Teams & Riders The "MVP" Mathieu Van der Poel Road Discussion Thread

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I don't disagree with you, but you never know what tomorrow holds...
I don’t necessarily disagree with this way of thinking either, but I don’t think that’s the reason Mathieu races the way he does.

His reasons for long range attacks range from simple boredom to being cold if his post-race comments are to be believed...

That’s a whole different story than adhering to a certain philosophy of life.

In his case he’s so unbelievably strong that he’s “arrogant” enough to launch those long-range attacks when it’s because he’s so strong that he can afford to wait sometimes and use that explosive acceleration and power in one thermonuclear attack in the final and not have to be THIS fatigued at the end.

They say that sport on the very highest level, when you go well beyond your limits isn’t exactly healthy. Wout reiterated that in his post-race comments as well. It’s Ok to do it sometimes but not everytime or if it’s not really necessary. Might do more harm than good.
 
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I don’t necessarily disagree with this way of thinking either, but I don’t think that’s the reason Mathieu races the way he does.

His reasons for long range attacks range from simple boredom to being cold if his post-race comments are to be believed...

That’s a whole different story than adhering to a certain philosophy of life.

In his case he’s so unbelievably strong that he’s “arrogant” enough to launch those long-range attacks when it’s because he’s so strong that he can afford to wait sometimes and use that explosive acceleration and power in one thermonuclear attack in the final and not have to be THIS fatigued at the end.

They say that sport on the very highest level, when you go well beyond your limits isn’t exactly healthy. Wout reiterated that in his post-race comments as well. It’s Ok to do it sometimes but not everytime or if it’s not really necessary. Might do more harm than good.
He's used to being a soloist as a dominant CX rider. When it gets cold, wet and windy anyone....ANYONE that know how to race starts to attack and hopes a few folks come along. It beats freezing and lengthening the period of suffering. Any you usually do much better than being pack filler.
 
I've come to the conclusion that he's terrible ineffective this season:
  • Could've won Kuurne if he wasn't hell bent on attacking from 80km on and trying to "train" for Strade
  • Could've won Le Samyn if he didn't break his steer.
  • Could've won Tirreno stage 2 if he wasn't positioning so poorly.
And then he nearly lost stage 5 as well because he attacked "because he felt cold" instead of waiting and probably destroying them on the final climb.
 
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I've come to the conclusion that he's terrible ineffective this season:
  • Could've won Kuurne if he wasn't hell bent on attacking from 80km on and trying to "train" for Strade
  • Could've won Le Samyn if he didn't break his steer.
  • Could've won Tirreno stage 2 if he wasn't positioning so poorly.
And then he nearly lost stage 5 as well because he attacked "because he felt cold" instead of waiting and probably destroying them on the final climb.
Agreed. He should stick with cyclocross.
 
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Spoken like someone that hasn't won a race in both disciplines....How long had he actually had a road career?
if you are talking WT level, since 2019

but if you are talking aboutside that, his whole life. He has raced road in all youth categories and at .2/.1 UCI level in his pro career. They were planning to go road in 2020 (WT races) but because he won the dutch championships in 2018 they fast tracked it a year earlier.

But he's always also been a road racer (road junior world champion in 2013 i think?).

What's new is mountainbiking. He only picked that up a year or 4 ago. And it took him 3 years to become world top at that.
 
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if you are talking WT level, since 2019

but if you are talking aboutside that, his whole life. He has raced road in all youth categories and at .2/.1 UCI level in his pro career. They were planning to go road in 2020 (WT races) but because he won the dutch championships in 2018 they fast tracked it a year earlier.

But he's always also been a road racer (road junior world champion in 2013 i think?).

What's new is mountainbiking. He only picked that up a year or 4 ago. And it took him 3 years to become world top at that.
Sounds like all he needs to do is learn a bit more about the team sport aspect of road and stage racing. He's clearly successful when he is responsible for his total results; then can take time off to recover. Pro road cycling tends to take the mystery out of a rider's game and his adversaries not only won't lose; they use you to help them. Pogachar is an excellent TdF winner that kept most everything under wraps until he could really capitalize on it. He'll be tested this Tour. MVP needs some teammates if he expects to have Roglic level success, crashes aside.
 
MVDP probably "learned" more than he ever wanted to about about road and stage racing growing up - maybe picked up a bit from his Dad and Grandpa here and there around the house. So guessing he just doesn't give a sh__ about the way things have always been done - cause it makes for an extremely boring sport to watch and probably even more so to do. So if your a genetic freak who loves racing bikes why not just go hell for leather whenever you feel like it.
 
