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

Page 93 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Unsurprisingly, the reverse is also true for van Aert fans. Whenever Mathieu beats Wout it's always because of "x" excuse, so let's not act like it's only exclusive to Mathieu fans.

Regardless, comparing VdP and Wout in disciplines exclusive to the road where the one is obviously hyper focussed on said terrain and well-trained in a team who invests a lot of capital in maximizing output in said disciplines while the other is either not interested (Mathieu has always maintained that he isn't a climber and wasn't interested in becoming a GC specialist) or has to make choices in order to combine all of the cycling disciplines on different terrains is just silly. Not to mention that tt'ing, longer sprints and climbing (longer climbs) are specifically suited to Wout's talents (sustained efforts).

It would be just as silly to judge Wout's talent vs Mathieu's if the former would suddenly start doing XCO races or purely based on finishes that are explosive (short/steep climbs/sprints) and thus more suited to Mathieu's talents or on impressive solo's or even in CX these past few seasons.

When either Mathieu starts being 100% focussed and dedicated to the road or Wout starts combining the same disciplines as Mathieu does only then can we make a proper comparison between the two. Even then there remains the intrinsic difference in talent between the two; sustained effort vs explosiveness. This difference is highlighted in CX races.

For all of your examples where Wout beat Mathieu there's a plethora of examples where the opposite was true. It's just all silly fanaticism.

They are both amazing talents but once they started racing outside of CX the direct comparison has become fairly moot as there is undoubtedly a trade-off in being focussed on one terrain vs combining different ones.

Let's just enjoy both of their talents while they're still here.

Btw, seems you missed Mathieu's wins in that same Tirreno you speak of.
I didn't miss "the Mathieu's wins" in that same Tirreno. My point is/was that "the Wout wins" were forgotten in the same stage race. You can't use a defeat of one contender as an argument, and "forgot" to mention the defeat of the other contender, even in the same stage race (Tirreno). That's not fair.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
We all known Van der poel is so talented, he can win a race even without a normal training program. But to win the Worlds, against stronger riders, he will definitely have to do a hard training week. But as predicted, he has more back pain the day after the Antwerp port epic race. No way for him to get back into top form. And meanwhile he is inflicting more and more damage on his back.
 
I'm going to start taking the statements about the back pain with a pinch of salt tbh and will clear my mind about that after the Worlds.

Yes, he is probably with some troubles with his back, which probably made him readjust his program. But, even for VDP, I don't expect to see someone who presumably couldn't do more than 2 hours of training at a moderate pace come to a race, two months after the last in the middle of the season, and do the kind of ride he did. And the field wasn't stellar but we aren't talking about slouch riders either.

The conspiracy theorist in me can't stop thinking that this, in terms of pressure and perception, is perfect for him. He would be hands down one of the big favourites for the Worlds and all the eyes would be set on him. And with his strengths in a sprint, we would have a target on his back and no one would work with him in equal terms if they found them in a group with him as we've seen several times. Now, the focus is in Van Aert and Colbrelli and almost no one talks about him. Perfect for his race. And all the talk about the participation in the Worlds still not being certain? I have many doubts about that after his win. It could be true before the race but right now? Have a hard time believing it...

The team said today that he felt his back yesterday but nothing that wouldn't be expected on the day after a race (even more with an aggresive surface like the one featured in Antwerp Port Epic).

This is probably all rubbish, but I'm going to wait for the 26th. Probably that extra 1% will be missed but if things come down to be decided in a burst of power on one of the final climbs or if he arrives there and smokes everyone, I wouldn't be surprised with any of the outcomes.
 
Reactions: noob and Eeslliw
I didn't miss "the Mathieu's wins" in that same Tirreno. My point is/was that "the Wout wins" were forgotten in the same stage race. You can't use a defeat of one contender as an argument, and "forgot" to mention the defeat of the other contender, even in the same stage race (Tirreno). That's not fair.
I don’t understand why you’re so bothered by it. Fact is van der poel beat Wout twice in Tirreno, fact is also that Wout beat Mathieu twice in Tirreno. Depending on what point you’re trying to make you can use the one without necessarily mentioning the other. Y’all get so pressed over nothing.
 
