Teams & Riders The Remco Evenepoel is the next Eddy Merckx thread

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I'm just joking. I don't doubt Van Aert wanted certain assurances after the ORR, and he could make these demands based on his form and previous performances in the ORR and WCRR.

I am not entirely sure what the communication had been like in the months and weeks leading up to the race between Evenepoel, Van Aert and Vantourenhout, but it's not Van Aerts job to stand up for Evenepoels chances.
I knew you were joking. I can imagine, and this is no joke, that after the Olympic road race Evenepoel was addressed by Van Aert and Vantourenhout with a stream of fs and other curse words to try and tare him a proverbial new a-hole.

No it's not Van Aert's job to stand up for Evenepoel's chances or destroy them, for that matter dishonorably, and in the process ruin Belgium. He got what he wanted, though, the role of undesputed and hegmonic captain. But to do so Evenepoel needed to be cut altogether out of the equation, which also meant Belgium was left unwisely with no plan B. Even if Van Aert earned his position as team captain based on previous performances, which nobody disputes, only someone with serious self-centered issues would eliminate all other options and conspire against a teammate to do so, because you never know if you might have a bad day, at which point having another option becomes indespensible.
 
I knew you were joking. I can imagine, and this is no joke, that after the Olympic road race Evenepoel was addressed by Van Aert and Vantourenhout with a stream of fs and other curse words to try and tare him a proverbial new a-hole.

No it's not Van Aert's job to stand up for Evenepoel's chances or destroy them, for that matter dishonorably, and in the process ruin Belgium. He got what he wanted, though, the role of undesputed and hegmonic captain. But to do so Evenepoel needed to be cut altogether out of the equation, which also meant Belgium was left unwisely with no plan B. Even if Van Aert earned his position as team captain based on previous performances, which nobody disputes, only someone with serious self-centered issues would eliminate all other options and conspire against a teammate to do so, because you never know if you might have a bad day, at which point having another option becomes indespensible.
Maybe I'm overthinking it, but if you're really worried about Evenepoel going rogue you don't let him chase down attacks in the first place and I would think you instead demand that he sits pretty in the bunch and then does all the work in the final 2 laps controlling the race.
 
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Van Aert seems to think the entire team should ride for him.

That's the kind of support Armstrong/Contador/Froome received. Newsflash to Van Aert, he's nowhere near as good of a rider as those 3. Thus, he doesn't deserve that kind of team support.

To me, he seems like an improved Hincapie. Outstanding in the 1 day races and maybe short stage races, but in a GT, he is best as a super dom
The Belgian situation is dificult to be sure, but it speaks a lot of Van Aerts character that he can't take having to be in the role of co-leader. And this is going to be a problem for Belgium for some years to come. Consider the situation of Slovenia with Pogacar and Roglic and yet neither demands to be sole leader or would sabotage the other's chances out of spite.
 
One of the odder details about this silly controversy is that it seems to be taken for granted by quite a few people that Remco will in some set of future WCRRs himself have complete leadership of the Belgian team. I don’t think a major team will give that kind of ”there is no plan B” leadership to a rider who has to win solo and from range, even if he’s clearly the strongest rider in the team and main leader. It just doesn’t make sense to go all in on that tactic when you can combine it with another one so easily.
 
Maybe I'm overthinking it, but if you're really worried about Evenepoel going rogue you don't let him chase down attacks in the first place and I would think you instead demand that he sits pretty in the bunch and then does all the work in the final 2 laps controlling the race.
That's what reason would suggest. But that's not what Belgium did. Rather, and this can only come from the will of Van Aert and its influence on Vantourenhout, Belgium decided to deploy Evenepoel earlier and too hard, evidently to make him burn all his matches so as not to be even a potential factor deep in the race. Naturally this stinks of a vendetta for Remco's comportment on the road at the Olympics.
 