MVDP probably "learned" more than he ever wanted to about about road and stage racing growing up - maybe picked up a bit from his Dad and Grandpa here and there around the house. So guessing he just doesn't give a sh__ about the way things have always been done - cause it makes for an extremely boring sport to watch and probably even more so to do. So if your a genetic freak who loves racing bikes why not just go hell for leather whenever you feel like it.
I'm totally sympathetic to that attitude, if he has it and my comment was in response to the suggestion he give it up (I hope not). He, like Sagan is one of the current rare talents that can decide on what terms he races although Sagan seems dedicated to supporting teammates if he's not into an effort that day. I haven't seen enough of MVP to know much other than being impressed by his cyclocross power. Road/Stage racing is a hard profession and grinding for 3 weeks is not everyone's idea of fun, assuming you have the genetics and work ethic to even be successful.
 
It’s not about him not racing the way he wants to, it’s about him having a long and successful career with as many wins as someone of his talents deserves.

This includes his goals in other cycling disciplines like MTB and the olympics. Things that bring him fulfillment and how to best go about your career in order to achieve those dreams.

I’m sure he himself, with time and experience, will learn to dial it back sometimes without necessarily going against his character or what makes cycling fun for him. Like maybe waiting 10-15 more k’s. Does a world of difference.

I understand fully the appreciation and entertainment value for us the spectators and armchair cyclists, but I’d like to enjoy his exploits on the bike for as long as possible. I’d also enjoy very much seeing him achieve all of his dreams on a bike.

Same goes for Wout. I hope he wins multiple GT’s, monuments and classics, but these guys rarely take a brake from racing all year long and when they do it’s a very short one. Mathieu said as much in a recent interview.

Gilbert spoke on this as well saying that he wonders how long these guys can keep this up. Who knows better about this topic than one of the best classics riders in recent memory?
 
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It’s not about him not racing the way he wants to, it’s about him having a long and successful career with as many wins as someone of his talents deserves.

This includes his goals in other cycling disciplines like MTB and the olympics. Things that bring him fulfillment and how to best go about your career in order to achieve those dreams.

I’m sure he himself, with time and experience, will learn to dial it back sometimes without necessarily going against his character or what makes cycling fun for him. Like maybe waiting 10-15 more k’s. Does a world of difference.

I understand fully the appreciation and entertainment value for us the spectators and armchair cyclists, but I’d like to enjoy his exploits on the bike for as long as possible. I’d also enjoy very much seeing him achieve all of his dreams on a bike.

Same goes for Wout. I hope he wins multiple GT’s, monuments and classics, but these guys rarely take a brake from racing all year long and when they do it’s a very short one. Mathieu said as much in a recent interview.

Gilbert spoke on this as well saying that he wonders how long these guys can keep this up. Who knows better about this topic than one of the best classics riders in recent memory?
It's natural that they (WVA and MVP) will become more selective about their efforts. Mentally you can't hammer yourself regularly and then lose without also losing the love of the game. They both seem like they're capable of making some adjustments so they can last. I hope so, too.
 
Wout seems fine with pacing his efforts (hell, he's fine pacing teammates up mountains day in, day out), but MVDP doesn't seemed to be wired for anything other than going ba__s out. Probably why he prefers racing MTB and Cross - where it's pretty much hammer down from the start and the strongest most technically gifted guy wins pretty much every single time. MVDP doesn't even have the patience for one day road races, let alone a GT. They're both phenomenal talents, but very, very different temperments it seems. Their rivalry reminds me a bit of Prost/Senna, minus the fact they're basically the same age. Honestly though, MVDP has pretty much owned Wout during their careers head to head.
 
Wout seems fine with pacing his efforts (hell, he's fine pacing teammates up mountains day in, day out), but MVDP doesn't seemed to be wired for anything other than going ba__s out. Probably why he prefers racing MTB and Cross - where it's pretty much hammer down from the start and the strongest most technically gifted guy wins pretty much every single time. MVDP doesn't even have the patience for one day road races, let alone a GT. They're both phenomenal talents, but very, very different temperments it seems. Their rivalry reminds me a bit of Prost/Senna, minus the fact they're basically the same age. Honestly though, MVDP has pretty much owned Wout during their careers head to head.
... in CX. And even then, not every year. I could agree with most of your post, but than that last sentence... ugh.

But yes, i've been saying for basically years that they are quite different. Their CX head to head doesn't favor Wout simply because it is basically tailored to Mathieu's skillset, especially in mild winters like the ones we've had the past few years. And i'm glad that some longterm MvdP fanboys are now starting to show Wout the respect he deserves. Don't underestimate the impact both have had on each other's development either. They would both be lesser riders had they never crossed swords. And both their victories would be much more hollow and less meaningful without the competition of the other.
 
