Mathieu Van der Poel, Wout van Aert
  • careymatt

    van der Poel is amazing, and does show that bike handling can trip engine if the margins are small.

    I wonder how long he will stick with CX though before the lure of the road calls…

    • Gabby

      i would bet that Van Aert goes the way of the road first where big engines prosper. Hes got the motor and the handling to do well in the cobbled classics.

  • david__g

    Van Aert went so hard at the beginning of the season I almost feel he took a calculated risk that he could go hard and win everything at the start and van der Poel wouldn’t return as quickly (and as strongly) as he did from knee surgery. Then he’d be able to still beat pretty much everyone else late season. Of course, vdP came back stronger and faster than anyone could have expected and now van Aert looks to be on course for another second place…

    • Maarten Devillé

      You are forgetting a few things. Van Aert’s season has lasted much longer than that of van der Poel. Once Mattieu’s injury had healed and once he was in form, it was only logical that he would be the fittest rider of the two. Van Aert had been battling in all competitions and was leading all of them. Second thing is, that Van Aert’s lead in the competitions was so big, he didn’t have to ride after van der Poel, he only had to keep Pauwels, van der Haar, Nijs… behind him. Which he did. Why waste energy chasing Matthieu? Had he done so, he would have faced the same problem Nijs has faced his entire carreer. Dominating the season, only to fail at the Worlds against riders who had been peaking and saving themselves for the WC since they had no chance beating Nijs throughout the season.

  • Il_falcone

    I tend to disagree with regards to the size of the engine of van Aert and van der Poel. Since Matthieu is back after his knee problems he can ride or run away from the competition no matter where or when he wants to do it. He does not have to rely on his technical skills and take bigger risks than others. I would rather say that it takes him less effort to go at the same or even higher speed than the others which in turn makes him look like he’s more skilled. But it might just be a consequence of him not going at 100% and thus being able to concentrate better on the technical part of the sport.

    • Maarten Devillé

      If you look at last years season, there were many instances where you could see Van Aert has the bigger engine. Matthieu however is the more complete rider. I also think Wout is a tad heavier, so Matthieu may very well push a higher wattage per kilo, but not in total.

      • Il_falcone

        I assume you mean the last season, 2014/15 right? Yes, it looked like this then. But not this season since VdP is back.

        • Maarten Devillé

          Except that you can’t really compare, can you. By the time Matthieu came back and got into top shape, Wout already had a demanding season in his legs, and was leading (and defending his lead) in all classifications and needed to begin riding more economically. So the past 8 or so weeks are hardly representative. Matthieu said he needed to win the WC in order to save his season, and even though he could peak towards it more than Wout, he still got beat. Even though the track was said to be much more suited to Matthieu than Wout.
          Wout had to been saving himself for weeks, planning in extra training sessions, giving him “heavy legs” during races, while Matthieu was thriving towards top form and could start every race without pressure. And again, the one race he wanted to win, he got overpowered by Wout.

          I’m sticking to my earlier assessment, since last year was much more representative than this year. But i guess we’ll know for sure next year. Matthieu has more “souplesse” and is more technically gifted, but going by raw power, i think Wout has the edge. Nothing wrong with that i think. They’re both super talents. If Wout works on his technique, maybe he can become more of an all-rounder like Matthieu. But i think it’s interesting to see how they’re only 4 months apart (in age) immensely gifted, but very different riders, that will thrive on different courses. You can’t ask for more than that. It’s also good to see that they get along rather well, and are both classy riders on and off the track.

          • Il_falcone

            I agree with regards to the different season length they had this time. We’ll see the next years. I also agree that if such a huge talent appears on the scene it’s great to have two of them simultaneously, since otherwise it might become kind of boring.

  • Legstrong

    I am sad for failing to see that there would other racers that could match Mathieu. He has been dominating almost all the races leading up to the world championship. I hope I am wrong.

    • Maarten Devillé

      You mean other than Van Aert, or other than Matthieu himself? Because it’s been obvious that Van Aert hasn’t gone all out trying to keep up with van der Poel the past month or so. Since van der Poel’s season started much later (due to his injury) he was bound to be less fatigued and in better shape in januari. Van Aert already had a huge lead in all competitions, so he could focus on keeping Pauwels and van der Haar behind him. No need wasting energy chasing van der Poel if he wanted to make a chance at the Worlds. Last week, Van Aert just came back from a heavy training week in Spain. Meaning his legs were heavy in the weekend, but he would benefit from that training a week later. This weekend.

      van der Poel grew a bit overconfident i’m afraid, the past few weeks. Maybe he should have wasted a bit less energy and done a bit less showboating, especially since he had declared the only thing that could save his season was winning the WC.

  • Neil_Robinson

    i’m dreaming of a sven win.
    praying for a lars win.
    hoping for a wout win
    expecting a mathieu win

    side bet on tom meeusen to bunny hop every barrier all race long.

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