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That's what reason would suggest. But that's not what Belgium did. Rather, and this can only come from the will of Van Aert and its influence on Vantourenhout, Belgium decided to deploy Evenepoel earlier and too hard, evidently to make him burn all his matches so as not to be even a potential factor deep in the race. Naturally this stinks of a vendetta for Remco's comportment on the road at the Olympics.
But who's idea was it to respond to attacks at 180km to go?
 
Maybe I'm overthinking it, but if you're really worried about Evenepoel going rogue you don't let him chase down attacks in the first place and I would think you instead demand that he sits pretty in the bunch and then does all the work in the final 2 laps controlling the race.
Tbh, I think the optimal strategy for Belgium would have been to never join any attacks (maybe mark some, but never take any pulls) and instead to focus completely on controlling and suffocating the race. They had the team strength required for that.
 
And that's what I and others have been saying. Had Belgium arrived at the Leuven circuit also with Evenepoel they would clearly have had more options. As it stood, their only option was for Wout to go with Alaphilippe, but he didn't have the legs.
 
The Belgian situation is dificult to be sure, but it speaks a lot of Van Aerts character that he can't take having to be in the role of co-leader. And this is going to be a problem for Belgium for some years to come. Consider the situation of Slovenia with Pogacar and Roglic and yet neither demands to be sole leader or would sabotage the other's chances out of spite.
The way he's ridden the past couple of TDFs, his behavior at the worlds is just more of the same. Refusing to help Rog or Vingegaard win the tour all because he wants HIS green and stage wins. Not surprised he made the worlds either he wins or Belgium wins nothing
 
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Van Aert seems to think the entire team should ride for him.

That's the kind of support Armstrong/Contador/Froome received. Newsflash to Van Aert, he's nowhere near as good of a rider as those 3. Thus, he doesn't deserve that kind of team support.

To me, he seems like an improved Hincapie. Outstanding in the 1 day races and maybe short stage races, but in a GT, he is best as a super dom
To be fair, Van Aert is on a better level than those mentioned when it comes to 1 day races without a mountain finish so he can demand that the team rides for him. If he had a top 5 finish last Sunday he would have retained the UCI top spot, which says a lot knowing that Pog has been outstanding in all races he started up to the TdF. Van Aert also never demanded that an entire team should ride for him during a GT although I do think he could claim it if the goal of the team is stage wins and the green jersey.

I do think that Remco deserves a protected status as well when both are riding for the national team. I think you simply improve the odds of winning if you allow Remco to attack, that's what his winning records tells me. Van Aert should have sufficient support without Remco. Of course there are some cases where it makes sense that both join efforts, like the olympics, because Belgium currently has nobody besides those two to survive until the final.
 
Tbh, I think the optimal strategy for Belgium would have been to never join any attacks (maybe mark some, but never take any pulls) and instead to focus completely on controlling and suffocating the race. They had the team strength required for that.
I feel it's 50/50 between keeping as much manpower as fresh as possible for the final circuit and having Evenepoel solo ahead after dropping his breakaway, but if the race hasn't been selective the latter probably doesn't work very well.
 
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That's what reason would suggest. But that's not what Belgium did. Rather, and this can only come from the will of Van Aert and its influence on Vantourenhout, Belgium decided to deploy Evenepoel earlier and too hard, evidently to make him burn all his matches so as not to be even a potential factor deep in the race. Naturally this stinks of a vendetta for Remco's comportment on the road at the Olympics.
Van Aert seems to think the entire team should ride for him.

That's the kind of support Armstrong/Contador/Froome received. Newsflash to Van Aert, he's nowhere near as good of a rider as those 3. Thus, he doesn't deserve that kind of team support.