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Wout seems fine with pacing his efforts (hell, he's fine pacing teammates up mountains day in, day out), but MVDP doesn't seemed to be wired for anything other than going ba__s out. Probably why he prefers racing MTB and Cross - where it's pretty much hammer down from the start and the strongest most technically gifted guy wins pretty much every single time. MVDP doesn't even have the patience for one day road races, let alone a GT. They're both phenomenal talents, but very, very different temperments it seems. Their rivalry reminds me a bit of Prost/Senna, minus the fact they're basically the same age. Honestly though, MVDP has pretty much owned Wout during their careers head to head.
Except maybe in GT efforts or where team strategy is in play. I can't say either knows that mode because almost everyone has a DS in their earpiece but WVA is a teamer; MVP is a soloist. It's hard to be the diva for 3 weeks.
 
And i'm glad that some longterm MvdP fanboys are now starting to show Wout the respect he deserves.
I don't recall seeing any "fanboys" diss Wout, or that Wout had been disrespected in general. Mvdp has had a few more transcendent moments that might have overshadowed Wout's mere brilliance...

Honestly though, MVDP has pretty much owned Wout during their careers head to head.
This is mostly true -- if both are going for the win. Obviously there are many more races in which Wout can compete -- TTs, hillier one-day races and now multiday stage races.

Except maybe in GT efforts or where team strategy is in play. I can't say either knows that mode because almost everyone has a DS in their earpiece but WVA is a teamer; MVP is a soloist. It's hard to be the diva for 3 weeks.
But who really wants to see MvdP working for others? I recall a lot of traffic last Tour bemoaning the fact that Jumbo was using their first- or second-best rider as a domestique. We saw a glimpse in the 2019 Tour of what a less-fettered Wout can do in a three-week race until his crash. He could dominate the green jersey and probably win every ITT, plus pick up a rolling stage win or three if he wanted...just as long as he didn't have to pull as part of a train and could take it easy for some of the mountain stages.
 
Amazing trophy cabinet for somebody who's been "owned" most of his career then. Sure, Wout wins when Mathieu isn't feeling like it. :sweatsmile:
Or when Mathieu is injured.

You can't deny the past few years that Mathieu has had the upper hand almost all the time in cross races. I recall the time I got into that discipline where Wout was the best (maybe 2016) but every season since, he hasn't been, even if he surprised twice by winning the Worlds where Mathieu was the favourite.
 
Amazing trophy cabinet for somebody who's been "owned" most of his career then. Sure, Wout wins when Mathieu isn't feeling like it. :sweatsmile:
I think “owned” is a bit of a derogatory and misrepresentative term. Head-to-head should be nuanced.

* Does he mean in general both CX and RR?

*Does he mean H2H when they both contest the same RR?

*Or when they both contest the final of a RR?

Strictly H2H speaking and without nuance:

In the first case I’d agree that Mathieu has clearly bested Wout overall, but that’d be mostly down to CX.

In the second case I’d say they’re pretty much equal. 2019: Mathieu got a better result than Wout in RVV (4th vs 14th), GW (4th vs 29th), and Amstel (1st vs 58th).
2020: Wout got a better result than Mathieu in SB (1st vs 13th), MSR (1st vs 13th) and GW (8th vs 9th). Mathieu beat him once in RVV (1st vs 2nd).
2021: Mathieu got the better of Wout in SB (1st vs 4th) and stage 3 and 5 of Tirreno. Wout got the better of Mathieu in stage 1 and 7 of Tirreno.

In the third case I can only think of the 2018 EC where they both contested the final and Mathieu bested Wout (2nd vs 3rd), the RVV in 2019 where Mathieu won, and stage 3 of this year’s Tirreno where Mathieu won.

Maybe someone else has more info on this? Strictly directly contesting the final, as in, for the win in the final section of the race.
 
Or when Mathieu is injured.

You can't deny the past few years that Mathieu has had the upper hand almost all the time in cross races. I recall the time I got into that discipline where Wout was the best (maybe 2016) but every season since, he hasn't been, even if he surprised twice by winning the Worlds where Mathieu was the favourite.
In cross... he wasn't talking strictly about cross. Read my initial response. And even in cross, i wouldn't exactly call it "owned", but whatever. Most of the crosses Wout won, he "owned" Mathieu by a large margin, but Matieu won much more races overall. I think respect is due, and the term "owned" is out of place.
 
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In cross... he wasn't talking strictly about cross. Read my initial response. And even in cross, i wouldn't exactly call it "owned", but whatever. Most of the crosses Wout won, he "owned" Mathieu by a large margin, but Matieu won much more races overall. I think respect is due, and the term "owned" is out of place.
Purely looking at the amount of wins H2H in CX I’d say it pretty much falls in line with the essence of that term, even if I don’t like to use it. Mathieu’s H2H wins vs Wout is a landslide. Facts are facts.

I do agree that when Wout wins, especially in a race like Dendermonde, it’s a big margin, but that’s a very rare occasion.

With that being said, Mathieu’s qualities are perfectly tailored to modern-day CX. So there’s that. But we can’t blame him for that, he can only race and beat what’s put infron of him, and he has, convincingly.