26 June 2021 - First stage Tour de France - MvdP fails in his retro kit

26 July 2021 - MTB Olympics - MvdP crashes hard due to own mistake

26 August 2021 - MTB World Championships - MvdP has to cancel due to injury

26 September 2021 - World's Race Race - ???
What does the first point have to do with the rest? Failed in his retro kit then went on to smoke everyone and get the yellow for longer than anyone expected.

I’m tempted to say that after a crash and omission in MTB’s two biggest races third time’s the charm?

Seriously though, Belgium have an insanely strong team. Wout’s looking to be in the right form just in time too, so is Remco. But Wout can actually sprint if it came down to it.

This race needs a top form Mathieu for it to not be a walk in the park for the Belgians. I just want to see some epic racing. May the best man win.
 
I'm going to start taking the statements about the back pain with a pinch of salt tbh and will clear my mind about that after the Worlds.

Yes, he is probably with some troubles with his back, which probably made him readjust his program. But, even for VDP, I don't expect to see someone who presumably couldn't do more than 2 hours of training at a moderate pace come to a race, two months after the last in the middle of the season, and do the kind of ride he did. And the field wasn't stellar but we aren't talking about slouch riders either.

The conspiracy theorist in me can't stop thinking that this, in terms of pressure and perception, is perfect for him. He would be hands down one of the big favourites for the Worlds and all the eyes would be set on him. And with his strengths in a sprint, we would have a target on his back and no one would work with him in equal terms if they found them in a group with him as we've seen several times. Now, the focus is in Van Aert and Colbrelli and almost no one talks about him. Perfect for his race. And all the talk about the participation in the Worlds still not being certain? I have many doubts about that after his win. It could be true before the race but right now? Have a hard time believing it...

The team said today that he felt his back yesterday but nothing that wouldn't be expected on the day after a race (even more with an aggresive surface like the one featured in Antwerp Port Epic).

This is probably all rubbish, but I'm going to wait for the 26th. Probably that extra 1% will be missed but if things come down to be decided in a burst of power on one of the final climbs or if he arrives there and smokes everyone, I wouldn't be surprised with any of the outcomes.
Well, you might be right. Honestly, I am of two minds. They're slinging BS to come in as low pressure/under the radar as possible (I mean, given he is van der Poel), even if he did have a back issue. Or, for whatever reason, he is doing something that I would consider brash and perhaps a bit dumb. Both are equally plausible.

And sure, he could be 100% on the level with the extent of his injury and the recovery to date and just be hoping it turns out ok, in which case I would say #2 is still true. Regardless of how he ends up doing.

Finally, I note the articles are pretty loose with the details about the disc herniation. So the actual extent of injury is unclear.
 
Last edited:
I'm going to start taking the statements about the back pain with a pinch of salt tbh and will clear my mind about that after the Worlds.

Yes, he is probably with some troubles with his back, which probably made him readjust his program. But, even for VDP, I don't expect to see someone who presumably couldn't do more than 2 hours of training at a moderate pace come to a race, two months after the last in the middle of the season, and do the kind of ride he did. And the field wasn't stellar but we aren't talking about slouch riders either.

The conspiracy theorist in me can't stop thinking that this, in terms of pressure and perception, is perfect for him. He would be hands down one of the big favourites for the Worlds and all the eyes would be set on him. And with his strengths in a sprint, we would have a target on his back and no one would work with him in equal terms if they found them in a group with him as we've seen several times. Now, the focus is in Van Aert and Colbrelli and almost no one talks about him. Perfect for his race. And all the talk about the participation in the Worlds still not being certain? I have many doubts about that after his win. It could be true before the race but right now? Have a hard time believing it...

The team said today that he felt his back yesterday but nothing that wouldn't be expected on the day after a race (even more with an aggresive surface like the one featured in Antwerp Port Epic).

This is probably all rubbish, but I'm going to wait for the 26th. Probably that extra 1% will be missed but if things come down to be decided in a burst of power on one of the final climbs or if he arrives there and smokes everyone, I wouldn't be surprised with any of the outcomes.
If he does turn up in beast mode, with a lousy "for the first time in weeks I didn't feel my back", I'll be very disappointed in him though and he'll go down in my estimation. (I'm sure he'll care a lot about that :D)
He doesn't need such bull *** to win.
 
