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

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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."
I think one of the problems on Evenepoel's part is that he is not good at reading a race, and maybe he also didn't understand the Belgian strategy very well.

And I think that if the team didn't trust Evenepoel to read a race situation (no radio), they would be more reluctant to have him in a situation where that was required. Easier then with crude and absolute orders.
 
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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.
Especially in a 1-day race when a lot can happen (bad day, tactical games etc) and 20 or so guys are capable of winning: a strong team like Belgium had at least 3 such guys.
 
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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.


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.


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.
Since when Remco is a proven winner of the most important one day races in the calendar?

Also, it wasn't like van Aert had s**t legs. In the final he was just where he needed to be. It was more the case of Alaf's out-of-this-world, dominant performance that no one expected before.
 
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I think one of the problems on Remco's part is that he is not good at reading a race, and maybe he also didn't understand the Belgian strategy very well.
In his defense, i don't understand the Belgian strategy either, and by the looks of it, also none of the cycling analysts understand it.

But we're talking about the guy who won the Euro MJ Championships with a 10 minute lead, put 2/3rds of the peloton out of the race by lapping them, because he wanted to prove a point to the UCI. I think Remco did have a scenario in mind where he could become worldchampion if things went a certain way. But he was denied that again and again, so he simply took whatever they instructed him very literally. I assume something like "your job is to make sure no break gets away". First attack by a marked rider, and Evenepoel counters. "Your job is to get Wout and Jasper to the local circuit"... he did that as well. Probably over the top, to prove a point.

Evenepoel is a weapon that they could have used to win the race, either for him or for Van Aert. But they chose to replace the bullets with blanks. Just for show.

Since when Remco is a proven winner of the most important one day races in the calendar?

Also, it wasn't like van Aert had s**t legs. In the final he was just where he needed to be. It was more the case of Alaf's out-of-this-world, dominant performance that no one expected before.
Sure, that's true. Milan San Remo trumps Classica San Sebastian. But the big races Van Aert really wanted to win and where he started as redhot favorite, are also missing on his palmares so far. So why assume this would automatically be a slamdunk for him? I think by now we've seen what Evenepoel can do. But he's ridden only a handful of WT one day races, so it's an easy argument to make. You could also say, statistically he wins 50% of WT classics that he competes in.
 
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In his defense, i don't understand the Belgian strategy either, and by the looks of it, also none of the cycling analysts understand it.

But we're talking about the guy who won the Euro MJ Championships with a 10 minute lead, put 2/3rds of the peloton out of the race by lapping them, because he wanted to prove a point to the UCI. I think Remco did have a scenario in mind where he could become worldchampion if things went a certain way. But he was denied that again and again, so he simply took whatever they instructed him very literally. I assume something like "your job is to make sure no break gets away". First attack by a marked rider, and Evenepoel counters. "Your job is to get Wout and Jasper to the local circuit"... he did that as well. Probably over the top, to prove a point.

Evenepoel is a weapon that they could have used to win the race, either for him or for Van Aert. But they chose to replace the bullets with blanks. Just for show.
Agreed that the main fault is in the team car. After that on the riders who called the shots on the road.

For Evenepoel, race strategies are simple. Make the race hard and ride away alone. Playing other riders, saving as much energy as possible, faking weakness etc. are not tools that he has had to use and as such neither learned to use. I'm not sure how easily he reads other riders and how they are feeling, nor the nature of routes and race dynamics. Some of that will surely improve, but I think he will be somewhat oblivious for a long time.
 
Remco behaves like a sheriff from Texas here, except he's not the best cyclist in the town.

We haven't seen such behavior from Roglic, Pogacar, Bernal, JA etc and these guys are top guns.
 
I wonder how much PR and Il Lombardia are gonna affect the narrative of the Worlds tbh.
I expect thermonuclear rides from both of them. They both have huge egos and now a chip on their shoulder the size of Burj Khalifa. Gotta love it. Actually, this whole drama could be great for both of them. It's not like they could have beaten Balaphilippe. Dude was just warming up, basically.

I'm actually backing Evenepoel FTW if the Lombardia descents are straightforward enough. The new course screams Evenepoel otherwise. I doubt Alaphilippe will have the the focus to compete.

I see another Italian fall race was added to Remco's schedule, if I'm not mistaken. It's now Emilia, Coppa Bernocchi, Lombardia.
 
Both WVA and RE weren't strong enough to beat JA. They can argue between themselves who's the best cyclist in Belgium... :p
It is certain that Ala was a beast and that Wout would have lost anyway, but we don't know how things could have unfolded for Remco otherwise.

Yet Wout's latest diatribe is either naive, insincere or else wilfully deceptive. As if criticizing Evenepoel for being too zealous early on would have changed the fact that Van Aert simply did not have the legs to bring Belgium gold. In this light Wout's comments smack of vindictive despotism.
 