Respect and credit is due on both sides as Mathieu’s wins are also conditional by many posters on here which honestly is ridiculous.

Both riders deserve respect because they are both showing outer-worldly performances on two wheels. I also think they need each other to push themselves to another level like they have done their entire career.

What a time to be alive as a cycling fan, especially as a CX fan too.
 
Respect and credit is due on both sides as Mathieu’s wins are also conditional by many posters on here which honestly is ridiculous.
Regarding that, it's about finding a correct balance. I find myself "defending" a rider's efforts when somebody is downplaying them, and putting them into perspective when somebody is raving about them. I guess you could call it hypocritical but there are a few things that need to be taken into account. A dominant rider is not fun for anyone except his biggest fans. It's no fun looking forward to a race knowing the outcome before it even starts. It's important for any rider to remain "human" because else it becomes boring. I think that plays a big part in this behavior. When there are some circumstances favoring the winner, people are quick to revert to those in order to downplay the effort. You will see this behavior most often with really dominant performances, because there "we" need to convince ourselves that the rider is still beatable. Evenepoel became WCC2018 because the Italians botched their tactics. Van der Poel only won his second Tirreno stage because Pogacar let him win/started too late. Pogacar won the TDF because Roglic was injured.

On the other hand, when a performance like that is on display, people are quick to draw the clinic card. Just check the clinic forum every time somebody performs like that. For me, van der Poel's Amstel win, is the story of an amazing final 1k. That's it. I know some people like to act as if he was chasing for the final 25k, balls out, single handedly caught Alaf & Fuglsang (by no fault of their own) and continued to thunder through to the finish. Well, first of all, that's not what happened, and second of all, that WOULD be suspect. It's often a matter of walking a thin line.

And when it's a rider we like (just like i just posted in a different topic) we get annoyed when by comments on the wrong side of that line. Ideally we would like everybody to be "raving the correct amount", as much as possible, without making the effort look suspicious. But in any case, dominance gets stale fast.
 
On road it's actually hard to compare them head to head. Because in many efforts Mathieu won't even contest Van Aert because he doesn't have the same skillset.
Wout can climb and TT world class. Mathieu can't.
They both can sprint, punch and ride cobbles well. So the only ground you can compare them is classics and sprints. And even then Vd Poel doesn't seem to contest mass sprints.

And the times they did clash head to head since 2017 (both going for it), Mathieu is ahead, but from 2019 on it's more equal. It really depends on the form. Italian 2020 classics Mathieu was slightly off form and WvA was superb. Late in the season I think Mathieu was in good shape and WvA great but not as great as when they restarted
 
On road it's actually hard to compare them head to head. Because in many efforts Mathieu won't even contest Van Aert because he doesn't have the same skillset.
Wout can climb and TT world class. Mathieu can't.
They both can sprint, punch and ride cobbles well. So the only ground you can compare them is classics and sprints. And even then Vd Poel doesn't seem to contest mass sprints.

And the times they did clash head to head since 2017 (both going for it), Mathieu is ahead, but from 2019 on it's more equal. It really depends on the form. Italian 2020 classics Mathieu was slightly off form and WvA was superb. Late in the season I think Mathieu was in good shape and WvA great but not as great as when they restarted
Yep, this is a nicely formulated post. I agree regarding the different skillsets (as you know), and with each being better at other things. It's the disingenuous rhetoric of Wout only winning when Mathieu can't be bothered, that i find grating. "Good thing for Wout, Mathieu didn't bother with the ITT". Or Mathieu doesn't care about the things he's not that good at, so those don't count, but van Aert does care about cyclocross, so that counts.
 
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Makes little sense to bother with it anyway if you aren't good enough. He could try in a mountain stage and end, idk, top 40 on a good day. And bother with a TT and end, idk, top 20. And he'd still be soundly beaten by Van Aert (and everyone else who's good at it).
 
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Yep, this is a nicely formulated post. I agree regarding the different skillsets (as you know), and with each being better at other things. It's the disingenuous rhetoric of Wout only winning when Mathieu can't be bothered, that i find grating. "Good thing for Wout, Mathieu didn't bother with the ITT". Or Mathieu doesn't care about the things he's not that good at, so those don't count, but van Aert does care about cyclocross, so that counts.
Yeah, but it’s the same rhetoric the other way around as well. People find excuses for their favorite rider(s) all the time. Not exclusively on this forum.

In that case two can play that game. If x reason is true that Mathiue won x race than x reason is also true if he lost it. Same can be said for Wout or other racers.

Which is why I try to stay away from saying those types of things even if there are elements of truths in it for both sides.

Give credit and respect where credit and respect are due and you will get it back. All of the rest who do not do so, are just fanboys and “haters” whose opinion don’t mater anyway. Full stop.
 
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