To me, he seems like an improved Hincapie. Outstanding in the 1 day races and maybe short stage races, but in a GT, he is best as a super dom
I honestly think both of you are too harsh for van Aert. The way van Aert rode the olympics was simply enormeous. If he had Evenepoel there doing what he did in the world's (towing the front group), van Aert would have had a big chance for gold.
And only last year, he was the second best behind Alaphilippe. So it makes perfect sense that van Aert, being in his prime, and having won the Belgian championship easily against Evenepoel, coming out of a training block, was in a position to demand full support.

As others have said, Remco's ride was met with a big thumbs up during the race from Vanthourenhout. So he did what the coach wanted. The problem for Vanthourenhout was that Remco sacrificing his chances, and van Aert's chances for the win, are connected. So I would blame the coach for spending Evenepoel, and not van Aert: Vanthourenhout could have come up with a better strategy that combined van Aert's wishes with Evenepoel's strengths.
And again, knowing that you're not good enough (van Aerts position) is not easy during a race, especially not with the weight of the nation on your shoulders. I had some of my best results barely hanging on in front groups, and still being one of the better in the sprint near the end. If you are feeling bad in the finale of a 270K race, you secretly hope that everybody in that group feels the same.
For a 'bad' day, van Aert did actually pretty good. He was out of position when Alaphilippe attacked on the Wijnpers, but he was still the one who led the chase. During the next attack of Alaphilippe, I noticed that Stybar was in front of van Aert and went sideways so van Aert had to close the gap. It really looked like Stybar was riding for Alaphilippe, and between the first Alaphilippe attack and the last one (on the local rounds), van Aert had to close too many gaps.

So in the end, Evenepoel rode like a duracell rabbit from 180K out, and it can be seen as a showcase of his strength, and Vanthourenhout was happy with his ride, because in the end Evenepoel sacrificed his chances, and thus Vanthourenhout's strategy was still executed and Evenepoel wasn't annoyingly riding in the way of van Aert in the finale. The problem for Vanthourenhout is that he clearly put the strategy first (how the race should be won), and the reality second (how the race could be won).
 
The way he's ridden the past couple of TDFs, his behavior at the worlds is just more of the same. Refusing to help Rog or Vingegaard win the tour all because he wants HIS green and stage wins. Not surprised he made the worlds either he wins or Belgium wins nothing
The way he has ridden the past couple of TDFs? You mean, working for Roglic and Vingegaard who didn't have it in them to win yellow - despite being one of the best riders in the world? :smirk:
Sorry, I'm teasing...
But really, don't rewrite history. It's not like van Aert has been a terrible teammate and it's just not fair to ask him to totally sacrifice his own ambitions. I don't think he's that well paid...
 
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It definitely has to be Remco’s fault somehow!
This is a discussion forum. Remco going rogue is a possibility, worth discussing. It's an intriguing possibility and some overly sensitive fans are not reason enough to completely dismiss the idea.

If it makes you feel any better, I wouldn't hold it against Remco if it were true and I would root for him to succced.
 
No the instruction was to follow dangerous moves, not moves that are never going anywhere.
Says who? Evenepoel seems to rather have been told to make the race as hard as possible from early on, which implies going with any move from 180k out. Again that Van Aert and Vantourenhout have not criticized him for doing so indicates it was planned all along.
 
Some people fault Wout for not communicating it sooner that he had bad legs and I fell that I need to defend him in this place (btw I've never been a huge fan of van Aert).

The most likely scenario for the race was a sprint from a selected group of the biggest contenders (smaller or bigger one) - anyone remember that before he dropped, Ewan has been considered as the top favourite? The Leuven circuit seemed to be "easy" enough and the Flandrien one being too far from the finish.

Even if it wasn't van Aert's day, he made it to the final group of contenders after Alaf's final Flandrien attack and he was still undoubtedly the strongest sprinter in that group with the biggest chances of taking gold. Remember, he still had 2 teammates and no one considered Leuven lap to bee selective enough to drop him. No one before the race expected Alaphilippe to be able to make use of his trademark attacks on such "easy" climbs (he was only like 3rd/4th tier favourite before the race). I'd say that if not Alaphilippe, it's quite possible, Wout would've taken gold on Sunday - Stuyven would've been working for him till the finish and I can't see guys like Valgren, van Baarle or Powless to go clear - they've just benefited from Alaf's move.

