The "MVP" Mathieu Van der Poel Road Discussion Thread

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I wrote an article on my website about Van der Poel and his desire to combine road-field-MTB for the next three years. It's in Dutch! I hope you enjoy it!

https://www.wieleranalist.be/post/zoektocht-naar-goesting
While i agree he has to keep doing what he loves most, there are some issues with going that route. There is no WT team that can give him that same freedom he currently has. That means some races will remain locked away for him. Maybe the TDF will invite his team next year or the year after that, but i don't easily see Giro or Vuelta doing the same. It will remain an issue if he wants to pick any race he wants. Also, Mathieu will be 29 in 2024, not 28. His birthday is 19th of January. He's 25 now.

I also don't really understand the comparison you are trying to make with Bardet as a reference. Bardet is a great rider, but he isn't as talented as Mathieu, and he isn't as "world-class" in what he does, as Mathieu is in what he does. You could also compare him to Valverde. Or Boonen, Cancellara, even Froome or Contador. They also stuck to road racing, and had a nice palmares. What works well for one rider, doesn't necessarily work for another. But dragging Bardet into it (or any other rider who didn't live up to expectations or got depressed) seems a bit like a stretch to make your case.

The main point is, that if he's happy, that's what matters. His choices will have consequences, some perks, benefits, but there will also be disadvantages. As long as the pros outweigh the cons, and he's ok with that, then whatever anybody else thinks, doesn't matter.
 
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There is indeed no WT-team that can give him the space he has now. I don't think it will bother him for the next three years. He knows it's important to do a GT for his development and he will get the chance in the next two seasons, that's for sure.

The level of Bardet is indeed very different, but that's not the point... It's the point to find pleasure in what you are doing and not to be dictated by the teams, fans or other pressure to ride certain races or tours. Bardet is an example of someone who is dictated by his team to ride the Tour and to centre a lot of his season around it... My point was that he has lost his pleasure in cycling that way. MVDP will never have that because he makes his own choices. Every other rider that talented had already signed a 5 M Euro contract with a WT-topteam. He is chosing the way of the maximum pleasure and will have a longer and more satisfying career that way.

The main point is indeed that a happy MVDP will have a lot of pleasure in cycling in a lot of years to come. His career will be longer.
 
I also think he will have a longer career by doing more or less the same approach that he is doing right now, however introducing GT's in his calendar will be hard and he might be spending his best years barely racing them if he strats to lose his peak condition early.

A rider like him doesn't really need to ride the Giro and the Vuelta and he probably won't ride them until 2024 Olympics because they are difficult to combine with the classics and with the MTB World Championships, respectively, but he will get a lot of pressure to ride the Tour and he will likely ride it in 2022 and 2023 if Alpecin-Fenix can get a wildcard which I am confident they will because ASO has a lot to gain in bringing him over and the team itself is getting stronger. The only problem may be the training camps, which could make him skip more races that he would like.

Regarding next season I think he will end up focusing on the mountain bike in the summer which will likely mean no Tour but in theory he could win 4 big championships races in the same year which would be something extraordinary and unique and might make him barely race MTB in the following seasons and focus more on the road
 
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The level of Bardet is indeed very different, but that's not the point... It's the point to find pleasure in what you are doing and not to be dictated by the teams, fans or other pressure to ride certain races or tours. Bardet is an example of someone who is dictated by his team to ride the Tour and to centre a lot of his season around it... My point was that he has lost his pleasure in cycling that way. MVDP will never have that because he makes his own choices. Every other rider that talented had already signed a 5 M Euro contract with a WT-topteam. He is chosing the way of the maximum pleasure and will have a longer and more satisfying career that way.
The point i was making about Bardet, is that had he been an actual winner, a better GT rider, had he won the Tour and the Giro, that he might have been a lot happier. On the other hand, had Mathieu ben a less gifted rider, who always finished 3rd or 2nd, be it at CX, Road or MTB, that he would probably be a lot less happy. Regardless of them being forced or not by their team.

Hence, the actual level they reach in wichever discipline, will automatically determine how happy they are doing it. As such, you should not compare Mathieu to Bardet, but to Froome or Contador.
 
VD Poel has literally every monument on his race program now + tirreno + strade + milano torino + amstel + fw right now...

After Algarve I'm now sure he can't do a thing in FW/LBL/Lombardy (unless something drastically changed during covid which i dont think so), strade is 50/50 wether it's too hard or not, the easier tirreno stages sure, and amstel is right about his limit in climbing right now. Could win 3/5 monuments already :p
 
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VD Poel has literally every monument on his race program now + tirreno + strade + milano torino + amstel + fw right now...

After Algarve I'm now sure he can't do a thing in FW/LBL/Lombardy (unless something drastically changed during covid which i dont think so), strade is 50/50 wether it's too hard or not, the easier tirreno stages sure, and amstel is right about his limit in climbing right now. Could win 3/5 monuments already :p
If Stybar/Cancellara were able to win Strade Bianche it shouldn't be too hard for him.
 
The point i was making about Bardet, is that had he been an actual winner, a better GT rider, had he won the Tour and the Giro, that he might have been a lot happier. On the other hand, had Mathieu ben a less gifted rider, who always finished 3rd or 2nd, be it at CX, Road or MTB, that he would probably be a lot less happy. Regardless of them being forced or not by their team.

