Race Thread

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Tough break for Wout. Great job by MVDP managing the crash and then riding a perfect race from there. Hard to say who wins on this course, on this day, without the puncture, but fitting that the best cyclocross racer in the world is the World Champion. Can't wait for the next round at SB. MVDP has to be looking for some payback there.
 
Van der Poel improved his sand passages after the first two laps. Did he changed tyre pressure when he did a bike change? Or was it just confidence because he was in the lead?

Any ideas?
He said he just had a better feeling after the first two laps. However, it's like I've said before, Mathieu is a better leader than a chaser. So it could just be a mental thing or he just had to ride it two times before getting a good feeling for it to make use of his superior techinique.

Wout struggled on the second sand section, while Mathieu rode it clean mostly Wout had to dismount, plus he labored up that bridge while Mathieu used his explosiveness to ride it faster.

Take away the crash from Mathieu and the puncture from Wout and I think we were robbed of a proper battle extraordinaire, again.... sigh.
 
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The puncture was obviously unfortunate, critical, and possibly decisive. I'm not prepared to say it cost WVA the race, but it's hard to imagine a more critical juncture when it could have occurred.

On the other hand, MVDP was better on the bridge climbs (not a surprise, to me) and improved in the sand over the course of the race while Wout seemed to get worse (definitely surprising). The gap after Mathieu's crash had stabilized and was starting to come down before the puncture. Certainly a "mentally tough" performance by the winner, which might come as a surprise to some in the previous pages of this thread.
 
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Now we get to look forward to seeing these two on the road. The show just never stops. Love to see it. Hopefully Mathieu manages his season better than the last one. Would love to see them battling on the road as well a la Ronde.
 
The puncture was obviously unfortunate, critical, and possibly decisive. I'm not prepared to say it cost WVA the race, but it's hard to imagine a more critical juncture when it could have occurred.

On the other hand, MVDP was better on the bridge climbs (not a surprise, to me) and improved in the sand over the course of the race while Wout seemed to get worse (definitely surprising). The gap after Mathieu's crash had stabilized and was starting to come down before the puncture. Certainly a "mentally tough" performance by the winner, which might come as a surprise to some in the previous pages of this thread.
Jesus Christ. Are you also going to say that someone here said Mathieu is weak mentally? Might want to read again. It's really not that hard to understand what was said and meant.

Anyway, I totally agree with the rest of your post.
 
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Jesus Christ. Are you also going to say that someone here said Mathieu was weak mentally? Might want to read again. It's really not that hard to understand what was said and meant.

Anyway, I totally agree with the rest of your post.
Maybe I misread what seemed like a consensus view that MVDP hadn't always responded well to adversity in races. Should read more closely next time. In any case in the second after his crash he looked pretty defeated.

I guess the puncture monster has bitten evenly at World Championships now, MVDP in 2017 and WvA in this edition.
 
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Maybe I misread what seemed like a consensus view that MVDP hadn't always responded well to adversity in races. Should read more closely next time. In any case in the second after his crash he looked pretty defeated.

I guess the puncture monster has bitten evenly at World Championships now, MVDP in 2017 and WvA in this edition.
Today he didnt looked defeated after the crash though. I think he would have come back even without the puncture. He was simply lapping faster every lap in the 2nd half of the race. That being said, it would have been a duel for far longer if WvA didnt puncture.
 
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The nature of the race in combination with the timing of puncture meant that it was really hard to get back that time. WVA had to do it on the sand section, but that meant (in combination with the energy lost due to the puncture) he was probably gassed towards the end of it each time, while MVDP could ride it a bit more conservatively, saving energy for his best bit (the second bridge). Nearly getting back to Mathieu and then making two mistakes in two subsequent critical sand sections probably did Wout in and gave MVDP wings.
 
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Today he didnt looked defeated after the crash though. I think he would have come back even without the puncture. He was simply lapping faster every lap in the 2nd half of the race. That being said, it would have been a duel for far longer if WvA didnt puncture.
I meant literally the second after he went down. It's probably unfair of me to have that impression, he was probably more shocked than anything. Once he was back on he was back to business.
 
At the end of the day everything that was said about Mathieu was based on events prior to today. Like I said, in his last interview before the race he said that certain comments used to keep him up at night, but not anymore. Indicating that he might have finally grown mentally in that aspect. That doesn’t negate everything that’s happened in the past which lead the the consensus about his mentality vs Wout’s.

We’ll never know how the crash and being the chaser might have played out today due to Wout’s puncture. So depending on who’s your favorite rider the opinions will probably be split on if it was just dumb luck or superior mentality.

The truth, as usual, is probably somewhere in the middle.
 
Van Aert said in an interview he's disappointed in his lack of mental resilience today. He normally can go through a wall, but after the puncture and subsequent time loss, he felt something snapped and he couldn't fight back like normally. He said he had very good legs, and congratulated MVDP with a deserved victory.

Whoever you cheer for, I think Wout is a thoroughly decent guy.
 