Then, what was the point for WvA to pass his leadership sooner when he was still the strongest sprinter in the group after already surviving like 4 Alaphilippe's attacks?

I also kinda understand (not necessairly agree wth) Belgian coach not to give Remco plan B leadership. The safest bet for the race was 100% van Aert approach, you can't argue with that. The possibility of Remco winnig solo (cause probably that's the only possible way for him to win) was close to zero. He's never won this way any race as big as WC and he clearly showed everoyne his superb tactical abilities two weeks before in the EC.
Then if they'd have told him "Ok, you're the plan B, you can go for the win if you'll find yourself in an advantageous situation", knowing him, he could interpret every single situation as such (without the radios, no one could've stop him; remeber Declercq shouting at him when he was going full gas on the climbs in the 1st break?) and disrupt the Belgians' plan to control the race, not to blow it apart (which they actually managed to do quite well, but unfortunately for them there was that one alien French in the race).

In short, giving Remco possibility of going for himself while having the strongest sprinter in the team, with the final laps not being very selective on the paper, knowing Remco's total lack of tactical abilities and his rebellious character and with the main plan of having the race under control, it just didn't seem to be wise at all.
 
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Says who? Evenepoel seems to rather have been told to make the race as hard as possible from early on, which implies going with any move from 180k out. Again that Van Aert and Vantourenhout have not criticized him for doing so indicates it was planned all along.
This looks like a criticism from the designated team leader. Or it could just be historical revisionism.

"That was indeed not our tactic at all," Van Aert said of Evenepoel’s early move.
Remco was the one who had to be there late on for me and Jasper. He made the choice to take the lead so early, while our intention was to race defensively. That bothers me. We couldn't whistle back to Remco at that time. There were no earphones and the fans were making so much noise that it was impossible to speak to someone three places ahead of you."
 
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Says who? Evenepoel seems to rather have been told to make the race as hard as possible from early on, which implies going with any move from 180k out. Again that Van Aert and Vantourenhout have not criticized him for doing so indicates it was planned all along.
Let's turns this around, says who?

You're just blatently assuming things here and making it look like they're hard thruts.
Vanthourenhout/Pauwels did say afterwards that not Evenepoel, but someone else should've gone with that first move. Evenepoel was supposed to be marking moves on the 2nd flandrien part of the route. Problem was that they didn't expect France to blow things up the first time already with a very capable rider like Cosnefroy.
That, plus the fact that Evenepoel was not supposed to completely empty himself before the Leuven circuit, he started riding on his own and Vanthourenhout had no way of communicating to him there. Tbf, i don't like Van Aerts excuse of not being able to speak to him, sounds more like Van Aert thought that was fine in the moment.

Also don't forget that Teuns' and Benoots performances were pretty "meeh". Belgium probably hoped to have one more guy in a group of 20.
 
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This looks like a criticism from the designated team leader. Or it could just be historical revisionism.

"That was indeed not our tactic at all," Van Aert said of Evenepoel’s early move.
Remco was the one who had to be there late on for me and Jasper. He made the choice to take the lead so early, while our intention was to race defensively. That bothers me. We couldn't whistle back to Remco at that time. There were no earphones and the fans were making so much noise that it was impossible to speak to someone three places ahead of you."
Ok, I had not read this before so it's news to me. It's the first time I've heard any criticism from Wout about Evenepoel for going in such early moves. Point taken.
 
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Let's turns this around, says who?