Hence, the actual level they reach in wichever discipline, will automatically determine how happy they are doing it. As such, you should not compare Mathieu to Bardet, but to Froome or Contador.
I'd compare him to Sagan, who races the races the sponsors demand/pay him the most. Meanwhile MVP gets to race the races he wants to race and still makes seven figures per year.
 
With 3/5 monuments I'm pretty sure Dekker means MSR, RvV and PR. He did say he thinks Mathieu can't do a thing in FW/LBL/Lombardia. Strade should definitely be possible for him. I don't think he is without chances in FW but it might be just too much for him.
 
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VD Poel has literally every monument on his race program now + tirreno + strade + milano torino + amstel + fw right now...

After Algarve I'm now sure he can't do a thing in FW/LBL/Lombardy (unless something drastically changed during covid which i dont think so), strade is 50/50 wether it's too hard or not, the easier tirreno stages sure, and amstel is right about his limit in climbing right now. Could win 3/5 monuments already :p
Strade is certainly possible, but it will depend on who he is going to the finish with (on the other hand, doesn't every race). Basically the same as van Aert. If there is an actual puncheur there, like Alaphilippe, or perhaps even Teuns (who i think should be able to win it as well), it will be harder, but he could finish solo or with someone like Vanmarcke too, lol.
 
Seems like the extra variable for Strada this year is what kind of race fitness each top tier favorite will bring that day. The riders themselves may not be sure what level they’re at (although I realize they will know their training power outputs).
 
VD Poel has literally every monument on his race program now + tirreno + strade + milano torino + amstel + fw right now...

After Algarve I'm now sure he can't do a thing in FW/LBL/Lombardy (unless something drastically changed during covid which i dont think so), strade is 50/50 wether it's too hard or not, the easier tirreno stages sure, and amstel is right about his limit in climbing right now. Could win 3/5 monuments already :p
Quite a nice schedule considering the small duration that the season will have (let's see if those races actually take place). The only drawback is that it will be his second year without racing the MTB World Championships.

He is certainly too heavy for La Fleche but I am curious to see him in LBL, I think the new flat finish might help him.
 
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He is certainly too heavy for La Fleche but I am curious to see him in LBL, I think the new flat finish might help him.
People keep saying that. But taken into account the amount of altimeters that are climmed during MTB races and the amount of pure of acceleration he has, I really wouln't put it beyond his skill sets to finish top 5 in the Fleche Walloon, maybe even more.

Besides Lombardia, I really don't see any major classic that he couldn't win if the race goes his way.
 
Quite a nice schedule considering the small duration that the season will have (let's see if those races actually take place). The only drawback is that it will be his second year without racing the MTB World Championships.

He is certainly too heavy for La Fleche but I am curious to see him in LBL, I think the new flat finish might help him.
Adri finished second at Fleche and Lombardia, so Matthieu has someone in his corner who knows what's needed to win both. Matthieu seems to not be above accepting guidance.
 
Looks like it was made the finish in 1984, but was it in the race earlier when Adri came second in 1981? Adri would have raced it with the Mur as the finish though, since he only turned pro in 1980.

Didn't realise it was made the finish so recently, thanks.
 
Looks like it was made the finish in 1984, but was it in the race earlier when Adri came second in 1981? Adri would have raced it with the Mur as the finish though, since he only turned pro in 1980.

Didn't realise it was made the finish so recently, thanks.
First time in the race was 1982. First time at the finish 1985 according to wikipedia. In my memory it was even more recent.

La Flèche wallonne
Le mur de Huy est pour la première fois au programme de la Flèche wallonne en 1982, mais il ne sert pas encore d'arrivée. Il faut attendre l'édition 1985 pour voir la course se terminer au sommet du mur.
 
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Strade is certainly possible, but it will depend on who he is going to the finish with (on the other hand, doesn't every race). Basically the same as van Aert. If there is an actual puncheur there, like Alaphilippe, or perhaps even Teuns (who i think should be able to win it as well), it will be harder, but he could finish solo or with someone like Vanmarcke too, lol.
Logic: Don't agree at all with your "same as van Aert" comment. VA is great racer in his own right, but he's not VDP in any way, shape or form. Also don't agree at all with your comment about VDP having problems with "an actual puncheur there, like Alaphilippe, or...". Seems like you are very knowledgeable, but what races are you watching? IMO you are grossly underestimating VDP's possibilities based on his past results. I could provide numerous examples across all three disciplines, but bottom line is that riders like ALPH and Teuns (seriously?) are nowhere near VDP in terms of talent and sheer killer/winner instinct. Road folks need to come to grips with the fact that VDP is on another level than the guys you have been following .
 
I have rarely missed a cyclocross race since the Groenendael/De Clercq days, so i know about that part of the equation. Not a big follower of MTB, but between Road and CX, i have a pretty good idea of what he is capable of, thanks. Not going to get into this debate. The way you talk about top quality riders as van Aert, Alaphilippe and (yeah, seriously) Teuns, speaks volumes. We'll talk after he's blown Teuns and Alaphilippe away on Mur de Huy.

These are the final k's of Strade. Again, i'm not saying it's impossible for him, but against real lightweight puncheurs like Alaphilippe (who i deem of equal overall talent), i do not think he has much of a chance. It's 500m of 12.4% average, with ramps up to 16%.

 
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