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Volta ao Algarve 2024 - 2.Pro (February 14-18)

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Wout is doubling down, pathetic. Even Jan Bakelants, a.k.a. WoutVanAertN1Fan, appears to be critical. Incredible behaviour for someone who yelled 'Ik moet juist niks' in a microphone.
 

Wout is doubling down, pathetic. Even Jan Bakelants, a.k.a. WoutVanAertN1Fan, appears to be critical. Incredible behaviour for someone who yelled 'Ik moet juist niks' in a microphone.
After stage 2 we'll know more. I can't imagine him finish close to the best in stage 2, then do very well during the TT, basically on the podium in GC, and then just let it ride in stage 5.
 
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Wout is doubling down, pathetic. Even Jan Bakelants, a.k.a. WoutVanAertN1Fan, appears to be critical. Incredible behaviour for someone who yelled 'Ik moet juist niks' in a microphone.

What exactly is the problem here?
 
What exactly is the problem here?
The problem is that Wout has let this monuments-or-nothing mentality get into his head at such a degree that he is approaching some of these preparation races like they are a risk, almost a danger. All winter (and the previous two, for that matter) he has been talking about how he needs to save energy in his build-up whatever the cost, because any effort here might cost him some day in Vlaanderen or Roubaix. We have now reached a point where a +/- seven minute effort on Malhão appears to be a no-no for something that might happen, could happen sometime in April. It is just silly.

Belgian media, and I must admit often unfairly, write and/or speak about monuments being the only thing that matters in regards to Wout, and it would appear these criticisms now have a permanent, rent free stay in his head, resulting in him actually believing this mantra. Nobody expects him to go all into the red just for a low level race like Algarve (although it would be a nice addition to his to be desired palmares), but there is a big gap between going all out and throwing the towel prematurely for a hypothetical situation that has no substance.
 
The problem is that Wout has let this monuments-or-nothing mentality get into his head at such a degree that he is approaching some of these preparation races like they are a risk, almost a danger. All winter (and the previous two, for that matter) he has been talking about how he needs to save energy in his build-up whatever the cost, because any effort here might cost him some day in Vlaanderen or Roubaix. We have now reached a point where a +/- seven minute effort on Malhão appears to be a no-no for something that might happen, could happen sometime in April. It is just silly.

Belgian media, and I must admit often unfairly, write and/or speak about monuments being the only thing that matters in regards to Wout, and it would appear these criticisms now have a permanent, rent free stay in his head, resulting in him actually believing this mantra. Nobody expects him to go all into the red just for a low level race like Algarve (although it would be a nice addition to his to be desired palmares), but there is a big gap between going all out and throwing the towel prematurely for a hypothetical situation that has no substance.

But he says he wants to go for the three hard stages and not participate in the bunch sprints. I read the "not going for GC" as "I don't really believe I can beat Remco as I haven't practiced a lot on my TT bike over the winter, but I won't lose time on purpose".

Not participating in Strade and MSR is absolute crap, though.
 
But he says he wants to go for the three hard stages and not participate in the bunch sprints. I read the "not going for GC" as "I don't really believe I can beat Remco as I haven't practiced a lot on my TT bike over the winter, but I won't lose time on purpose".

Not participating in Strade and MSR is absolute crap, though.
He could also say that he intends to do the best he can, but doesn't expect it to be enough to win. Ganna and Küng have been top 5/top 3 the past years, that means if he actually tries, he is fully capable to get on the podium, perhaps even more. If he would go for bonus seconds in sprints (and let's be fair, there are no top tier sprinters here so competition is weak) he could have a nice buffer.

Edit: just heard the interview... he does want to go for the three hardest stages to try and win. He will not get involved in the sprints. But he's not going for GC. So basically he is going to try and win all the stages the GC guys are aiming for, but he will somehow not go for GC. Perhaps he will lose time on purpose in the sprint stages, lol.
 
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And if he gets sick or crashes right before the classics you get nothing. He could just go for it. Nobody is in top shape, so he can get some stage wins here.

Maybe he loses time on purpose in the first sprint stage so he can get away without the climbers following him immediately and try to get some wins this way. (After a year with only 2(?) wins maybe a different approach). He’s not gonna sprint anymore because it’s too much effort.
 
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He could also say that he intends to do the best he can, but doesn't expect it to be enough to win. Ganna and Küng have been top 5/top 3 the past years, that means if he actually tries, he is fully capable to get on the podium, perhaps even more. If he would go for bonus seconds in sprints (and let's be fair, there are no top tier sprinters here so competition is weak) he could have a nice buffer.

Edit: just heard the interview... he does want to go for the three hardest stages to try and win. He will not get involved in the sprints. But he's not going for GC. So basically he is going to try and win all the stages the GC guys are aiming for, but he will somehow not go for GC. Perhaps he will lose time on purpose in the sprint stages, lol.
I understand avoiding bunch sprinting, as you don't want to be caught in crash at this time of the season if you are Van Aert, but the think about trying to win the only 3 GC relevant stages while not going for GC is absurd.
 
That I honestly understand, if you want to do altitude training before the big classics season starts
I don't. Strade ok, it's maybe too early for such a hard race. But Milan-San Remo, why the hell you won't ride a monument that suits you like a glove. He can be a contender in every scenario in that race, and you doesn't need to be at 100% to win it, unlike Roubaix and Ronde. So basically he just need to move his altitude training for a week or two and ride it. MSR is still, along with Roubaix, his best chance for a monument win.