Van der Poel: The Phenomenon | The Cycling Race News Show
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Van der Poel: The Phenomenon | The Cycling Race News Show

October 28, 2019


Coming up today, the best race finish we have
seen in years. As well as the men’s and women’s Amstel
Gold Races we’ve also got the Tour of Turkey, Brabanste Pijl, and a new World Hour Record. But we can only start with one race, and let’s
get this out of the way immediately. This week’s GCN Rider of the Week is……….. Mathieu van der Poel. He has just elevated himself to Dutch royalty,
winning the biggest race in the Netherlands, in the Dutch champions jersey, and white shorts,
with one of the best race finishes you will ever see. It’s hard to know where to even start with
this one, but let’s go back to 44kms to go. That was when van der Poel couldn’t hold
his excitement back any longer, going on the attack, Gorka Izaguirre the only man able,
or willing, to join him. His father, Adri, who has been trying to tell
his son to conserve a bit more energy, must have had his head in his hands at that point. It was a novice move, although we shouldn’t
be too critical about that – after all this was his first participation in the race, and
only the 4th WorldTour event he’s ever ridden. Regardless, after Izaguirre was told to stop
working he was caught 6kms later, just before what is often the decisive part of the race,
the Kruisberg. That is where Deceuninck Quickstep accelerated
and Alaphilippe made his attack, joined a little later by Fuglsang. Nobody was able to follow them, not least,
understandably, van der Poel, who was paying for the efforts he’d already made. Despite the efforts of Kwiatkowski and Trentin
behind, nobody was able to catch the front two. With 2.5kms to go, they had close to half
a minute’s lead. The win was theirs, it was just a matter of
which one of them would take it. And then Fuglsang sat on. Quite rightly so in my opinion – the Dane
is no match for Alaphilippe in a sprint finish, his only chance of victory was to make the
Frenchman do the work, and hope that that would sap his energy enough to give him a
chance at the finish. Only Alaphilippe wasn’t prepared to do it
on his own. The pace slowed, the gap fell. It was tantalising stuff. Kwiatkowski, who’d dropped Trentin, closed
in, and eventually caught the leading duo. And then, as we got a long shot from the finish
line, we could see another group in the distance. The win was still between the three of them,
surely. That gap couldn’t be closed, could it? Incredible. 29 years after his Dad won it, 18 years after
the last Dutch winner, van der Poel did the impossible. And what makes it even more incredible, is
that when you look back at the last 10kms, he did it almost all himself. He went from group to group, collecting passenger
after passenger, and even in the last kilometre, it was only him doing the work. You could easily say that you will never witness
anything like that again in a bike race, but I wouldn’t put anything past van der Poel,
he’s a phenomenon. Now, I want to give a special mention to Simon
Clarke. The Aussie from EF Education First finished
a very creditable 2nd, but his ride has been buried in the furore surrounding van der Poel. That is Clarke’s best result in a one day
race of this calibre, and at 32, I’d say he’s the best he’s ever been, chapeau. Fuglsang ended up with third, but he, and
Alaphilippe, must be wondering what could have been. Before we finish with the men’s Amstel,
one more little stat for you – in placing 65th, that was the first time that Alejandro
Valverde has finished outside the top 50 in any race, or any stage of any race, since
7th May 2016. A changing of the guard? Maybe so. When Valverde won his first pro race, van
der Poel was 8. Now, the women’s Amstel Gold Race was so
enthralling that it left me wondering how the men’s race would live up to the excitement. Thankfully, we ended up with two incredible
races. There, the first of the big guns to make a
move was Lizzie Deignan, who was making her return to competition after giving birth to
her daughter Orla last September. She went with 40km’s remaining. After she was caught, the next to go were
Spratt, Longo Borghini and Katie Hall, making her debut at the race. It was a strong trio, but they would eventually
be caught on the penultimate ascent of the Cauberg, much of that down to Marianne Vos,
a woman on a mission yesterday. On the finishing lap, Longo Borghini went
again. It’s been almost 2 years since she’s taken
a win, and for a while, it looked as though she had enough to be victorious. However, she was firstly caught by Spratt
and Moolman Pasio in the closing kilometres, and then by a select group behind on the final
climb. And there, we witness and almighty explosion
of power from Kasia Nieuwiadoma. It really was quite something, even the great
Marianne Vos was unable to match her. However, it was still mightily close at the
line – Annemiek Van Vleuten, who you will remember broke the heart of Van Der Breggen
at last year’s La Course, was closing in on the Pole, but this time it wouldn’t be
enough, Nieuwiadoma took her first win at this race, and the 15th of her career so far. Now It feels like a distant memory, but on
