Race Thread

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Such a pity that we hardly ever get to see a real fight.
It was interesting for 3 laps. Mathieu was very lucky three times. He easily could easily have injured himself, his bike could have been damaged, and Wout punctured very soon after.

Anyway, we'll never know how it would have unfolded without the crash and the puncture, van der Poel unfazed by his crash, that alone was very impressive.
 
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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?
 
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.
 
The interesting thing is that for all his technical skills MVDP crashes hard (or almost crashes hard) relatively often. He's definitely on the "ragged edge" quite a bit.
 

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