Wout van Aert

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so your point is that he started wanting it more?
My point is that he is good at climbing, because he trained for it. It seems absolutely ridiculous, I know. He could just have been doping to become a better climber. But he choose to do training rides in the alps and Girona with loads of climbing, during the whole month of July. He had 70.000 vertical meters in July on training. Not many other cyclist do that. I only see some GC guys doing the same (not even more) vertical meters. Most don't get over 50.000. You don't ride those vertical meters for free.
 
No you don't get it. Colombian riders suffered jetlag a while ago and that's why they can't go fast uphill anymore.
So you think jetlag doesn't have any influence on your fatigue.
Thanks for the reminder. I'll happily skip some training and fly intercontinental less than 2 weeks before the races start.

I'll add that while the Colombians were training in Colombia, JV was training on the parcours of the Alpine mountain stages. They knew every curve and exactly knew how to pace themselves from going 2-3 times up those climbs.
 
2017 would be like his 2nd (part-time) road season age 22-23. Hardly any peloton sprints in smaller races. 2018 he only did a classic campaign and again some smaller races.

But I am happy to hear what races he messed up his positioning in 2017/2018. (spoiler alert: probably none)
Well, he was sprinting in BinckBank Tour 2017, results were 122nd, 80th and 27th. He was also sprinting at Danmark Rundt 2018, ha came 19th and 15th. He sprinted at Gent-Wevelgem in 2018 and came 10th out of 19. He sprinted also in De Ronde 2018 and came 5th out of 9. He then sprinted at Milan-San Remo 2019 and came 6th out of 10, at Ronde 2019 12th out of 15.
At E3 2019 he was better though, 2nd in a group of 5, only behind Stybar and in front of GVA. And then at the Dauphine - we get a genuine sprinter!
I don't know, it seems a bit strange to me...
 
Yeah the TT + Sprinting combo feels off to me. Mostly because I can't think of any other rider like that.

Cancellara had a nasty sprint if he wanted but that's the closest I can think of. Or Geraint Thomas perhaps.
 
Pure sprinters are the soccer players of cycling: they are lazy, they train less kilometers and they don't train that much in the mountains or on the TT bike. Why would they? They have that one weapon (the sprint) that gives them the wins. The whole team will ride for them and even push them up the hills. So many pure sprinters don't show any incentive to do well in TT (why would they? They focus on stages, green jersey, Paris-Tours, Scheldeprijs and their sponsors are happy). Thinking about McEwen, Ewan, Bennet, Blijlevens Cipollini, Petacchi, Cavendish, Kittel, Steels.

TT guys on the other hand are a mix of GC contenders and specialists in just TT. Why those TT specialists don't ever try to sprint: I don't know. Some are loners and ride TT first because they don't like to ride in the peloton or are bad bike handlers (e.g. Tony Martin). Others are only build for endurance (and if they are light enough, they end up trying for GC) . Anyhow, WvA isn't anywhere near being the established alpha male TT. Currently, Rohan Dennis is still the reference, and you have Ganna, Dumoulin, Roglic, Evenepoel and Cavagna is on the rise.
Cancellara, Jalabert are 2 WC TT that have a good sprint. Alaphilippe won the Tour TT last year and has won races sprinting in smaller groups. But riders like Cancellara or Alaphilippe don't want to do mass sprints or rely too much on their sprint, they have capabilities to arrive in smaller groups or solo and will just try to do that, and don't risk crashing in mass sprints for whatever reason. Boonen, Kittel (both of them winning TT in their young years), Cipollini and even Sagan can do very well in a short TT, especially if that gives them a chance on a leader's jersey in a grand (or small) tour. So if they have a reward coming, they can TT. If they don't have any incentive, they see any TT as an obligation / day to rest as much as possible.

WvA is first of all a CX guy with a big engine, trained on doing 1-hour FTP efforts. So his coaches reckoned he could to well in a TT. And CX is explosive so he mixed in sprints on the road from a young age. His best sprints are straight and long. He doesn't have a Kittel/Greipel power sprint peaking around 1600-1700 watts. He does maybe 1400-1500 watts max. effort but can hold that 3-5 seconds longer. He has won his sprints by positioning more than anything else. He has the engine to position himself and can still do his maximum sprint effort. Not many sprinters can do that (they run out of gas if they have to position themselves): Sagan is fairly good at that but mostly because he fearlessly diving into gaps and going shoulder to shoulder, WvA is more reluctant to fight for position.