You're just blatently assuming things here and making it look like they're hard thruts.
Vanthourenhout/Pauwels did say afterwards that not Evenepoel, but someone else should've gone with that first move. Evenepoel was supposed to be marking moves on the 2nd flandrien part of the route. Problem was that they didn't expect France to blow things up the first time already with a very capable rider like Cosnefroy.
That, plus the fact that Evenepoel was not supposed to completely empty himself before the Leuven circuit, he started riding on his own and Vanthourenhout had no way of communicating to him there. Tbf, i don't like Van Aerts excuse of not being able to speak to him, sounds more like Van Aert thought that was fine in the moment.

Also don't forget that Teuns' and Benoots performances were pretty "meeh". Belgium probably hoped to have one more guy in a group of 20.
Same as above, it's the first time I've heard this. When were these things said? Right after the race or after all the criticism over Belgium's game plane ensued?
 
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What's funny to me is that almost everyone in Flanders thinks Evenepoel was the perfect teammate in this race. That any tactical errors on his part were because of Vanthourenhout's stupidity or Van Aert's vindictiveness.
I don't think he was the perfect teammate, but i can completely relate to what he did (or what i think he did) if in fact he was told explicitly more than once, that under no circumstances he was allowed to win, even during the race and under certain conditions. What fcked up bullsht is that? Why would a national coach even care which riders wins, as long as he's wearing the right shirt. Again, this wasn't team Belgium, it was team Van Aert.
Van Aert felt good knowing he was the undisputed leader, that it was clear for everyone. It gave him peace of mind. If you want that level of dedication from your team, you better be completely sure you have the legs to finish the job or at least come close. It's the most important race of the year, and it's the only race that you ride for your national flag, not for personal glory. It turns out he didn't have the legs, so maybe it's time to dial it down acknowledge the tactics were crap, acknowledge that they were wrong and that the team should not have ridden only for Van Aert but should have been more flexible.

You may think i have a thing against Van Aert, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In case you doubt that, feel free to browse my post history in the CX forum as well as the road forum. I have always rooted for him probably even more than anyone else. But the tactics here were simply complete rubbish, and it wasn't his place to counter Evenepoel in the press. While Evenepoel's showing in Extra Time Koers was clearly well prepared, i do not think he told a lie.

This looks like a criticism from the designated team leader. Or it could just be historical revisionism.

"That was indeed not our tactic at all," Van Aert said of Evenepoel’s early move.
Remco was the one who had to be there late on for me and Jasper. He made the choice to take the lead so early, while our intention was to race defensively. That bothers me. We couldn't whistle back to Remco at that time. There were no earphones and the fans were making so much noise that it was impossible to speak to someone three places ahead of you."
That's strange, because i remember hearing him say, that the plan was to use Remco to his strengths in the offense, because he put fear into the other teams. I'm not sure exactly how Remco is putting fear into other teams by riding the final as a glorified leadout. So Van Aert's story is wonky at best here.

We don't know if Evenepoel told the 100% truth in that talk show. Yes, Evenepoel was almost soft-spoken and appeared quite humble, but he knows how the media works by now. He's not this new kid on the block anymore. He, like WVA, knows exactly what he's doing. He knew those questions were coming. That he would be provoked.

I find it somewhat hard to believe that Evenepoel didn't know that the coach only wanted him in a support role, until shortly before the race. That he was confused and had to ask him and only then got a "no". Come on. It seems even Merckx was aware that that was the plan.

So I can understand that WVA took it as a personal slight when Remco said otherwise on national TV. As if Remco didn't know what he'd signed up for.
As i explained, this is simply not how cycling works. Even Merckx knows that much. First of all, we participated as Belgium, not as Team Van Aert. It should not matter who wins of the team. There is no issue with having a clear leader, but you simply can't defend the idea that someone who is capable and a proven winner, is not allowed to ride for it in case the opportunity presents itself.

And like i already said, there is a big difference between riding for a leader, or riding for a leader and not being allowed to take whichever small chance you might get when presented. It was ignorance and incompetence of Vanthourenhout and it was pure hubris by Van Aert. That's where it went to sht in the first place.
 

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