I give these World races a 5 out of 5. Exciting course, much tougher and technical than expected and even without crowd it was pleasing to eye.

Women Elite:
Fantastic race and Worst within reach of the gold but lost her composure... the grip and the gold.

Men U23
Also an exciting race with the Belgians close to getting it right but at the end just couldn’t beat Kamp and Ronhaar.

Men Elite:
Massive tension in first four laps before Wout lost it in the sand. Van der Poel looked bad during the first lap, particularly in the wet sand and even if he held the wheel he looked really labored. Then when catching up with Wout he had found his legs and rhythm and from that point on the table had turned. Wout started to battle when on the sand and after a couple of stops and running he just began to drop back. Happy to see Aerts do himself justice.
 
Van Aert said in an interview he's disappointed in his lack of mental resilience today. He normally can go through a wall, but after the puncture and subsequent time loss, he felt something snapped and he couldn't fight back like normally. He said he had very good legs, and congratulated MVDP with a deserved victory.

Whoever you cheer for, I think Wout is a thoroughly decent guy.
After all of the comments about the mental aspect. Reminiscent of the age old commentator’s curse in other sports. Love the honesty on Wout’s part though.
 
I guess the puncture monster has bitten evenly at World Championships now, MVDP in 2017 and WvA in this edition.
2015 doesn't count? Because everybody seems to be forgetting van Aert was the strongest in that race.

The puncture was obviously unfortunate, critical, and possibly decisive. I'm not prepared to say it cost WVA the race, but it's hard to imagine a more critical juncture when it could have occurred.

On the other hand, MVDP was better on the bridge climbs (not a surprise, to me) and improved in the sand over the course of the race while Wout seemed to get worse (definitely surprising). The gap after Mathieu's crash had stabilized and was starting to come down before the puncture. Certainly a "mentally tough" performance by the winner, which might come as a surprise to some in the previous pages of this thread.
You mean after van Aert had to ride half a lap on a flat tire and had to gass himself trying to come back? You don't say.
The gap after the crash came down, and then went back up, and then went back down when van Aert punctured. Impossible to conclude that van der Poel was coming back. And just like Wout 10 minutes later, and just like Mathieu last week... coming back doesn't mean anything when you have to go in the red, because you'll cook yourself in the long run. Had Mathieu had a puncture at the moment van Aert closed the gap to 3 seconds, right before the bridge, would you also be saying: "well, van Aert already closed the gap after his puncture anyway, so...".
The puncture, and the distance van Aert had to travel before getting a new bike, decided the race. Plain and simple. That doesn't mean Mathieu didn't ride a strong second part of the race, or that he doesn't deserve it, but the race was decided by the puncture.
 
^^In the end it was decided by the puncture but at the time I thought WvA would come back. He looked just a tiny bit stronger and more confident than VdP up to that point. And he had just 9 seconds coming out of the pit after the bike change. So I really did think he'd bridge across. But somewhere upthread the point was made the VdP might be better with a lead than having to chase -- I can't say if that's a pattern across his career, certain Alaphilippe and Fuglsang would beg to differ -- but today it seemed that taking the lead energized him and settled him down a bit. He did say that he rode the sand much better in the second half.

Another point that I think we can all agree on is that VdP has just incredible bike skills. I thought for sure he'd blown in when his right foot came out of the pedal on the (21%!) bridge, but no, just slammed it back in and continued on...I'd have been sliding back down the hill on my a** if that were me...so well deserved win all around.
 
I think in general being in the lead gives you a mental advantage. At least that’s what Wout also said in a post-race interview and imo Mathieu is also much more “himself” when in the lead. He’s a much better leader than he is a chaser.

Personally I think both positions are pretty stressful. Being chased by someone as strong as you are is pretty stressful imo. Can’t afford to make a mistake or you’re caught. As a chaser it’s the same. Can’t make a mistake or he’s gone, have to keep the leader within striking distance to have a chance.
 
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When do we think Van Aert actually flatted? He said just after the second pit (when van der Poel pitted). MVDP had brought the gap down from 16 or 17 seconds to about 11 going over the bridge -- MVDP gained time on the final two shorter sand sections and bridge each lap but for the second -- and into the pits, and came out of the pits with a 13 second disadvantage at 18:50 (race time). That gap held at 13 until just over 20 minutes. All this while van der Poel was putting down the fastest lap of the race. Seems unlikely he was significantly flat during that minute. Wout gets passed at 21:40 and gets a new bike at 22:30.

The likeliest spot to me a flat would have happened was at the entry or exit of the concrete section by the SimplyRent inflatable (just after 20 minutes).

Another thing I noticed on second viewing of the race was some great Belgian teamwork in the first lap just as they hit the faster surface along the water. Aerts sprinted through the sand off the bridge to get ahead of van der Poel and then stopped and put a foot down in front of MVDP who had to pull a foot out, and then Vantorenhout (I think) sprinted ahead of Mathieu and immediately left a gap for him to close to Van Aert.
 
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