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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.
Good points with regards to 1 day races. Spot on!

My bigger beef with him is not Sunday, but the last 2 tours. He should be playing the team role, instead of acting as if he's the leader there. The Ventoux stage in particular was bad team riding. He seemed to carry over that mentality to the WC
 
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It is certain that Ala was a beast and that Wout would have lost anyway, but we don't know how things could have unfolded for Remco otherwise.

Yet Wout's latest diatribe is either naive, insincere or else wilfully deceptive. As if criticizing Evenepoel for being too zealous early on would have changed the fact that Van Aert simply did not have the legs to bring Belgium gold. In this light Wout's comments smack of vindictive despotism.
You're right. They are both very good but for some reason don't trust each other and Belgian National Team in general. Even if they don't agree in some cases, they can solve issues without public interviews.

Now they both look silly, arguing over the WCRR that was a lost cause anyway because someone else was way stronger... :cool:
 
You're right. They are both very good but for some reason don't trust each other and Belgian National Team in general. Even if they don't agree in some cases, they can solve issues without public interviews.

Now they both look silly, arguing over the WCRR race that was a lost cause anyway because someone else was way stronger... :cool:
I get that, but honestly "it was a lost case" scenario only works if Evenepoel, deployed correctly as co-leader, still loses to Ala as did Van Aert. Unfortunately we shall never know.
 
Good points with regards to 1 day races. Spot on!

My bigger beef with him is not Sunday, but the last 2 tours. He should be playing the team role, instead of acting as if he's the leader there. The Ventoux stage in particular was bad team riding. He seemed to carry over that mentality to the WC
I can't agree with that though. First of all, last year he basically dragged Roglic across France in the flat stages and the mountains. When he was off babysitting duty, he casually won two stages for himself. Secondly, he's proven enough to be a team leader in a GT. Not for GC, but for stages, sprints... And he does in fact deserve some of the team work for him when he has a chance. Roglic still has more chances to win the TDF with Van Aert even when he can ride for himself in a few stages, than he has without Van Aert. If the argument is he hasn't proven himself enough on the top level, then the same could be said of "super Roglic" who has managed to win... 'merely' two Vuelta's.
I don't see how Van Aert is to blame for anything during the Ventoux stage. Insinuating he should have waited for Vingegaard, is all sorts of crazy.
 
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I can't agree with that though. First of all, last year he basically dragged Roglic across France in the flat stages and the mountains. When he was off babysitting duty, he casually won two stages for himself. Secondly, he's proven enough to be a team leader in a GT. Not for GC, but for stages, sprints... And he does in fact deserve some of the team work for him when he has a chance. Roglic still has more chances to win the TDF with Van Aert even when he can ride for himself in a few stages, than he has without Van Aert. If the argument is he hasn't proven himself enough on the top level, then the same could be said of "super Roglic" who has managed to win... 'merely' two Vuelta's.
I don't see how Van Aert is to blame for anything during the Ventoux stage. Insinuating he should have waited for Vingegaard, is all sorts of crazy.
Belgian defence cadets should employ you

And Roglic won 3 veulta. But I agree WVA shouldn't have waited for Vingegaard
 
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Wout's pace making in the mountains is a nice way to train for a mountain stage victory from the break when the opportunity arrises. Everything has its ulterior motives, only what benefits Wout will do. Otherwise he would have ridden for Vingegaard instead of trying to win for himself, when winning for himself might have caused Jumbo-Visma a crack at yellow. Imagine if Wout had been there when Vingegaard droped Pogacar. I think he's selfish through and through
 
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I get that, but honestly "it was a lost case" scenario only works if Evenepoel, deployed correctly as co-leader, still loses to Ala as did Van Aert. Unfortunately we shall never know.
Remco will have many more chances in the future for sure and I hope he gets a win as well.

Becoming a WC is in fact extremely hard, just take a look at the winners from the past 10 years. Sagan, JA, Valverde, Pedersen, Kwiatkowski, Costa, Gilbert, all these guys are no joke.
 
I can't agree with that though. First of all, last year he basically dragged Roglic across France in the flat stages and the mountains. When he was off babysitting duty, he casually won two stages for himself. Secondly, he's proven enough to be a team leader in a GT. Not for GC, but for stages, sprints... And he does in fact deserve some of the team work for him when he has a chance. Roglic still has more chances to win the TDF with Van Aert even when he can ride for himself in a few stages, than he has without Van Aert. If the argument is he hasn't proven himself enough on the top level, then the same could be said of "super Roglic" who has managed to win... 'merely' two Vuelta's.
I don't see how Van Aert is to blame for anything during the Ventoux stage. Insinuating he should have waited for Vingegaard, is all sorts of crazy.
I'm sure if he asks he can go for stage wins and KOM and points jersey in the Giro.

But when the Tour victory is being chased, stage hunting isn't really a luxury that's easily afforded.
 
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