your strenght and technique to overtake because there is only one trace.
 
Logic, do you really think spotting Wout 29 seconds is no big thing? Come on. As for flats, Wout has one and MVDP 2 this year - pretty random difference, no? Other than the mudfest, the times Wout has tried to chase back to MVDP this year have been a result of him getting dropped by MVDP - whereas MVDP is chasing back because of mechs.
It was 21 seconds, not 29. Or in your universe van Aert didn't crash?

2 vs 1, only a difference of 1. Or a difference of 50%? He was the only top rider to get a puncture yesterday.

Don't know why you are dragging in other races, since i was taking about yesterday.

PS: i also didn't say 21 seconds is no big deal, i was saying he lost every second he won, and then some. He started his comeback at 21s, got back to 10s, then dropped back to 21s. Then he made a second attempt, got to 6s, and then dropped all the way back to 34 seconds. Then he crashed twice and lost an entire minute.
 
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Oostende will be a fast race. Only the sand section could be tricky and heavy. Difficult to overtake unless the riders have to run. BUT...... the organisers were forced (?) to mix the natural sand of the beach with rough sand. So probably the riders will be able to stay in the saddle, the whole beach section. At the Belgian championship, a few years ago, on the same track, the riders could stay in the saddle, the first part of the beach, then had to run to come back in the hippodrome. What a pity they transformed a natural course mixing raw construction sand (forced by the UCI ?). I don't like courses where you cannot not use your strenght and technique to overtake because there is only one trace.
Erwin Verwecken did a course preview. Very 'unmuddy' on the infield of the horse track but alot of deep wet beach sand in the other side of the bridge. Don't fully understand dutch, but at one point I think it was about the tide and how a couple of meters higher or lower could be the difference between running and riding.

View: https://youtu.be/z5AKGcAYZBg
 
It was 21 seconds, not 29. Or in your universe van Aert didn't crash?

2 vs 1, only a difference of 1. Or a difference of 50%? He was the only top rider to get a puncture yesterday.

Don't know why you are dragging in other races, since i was taking about yesterday.
Kind of agree. I haven’t paid all too much attention but maybe you’re right that MVDP has an aggressive riding style that makes him more susceptible to punctures.

It can also be that he rides at a slightly lower tire pressure in order to have better grip and traction. The balance between tire pressure/grip and the risk of puncture is really delicate. Personally - being a masters racer without all the support of a pro rider - I always opt for a little too high tire pressure in order to minimise risk of puncture. Mathieu has extraordinary skills and all the support a top rider should have so he probably goes to the extreme with the potential cost of puncturing.

The one race that springs to mind where punctures really decided the race outcome is the World Championship in Bieles Luxembourg 2016 where MVDP punctured three (?) times and Wout none (riding green Michelins on Dugast (?) casings). Lots of the top riders punctured at that race BTW.

No matter what, Wout looked really strong in Overijse and on that kind of course with those kind of conditions (cf Valkenburg 2018) my thinking is that he has the upper hand on Mathieu. These two riders are so closely matched that the tiniest differences, mistakes and conditions will favour one or the other. This should be a good thing for cycling in general and cyclocross in particular. The battle continues...
 
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Stybar will ride WC, suggests race for third is "wide open." That would be cool.

I think I might give Wout the edge this year. MVDP has been beatable by 2 (gasp!) riders, although Pidcock seems to have faded a bit, and yes, I know, flats and all that, but I think in the 2 previous years he would have made up the gap yesterday. Still give MVDP the technical edge but he may have to be perfect to beat Wout, who seems to have a lot of confidence right how. Just hope for no flats, no mechanicals and a clean, hard-fought race...
 
Stybar will ride WC, suggests race for third is "wide open." That would be cool.

I think I might give Wout the edge this year. MVDP has been beatable by 2 (gasp!) riders, although Pidcock seems to have faded a bit, and yes, I know, flats and all that, but I think in the 2 previous years he would have made up the gap yesterday. Still give MVDP the technical edge but he may have to be perfect to beat Wout, who seems to have a lot of confidence right how. Just hope for no flats, no mechanicals and a clean, hard-fought race...
Wout will also have to be perfect to beat Mathieu though. It’s not “just” the other way around. I know Mathieu hasn’t been as dominant this year but he still won more races than anyone else. He’s also beaten Wout on more occasions than the other way around. He’s also had some bad luck, as has others of course, but the fact remains.