Matthieu VdPoel is another rider that is probably as good in (short) TT as WvA, but he hasn't done any TT recently. He also has a sprint that's just a bit faster and more powerful than WvA (higher peak watts). But it seems VdPoel's climbing pedigree is lower (and for sure less trained) than WvA. VdPoel hasn't done any long training camps with GC candidates like WvA has, and he seems to be just that bit more explosive and thus better at sprints and less suited for the mountains.

A long story short: WvA is maybe 4-5th in TT, 4-5th in sprints and around 20th in climbing in the current peloton. Does that make his performances exceptional?
 
Pure sprinters are the soccer players of cycling: they are lazy, they train less kilometers and they don't train that much in the mountains or on the TT bike. Why would they? They have that one weapon (the sprint) that gives them the wins. The whole team will ride for them and even push them up the hills. So many pure sprinters don't show any incentive to do well in TT (why would they? They focus on stages, green jersey, Paris-Tours, Scheldeprijs and their sponsors are happy). Thinking about McEwen, Ewan, Bennet, Blijlevens Cipollini, Petacchi, Cavendish, Kittel, Steels.

TT guys on the other hand are a mix of GC contenders and specialists in just TT. Why those TT specialists don't ever try to sprint: I don't know. Some are loners and ride TT first because they don't like to ride in the peloton or are bad bike handlers (e.g. Tony Martin). Others are only build for endurance (and if they are light enough, they end up trying for GC) . Anyhow, WvA isn't anywhere near being the established alpha male TT. Currently, Rohan Dennis is still the reference, and you have Ganna, Dumoulin, Roglic, Evenepoel and Cavagna is on the rise.
Cancellara, Jalabert are 2 WC TT that have a good sprint. Alaphilippe won the Tour TT last year and has won races sprinting in smaller groups. But riders like Cancellara or Alaphilippe don't want to do mass sprints or rely too much on their sprint, they have capabilities to arrive in smaller groups or solo and will just try to do that, and don't risk crashing in mass sprints for whatever reason. Boonen, Kittel (both of them winning TT in their young years), Cipollini and even Sagan can do very well in a short TT, especially if that gives them a chance on a leader's jersey in a grand (or small) tour. So if they have a reward coming, they can TT. If they don't have any incentive, they see any TT as an obligation / day to rest as much as possible.

WvA is first of all a CX guy with a big engine, trained on doing 1-hour FTP efforts. So his coaches reckoned he could to well in a TT. And CX is explosive so he mixed in sprints on the road from a young age. His best sprints are straight and long. He doesn't have a Kittel/Greipel power sprint peaking around 1600-1700 watts. He does maybe 1400-1500 watts max. effort but can hold that 3-5 seconds longer. He has won his sprints by positioning more than anything else. He has the engine to position himself and can still do his maximum sprint effort. Not many sprinters can do that (they run out of gas if they have to position themselves): Sagan is fairly good at that but mostly because he fearlessly diving into gaps and going shoulder to shoulder, WvA is more reluctant to fight for position.

Matthieu VdPoel is another rider that is probably as good in (short) TT as WvA, but he hasn't done any TT recently. He also has a sprint that's just a bit faster and more powerful than WvA (higher peak watts). But it seems VdPoel's climbing pedigree is lower (and for sure less trained) than WvA. VdPoel hasn't done any long training camps with GC candidates like WvA has, and he seems to be just that bit more explosive and thus better at sprints and less suited for the mountains.

A long story short: WvA is maybe 4-5th in TT, 4-5th in sprints and around 20th in climbing in the current peloton. Does that make his performances exceptional?
Oh please. The reason sprinters are usually not very good time triallers is because they are lazy? You are not doing Wout a favour by spreading something like that.

The comparison with guys like van der Poel, Sagan, Cancellara, Kelly seems more fruitful to me.
 
Oh please. The reason sprinters are usually not very good time triallers is because they are lazy? You are not doing Wout a favour by spreading something like that.

The comparison with guys like van der Poel, Sagan, Cancellara, Kelly seems more fruitful to me.
I see what they do for training. Everything is on strava these days. Sprinters don't do 200+K hilly training rides all the time. So yes they are lazy compared to GC riders living like monks in the mountains during training camps. Or are you suggesting sprinters do as many training kms and as much vertical elevation in their training?
 