Who really knows how bad his back is, apart from himself? I'm confused, as it seems it's bad, and he can't train properly - then we hear it's better and he'll race. He wins, but has pain the day after, but is down to ride more races including P-R - and most likely the Worlds.

I think he'll ride the races he's down for, but I'm not convinced he's quite got the form - and that's if his back holds up. I do feel that he shouldn't race if there's a problem, and rest. However, maybe it's not as bad as thought, which is why he's now racing. They surely wouldn't risk him racing if his back was a problem, or would they?
 
I love conspiracy theories as much as anyone else, but the talk here about his back issues being a genius ploy to lower expectations, well that's just silly on so many levels.

1) No matter what statements are made about his back, no other country will ever gamble on letting him ride away during the World's. So it's a useless strategy to begin with.

2) He gave up on the MTB world's, which he truly wanted to ride to avenge the Olympic fiasco, and which in good form he would've won. So it's a self-harming strategy.

3) He just won in Antwerp during his comeback, raising expectations unnesessarily. So it's a poorly executed strategy.

In other words, we're talking about a useless, poorly executed strategy of self-harm to achieve nothing. Genius.

Here's what's actually going on. He stopped racing in the hope his moderate back pain would heal. But it hasn't, despite a period of rest and lesser training. The reason he's racing now is not that his back is greatly improving, but that he has been given assurances by doctors that a few weeks of racing likely won't damage anything long-term. So might as well give it a shot, given the unique opportunity of a World's made for him followed by a Roubaix. And then he'll try to really recover during the autumn.
 
Reactions: senna6541
the 26th thing is bs.

All in all the one thing if he starts is he'll not be the top favorite for once. That goes to Van Aert (and Colbrelli in lesser sense). Could work out well.

That being said, Van Aert was the top favorite for Flanders as well but got smoked on the Kwaremont.. and a week before on the Tiegemberg of all places as well.
 
It doesn't make sense to not do any really good preparation races like Belgium or Britain, just to sandbag. However it's not convincing that he could hardly train properly and then he wins like that, even if only against Taco vdH. The issue is probably exaggerated / he feels he's not in perfect form due to pain and lesser training, but it's not too bad either.
It's quite the opposite approach in comparison with Bernal/ Ineos.
 
the 26th thing is bs.

All in all the one thing if he starts is he'll not be the top favorite for once. That goes to Van Aert (and Colbrelli in lesser sense). Could work out well.

That being said, Van Aert was the top favorite for Flanders as well but got smoked on the Kwaremont.. and a week before on the Tiegemberg of all places as well.
Looking back on those excellent races (E3 and Flanders), I remember how Van der Poel tossed with his energies all race, allowing Asgreen to conserve energy on crucial sectors, which gave the Dane the edge at the end.

Perhaps this experience, plus his troubled run-in to the WC, will for once make Van der Poel choose to ride conservatively. Somehow i doubt it though...
 
the 26th thing is bs.
26/03/2021 He gets bamboozled by DQS in E3
26/02/2021 No stage in UAE because of covid in the team
26/08/2020 Best man in the race on the EC but falls just short of the podium
26/05/2017 DNS in Baloise Belgium Tour
26/12/2016 Maybe his worst WC manche CX performance in his career

Coincidence? I think not
 
Looking back on those excellent races (E3 and Flanders), I remember how Van der Poel tossed with his energies all race, allowing Asgreen to conserve energy on crucial sectors, which gave the Dane the edge at the end.

Perhaps this experience, plus his troubled run-in to the WC, will for once make Van der Poel choose to ride conservatively. Somehow i doubt it though...
I agree that van der Poel usually doesn't think much about how to preserve energy, he just races... but in the case of those two races Asgreen was simply in monster-monster form, and it wasn't because he saved energy... especially not at E3 (wasn't that the race where he rode on his own for half the race (exaggerating) and then just went again when he was caught?
 