Don’t get me wrong, if Wout wins the WC he’d be just as deserving because he’s the only one who has consistently kept Mathieu on his toes and even beat him on 3 occasions. No one else would be deserving though, based on this season’s results since Mathieu and Wout started racing, including Piddy.

Could make a case for Iserbyt but it’d be purely based on pre-mvdp/wva period.

As far as making up the gap, well, I don’t remember him having this much bad luck compared to last year. So I don’t know what you base that on. It is WvA we are talking about after all. But if that’s the argument than how many time has Wout bridged the gap to Mathieu this year?

I can’t split them tbh. It will all depend on the form and luck of the day. For me it’s 50/50. Wout does have a mental edge though, having beat him in their last encounter. Wouldn’t be surprised if either of them wins.

Would definitely be surprised if someone else other than those two wins though.
 
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I could see it going either way, depending on course conditions, luck, etc., but the hard data this year and over their careers says Wout typically needs variables to tip in his favor to beat MVDP. In a 100 races MVDP wins 65% of the time. The only race Wout beat MVDP straight up this year was Dendermonde. Unlikely he would've won the first MVDP flat race earlier this year and probably 50/50 yesterday. All that said, as an MVDP fan, Wout makes me extremely nervous. The amount of power he must be laying down when he's pedaling a big gear through thick, sticky mud sections is pretty wild. He's obviously an absolute beast. In the end, they're lucky to have each other. Sugar Ray Leornard needed Duran and Hearns. Ali needed Frazier. Senna needed Prost, etc., etc.
 
I could see it going either way, depending on course conditions, luck, etc., but the hard data this year and over their careers says Wout typically needs variables to tip in his favor to beat MVDP. In a 100 races MVDP wins 65% of the time. The only race Wout beat MVDP straight up this year was Dendermonde. Unlikely he would've won the first MVDP flat race earlier this year and probably 50/50 yesterday. All that said, as an MVDP fan, Wout makes me extremely nervous. The amount of power he must be laying down when he's pedaling a big gear through thick, sticky mud sections is pretty wild. He's obviously an absolute beast. In the end, they're lucky to have each other. Sugar Ray Leornard needed Duran and Hearns. Ali needed Frazier. Senna needed Prost, etc., etc.
Yup! Spot on.

Regarding Stybar I think it’s fantastic that he goes to the Worlds but I give him small chances of even a top 10 placing.
 
Lots of technical mishaps today on Eurosport Player.

Come on, 50 minutes without being able to fix the audio channels that were sent and being forced to listen to no audio when Jeremy Powers talked?

Now the riders are being presented and we don't have feed.
To be honest, the World Cup coverage has been disappointing this season. Going live while on the start line isn't good enough; no track preview, etc
A definite step down from last season. Even allowing for Covid, it hasn't been good. The coverage of the MTB World Cup in Covid times was still miles better.
 
I could see it going either way, depending on course conditions, luck, etc., but the hard data this year and over their careers says Wout typically needs variables to tip in his favor to beat MVDP. In a 100 races MVDP wins 65% of the time. The only race Wout beat MVDP straight up this year was Dendermonde. Unlikely he would've won the first MVDP flat race earlier this year and probably 50/50 yesterday. All that said, as an MVDP fan, Wout makes me extremely nervous. The amount of power he must be laying down when he's pedaling a big gear through thick, sticky mud sections is pretty wild. He's obviously an absolute beast. In the end, they're lucky to have each other. Sugar Ray Leornard needed Duran and Hearns. Ali needed Frazier. Senna needed Prost, etc., etc.
Both have their strengths in which they are better than their rival. Neither have real weaknesses, though compared to each other, you could say Wout's weakness is his technique, Mathieu doesn't really have any weakness and is the most balanced and allround rider of the bunch. Wout is a better runner, though Mathieu is still an excellent runner. Wout has more power, though Mathieu is not far behind and both are miles ahead of the rest. Wout seems to handle extreme weather conditions better and i also still give him an edge when it comes to fighting spirit and mentality. But Mathieu is so far superior on a technical level, and even if he is somewhat behind Wout on a few other key points, technique is more often than not the deciding factor, especially on a fast course. One sliding, having to put your foot on the ground and get going again, can cost you 3 seconds. A second and third mistake, you might not make up for.

This year we've seen more bad weather than the past few years, hard terrain, fast courses. They favored Mathieu in a way nobody could come close. In bad weather and hard conditions on slow courses, Mathieu becomes human. But even then, probably only one guy can beat him.
 
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