I see what they do for training. Everything is on strava these days. Sprinters don't do 200+K hilly training rides all the time. So yes they are lazy compared to GC riders living like monks in the mountains during training camps. Or are you suggesting sprinters do as many training kms and as much vertical elevation in their training?
It's hardly being lazy. Distance does not correlate with intensity. A six hour spin where you pretty much never go above threshold is easier than a 3 hour ride loaded with sprinting and anaerobic intervals.

It's obviously different training for different disciplines. Van Aert seems to have very good natural speed and so dedicated a big block to riding in the mountains to improve in that area. I'm not sure that really tells us anything, apart from the fact that he has been working on improving his climbing.
 
I see what they do for training. Everything is on strava these days. Sprinters don't do 200+K hilly training rides all the time. So yes they are lazy compared to GC riders living like monks in the mountains during training camps. Or are you suggesting sprinters do as many training kms and as much vertical elevation in their training?
So Usain Bolt could have won a big marathon during his best time, if he had not been so lazy and done more 20k runs during the week?
 
So Usain Bolt could have won a big marathon during his best time, if he had not been so lazy and done more 20k runs during the week?
Comparing with runners is comparing apples to oranges. You would have to compare someone like Usain Bolt with track athletes in cycling like Chris Hoy. Most of those guys are superspecialized and never achieve anything on the road.

But logic dictates that Usain Bolt would be better at a marathon if he trained for a marathon.
But Usain Bolt started as a track and field sprinter and ended as a sprinter.

WvA didn't start as a sprinter. If he was a runner, he started in cross country, obviously, and became world champion. He was all-round, and had a good sprint. He became better in TT and climbing as he practised, and retained his speed in the sprint. He didn't suddenly become a sprinter, he was already fast. The only thing he became this year is a better climber by retaining his FTP and loosing weight.
 
and if this was his peak in his career with regards to climbing, would you still consider it exceptional, or would you consider it an odd year? I mean, I will find it suspicious if he can pull off this level until October with the classics. I feel he will have a relapse somewhere in the coming weeks, maybe already next sunday.


But he didn't had it till summer last year!
Last year was his first full road campaign in something you can call a good team. Before that he only rode on the road to prepare for cross, or in case of 2018, only the spring classics. So how many chances did he really have to sprint? And how many races has he tried (because he can!) to attack instead of waiting for the sprint?
 
He didn't suddenly become a sprinter
He did just that! He suddenly become a sprinter as of Dauphine last year. Before that he was nowhere to be seen in bunch sprints, he was nowhere near winning reduced bunch sprints, and heck he couldn't even win small group sprints! And how the hell then he always had speed!?
And now on top of that, he become a mountain goat!!! While at the same time he's never been faster and never TT-ed better in his life!
 
I think he always had the speed. He only started winning bunch sprints in summer last year. But then, results are going to pick up when you move to a strong WT team and have more experience of riding in elite road races.
You think, oh than it's alright :rolleyes:. But I would still like to see that speed of his, which was always there. I'm trying to find it, but till now I only found that Stybar beat him at E3, Alaphilippe, Naesen, Kwiat and Mohoric did it at San Remo, 11 guys out of 15 did it at Ronde and 9 out of 19 did it at GW, and so on.
To be fair, I found one sprint he won in 2017, he beat Van der Poel at Elfstedenronde. Fair enough, Mathieu is fast, but that was just too little for this kind of transformation we have now! And I'm not even mentioning TT's and mountains!
 
He did just that! He suddenly become a sprinter as of Dauphine last year. Before that he was nowhere to be seen in bunch sprints, he was nowhere near winning reduced bunch sprints, and heck he couldn't even win small group sprints! And how the hell then he always had speed!?
I remind you he was still not elite in CX in 2014-2015.
This is 2017 (his second road season):
View: https://youtu.be/lhFoK61XMkE?t=1162


And now on top of that, he become a mountain goat!!!
His climbing is excellent, but he hasn't shown in the HC climbs that he has the Watts/kg to follow the best, and that makes perfect sense. If he has a 30 minute power of 450 watts (that's a conservative guess, Wiggins burnt 440 watts for the full hour attempt), and he weighs e.g. 72 kgs (that's a very reasonable guess), he can do 6.25 watts/kg while the absolute best can go close to 6.5 watts/kg.