26/03/2021 He gets bamboozled by DQS in E3
26/02/2021 No stage in UAE because of covid in the team
26/08/2020 Best man in the race on the EC but falls just short of the podium
26/05/2017 DNS in Baloise Belgium Tour
26/12/2016 Maybe his worst WC manche CX performance in his career

Coincidence? I think not
Maybe we can make such a list for all the big riders, and also with their lucky numbers, and then we can predict the important races at least until next June.
 
I agree that van der Poel usually doesn't think much about how to preserve energy, he just races... but in the case of those two races Asgreen was simply in monster-monster form, and it wasn't because he saved energy... especially not at E3 (wasn't that the race where he rode on his own for half the race (exaggerating) and then just went again when he was caught?
Asgreen was very strong that week. A deserved winner of both races. But it's clear that his wins were far from inevitable, with Van der Poel (and Van Aert too) overexerting themselves unnecessarily during both races, as if they had forgotten about any limits to their energy levels

Rationally Wout and Mathieu might draw some hard lessons from their mistakes during the Flemish spring, but given their character and status as superfavourites (Asgreen having sunk back to near anonimity), it won't be so easy for them to ride cautiously, especially on their home roads. That's why this poor run-in might just be what's needed to convince MvdP to ride smartly. We'll see.
 
Last edited:
Asgreen was very strong that week. A deserved winner of both races. But it's clear that his wins were far from inevitable, with Van der Poel (and Van Aert too) overexerting themselves unnecessarily during both races, as if they had forgotten about any limits to their energy levels

Rationally Wout and Mathieu might draw some hard lessons from their mistakes during the Flemish spring, but given their character and status as superfavourites (Asgreen having sunk back to near anonimity), it won't be so easy for them to ride cautiously, especially on their home roads. That's why this poor run-in might just be what's needed to convince MvdP to ride smartly. We'll see.
I don't know. I actually think E3 was inevitable, nobody else was on that level that day. And in RvV he was simply stronger than van der Poel (and everyone else) as well, even if maybe not that clear cut. I haven't rewatched the races, but I remember thinking his level was incredible.
I don't know how to regard Asgreen for the Worlds. Maybe he had all of this year's glory in the spring. Or maybe he took it a bit more easy the rest of the year to put it all in for the WC... :)
 
I don't know. I actually think E3 was inevitable, nobody else was on that level that day.
I don't agree at all. I vividly remember that race. I'd never seen two riders (Van Aert & Van der Poel) race a classic like that one; as if they had unlimited energies and all the other riders were just toys to play with. They paid the price for it, but it's precisely their exuberant efforts that made that E3 the classic of the season for me.

Also recall that after Asgreen had been caught by Van der Poel, Naessen en Van Avermaet, they allowed Asgreen to recover in the back of the leadgroup for a critical period in the last few KM's, pulling hard themselves, despite the presence of 2-3 other Quickstep guys in that same group.

Perhaps Asgreen would've won anyway, but there's no question he profited mightily from his team's numbers and the zero-tactical racing from Van Aert & Van der Poel.

Now, recall, I'm not making these statements to belittle Asgreen's performance. That would be silly and poor-spirited, given how special a double solo win is. I mentioned this race only to highlight the way Van Aert & Van der Poel have trouble containing themselves, and whether or not they have learnt anything from it.


I don't know how to regard Asgreen for the Worlds. Maybe he had all of this year's glory in the spring. Or maybe he took it a bit more easy the rest of the year to put it all in for the WC... :)
Latter option seems not unlikely. It's been five months since Flanders and he's been far too anonymous for the guy that reduced the greatest rider of the season (Van Aert) to a wavering fool on the Paterberg and Kwaremont.

Certainly, i
f I was in charge of Quickstep, I'd tell Asgreen to take it easy in the summer as there's not much for him to win anyway; so do his team duties, launch an attack here or there, ride some decent TT's, but otherwise save his best form for the races that he can actually win: WC and Roubaix.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
Oct 31, 2018
146
135
2,030
My 2 cents are MVP will be 95% his superstar self. Not enough to be confident in beating a 100% WVA, but enough to win never the less if the race circumstances go his way.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY