Although you won't see his activities on Strava, his ride count on his profile has been going up by one almost every day, since about a week after CX worlds. So he's training and uploading, just setting everything to private.Any word on his training? All is silent, is he chilling in Belgium or enjoying that Italian scenery?
I kind've like when he goes dark - adds a bit of mystery. For all the criticism he gets about being "unprofessional", he also has a reputation for being able to handle huge training loads. You have to be massively strong to put someone of WVA's freakish caliber under pressure from the word go in a one hour race. If everything has gone smoothly (for the first time in while) since Hoogerheide, we could very well see full MVDP beast mode on display at SB. Too bad Pogi won't be there to take his turn in the pain closet.
I wouldn't be much worried about that. Last year he was able to cover all Pogi's and WvA's attacks on Poggio after like 3 weeks of proper training and the whole winter ruined by his back problems. Two weeks later he won Dwars door Vlaanderen and De Ronde, then was 4th at Amstel and 9th at Roubaix.It's possible, but he's only had three race days since dropping out of the TDF. And although he was improving this winter, still not near his 20 or 21 form?
Hope he's back to somewhere near his best as I much prefer watching him on the road to CX. He has to be a bit more tactical, but will always try to animate a race in a way few other riders do.
Indeed. 2019 showed what a near-peak MVDP could do (winning Denain, Dwars, Brabantse Pijl and Amstel, and 4th in Gent-Wevelgem and 4th in the Ronde where he was probably the strongest rider). MVDP in 2020 won his one target of the fall-spring classics season in a year where much of the early season would have been geared towards Tokyo 2020. 2021 and 2022, despite some big wins in each year, were disappointing due to a variety of factors that we can all list.I'm still waiting for a peak classics season by Van der Poel. There are and have been better riders in total (like Pogacar at the moment), but I'm not sure if I've ever seen a rider with a higher top level in a specific type of races, that is the races with short and steep hills like Strade, RVV, etc. Van der Poel is able to win about all races from Strade to Amstel. It is of course almost impossible to sustain a peak form that long but winning 2 monuments (2 of MSR, RVV and PR) and a couple of semi-classics in one spring classics season should be possible.
That CX race was nice and all but not even his most exciting CX race this year. Hopefully he uses TA to build and doesn’t go overboard and is in perfect shape by Flanders.Well, you never really know what you might get with MVDP given he can deliver the spectacular when it's not really logical. But today's race probably says he is right on track to be good at RVV and PR - versus '21 when he was clearly lesser at RVV than at SB and TA. Probably got a serious training effect today and he'll build properly from here. Fanboys like me want to see him win everything, but I'll take the CX World Championships (will probably go down as the best bike race of '23) and a nice build towards a RVV/PR double with maybe a SR thrown in for good measure and call it a good first half of '23. Then throw in a Yellow jersey and a Road WC and it's all good. Of course it will still be a bit disappointing that we don't get to see him tear it up on the MTB, but you have to be realistic, no?
I mean, he took a month off, if anything I'd say he lacked racing endurance. Going from hour long cyclocross races to doing long training rides isn't going to quite cut it. Tirreno-Adriatico should help a ton with this. I am just glad he didn't try to go as deep as possible to catch up to Pidcock, the fatigue from that level of ride likely would've cut into the adaptations T-A will help with.
I guess like Wout, MvdP's form also took a dive after the CX World Championships. Maybe he can make some improvements for Flanders and Paris Roubaix.
Comparing MSR to Strade is pointless in any case.Last year he came out flying in his first race (MSR) but was cooked less than a month later at Paris-Roubaix. He says he was expecting something like today's result, and while I'm sure he's disappointed, hopefully this is a sign of a proper build-up to the spring's real goals, which are surely Flanders and Roubaix.