While at the same time he's never been faster and never TT-ed better in his life!
2016, first elite season on the road, age 22. He beats Tony Martin, Niki Terpstra, Yves Lampaert in the prologue of tour of Belgium (7kms):
View: https://youtu.be/vwT3yDT6gz0?t=34


You think, oh than it's alright :rolleyes:. But I would still like to see that speed of his, which was always there. I'm trying to find it, but till now I only found that Stybar beat him at E3, Alaphilippe, Naesen, Kwiat and Mohoric did it at San Remo, 11 guys out of 15 did it at Ronde and 9 out of 19 did it at GW, and so on.
To be fair, I found one sprint he won in 2017, he beat Van der Poel at Elfstedenronde. Fair enough, Mathieu is fast, but that was just too little for this kind of transformation we have now! And I'm not even mentioning TT's and mountains!
He was not experienced at San Remo and closed a gap to Trentin at 1K from the line. Ofcourse that messed up his sprint! His positioning was bad as well, actually, his positioning was good but Sagan was messing up his own ideal line not going to the right so WvA was just dying in the wind at the end.
View: https://youtu.be/F1VlK-D4w5c?t=234


At Ronde Van Vlaanderen, he was spent. Ofcourse sometimes even the best don't have a sprint in the end after such a hard classic. That doesn't say anything about his sprinting pedigree.
At Gent Wevelgem they did the sprint for Danny Van Poppel. Van Aert rode an excellent race with 325 Watt average for the whole race, making the first echelon (hard) and controlling the race as a perfect team mate for his (supposedly) better sprinter. It was his first year at JV so he wasn't supposed to be leading the team for all races.
 
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Oh please. The reason sprinters are usually not very good time triallers is because they are lazy? You are not doing Wout a favour by spreading something like that.

The comparison with guys like van der Poel, Sagan, Cancellara, Kelly seems more fruitful to me.
yes exactly.
A long story short: WvA is maybe 4-5th in TT, 4-5th in sprints and around 20th in climbing in the current peloton. Does that make his performances exceptional?
He is not 4-5th in the peloton as a sprinter at least if we are talking about sprinter top speed and acceleration despite some truly great results. Bennett, Ewan, Ackermann, Gaviria, Groenewegen are all clearly much faster to name just an obvious five. He’s not getting those results for the most part in “normal” sprints. He has been jumping guys in chaotic situations with long power and surprise moves. In a way you are making your own argument harder to defend than it has to be. He clearly is a top dozen sprinter now and that’s hard enough to explain without making him into a Gaviria or Groenewegen.
 
You think, oh than it's alright :rolleyes:. But I would still like to see that speed of his, which was always there. I'm trying to find it, but till now I only found that Stybar beat him at E3, Alaphilippe, Naesen, Kwiat and Mohoric did it at San Remo, 11 guys out of 15 did it at Ronde and 9 out of 19 did it at GW, and so on.
To be fair, I found one sprint he won in 2017, he beat Van der Poel at Elfstedenronde. Fair enough, Mathieu is fast, but that was just too little for this kind of transformation we have now! And I'm not even mentioning TT's and mountains!
I think you have not been following his CX and early road career very closely, if you don't believe that he was always very fast. Looking at classics results from a guy who has just switched across from CX training to road biking is not really that useful. Sagan, for example, has been riding classics for years and has always been terrible at sprints at the end of a hard race. Of course WVA is going to take time to adjust to the length and demands of such races, before his sprint can be used as a real weapon.

And what exactly do you think he has been doing or taking to suddenly become an excellent sprinter, if the speed wasn't there before? What cocktail exactly would grow fast twitch muscle fibres while also shedding significant weight?
 
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yes exactly.


He is not 4-5th in the peloton as a sprinter at least if we are talking about sprinter top speed and acceleration despite some truly great results. Bennett, Ewan, Ackermann, Gaviria, Groenewegen are all clearly much faster to name just an obvious five. He’s not getting those results for the most part in “normal” sprints. He has been jumping guys in chaotic situations with long power and surprise moves. In a way you are making your own argument harder to defend than it has to be. He clearly is a top dozen sprinter now and that’s hard enough to explain without making him into a Gaviria or Groenewegen.
I didn't make him into a top sprinter. But going by results, he is doing better than Gaviria or Groenewegen for reasons different than pure sprinter pedigree... Because in the end, that's what people see, and that's where the suspicion originates from, because if he didn't have results, there would simply be no suspicion: suspicion originates through envy. Most people only seem to look at results and they don't seem to see the efforts by e.g. WvA made in the race, and then they state that he comes out of nowhere...

I have been watching WvA very, very closely from his CX when he was an espoir, so I at least know what I say when I say he always had talent, pedigree etc, compared to some that claim he suddenly came out of nowhere last summer.
 

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