Wednesday, we had what is often seen as the warm up race for Amstel, the Brabantse Pijl. It gave us a glimpse of what was to come in
many respects. Van der Poel couldn’t help himself, attacking
multiple times before ending up in a group with Michael Matthews, last year’s winner
Tim Wellens, and Alaphilippe. Van der Poel found himself in the worst possible
position, on the front into the home straight. Didn’t matter, he sprinted from the front
and nobody came around him. Alaphilippe was 2nd – he’s won every one
day race he’s done this year, except the ones where van der Poel has started. In the women’s, Sophie De Vuyst took the
first victory of her professional career, getting the better of Marta Cavalli and Coryn
Rivera in a sprint from a group of 6. On to the boards now. 10 attempts on Bradley Wiggins 2015 hour record
of 54.526 km have come and gone with nobody managing to go further. Step forward Lotto Soudal’s Victor Campenaerts. There had been much anticipation and excitement
around the European time trial champion having a crack at the record, and the Belgian headed
to Aguascalientes in Mexico to make his attempt on what is known as one of the toughest records
in cycling. He just seemed to find his groove right from
the off and added an extra 563m to the record. With each new record usually comes a flurry
of big name attempts, who will be next? The record now stands at 55.089km. Back to the road now, as the other WorldTour
event that took place last week was the Tour of Turkey. Predominantly flat, it attracted some of the
world’s best sprinters, many of whom were using it to prepare for the Giro. Taking the spoils on the first two stages
was a man who has been snubbed for that very race by Bora Hansgrohe – Sam Bennett. He’s certainly making a case for a start
at the Tour de France, particularly with Sagan a long way from his best right now. It was nice to see Mark Cavendish pick up
a result with 3rd place on stage 2 – the Manxman has had a long road to recovery after injury
and illness. On Stage 3 we were given a lesson in maneuvering
through the bunch by Fabio Jakobsen. Here you can see how far down and boxed in
he was, but somehow, he was guided through the mess by his teammate, bumped through a
couple of riders, launched his sprint, collected a flag from the crowd in the last 200m, and
then raised his arms aloft, complete with flag. The best flagged ride he’ll ever have. Caleb Ewan took two stage wins for Lotto Soudal,
both of them on tough finishes, and the 2nd, which came on the final day, was almost a
solo victory. Jakobsen just about managed to finish on the
same time, but behind, there was a 4 second gap to Bennett. The GC, though, was all about stage 5, finishing
on a climb to Kartepe. 12kms at 9%. For a few moments towards the top, it looked
as though 19 year old Remco Evenepoel, just out of the junior ranks, would take his first
win as a pro. He launched an attack with 5km’s remaining,
but it was a little too exuberant. He’d end up finishing 4th, still mightily
impressive. Winner on the day, and overall, was Felix
Groschartner – a great week all round for Bora. Before we finish, a quick look at our poll
from last week – is Philippe Gilbert the best classics rider of his generation? 79% of you said yes. I have a feeling I know who the best classics
rider of the next generation will be….. Unfortunately, we have to finish with news
that one of the best riders of his own generation has passed away. Belgian Patrick Sercu was one of, if not THE
best track rider of all time, partnering with Eddy Merckx, they won 15 6 day events, and
taking a total of over 1200 wins in his career. Most of those came on the track, but he also
took 6 stages of the Tour and 13 at the Giro. After retiring from competition, Serce took
to organising road races, and also became the director of the Gent 6 day, which is where
I had the pleasure of meeting him in 2013. The cycling world has lost a great. Rest in peace Patrick. That’s all for this week, next week we’ll
have the Tro Bro Leon, which takes place today, plus Fleche Wallonne and Liege Bastogne Liege,
both of which you can find highlights of over on our facebook page soon after the finish. We’ll also have the Tour of the Alpes, which
starts today, and if you’re in North or South America, you can get live coverage of
that race with myself and Marty – Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali are amongst those competing
in what is a notoriously tough race. I’m off to prepare my notes for that, so
I shall leave you with the following video – who has the fastest sprinting position,
Greipel, Cavendish, Ewan or Opie – find out down here, as GCN recruits some external expertise
in order to do some proper science…..

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  1. I think MVDP should come to Yorkshire 2019 and bloody win that too. His first CX world cup race isn't until 20th October.

  2. Does the gender gap narrow in climbing? Are there some aspects (endurance, climbing) where women not only impress, but also challenge men head to head?

  3. Was Mathieu as strong as he was towards the finish because of his cyclocross background?

    As they’re known for sustaining tough 1 hour efforts and being able to recover incredibly quickly, was his attack at 44km to go just an activation for his legs to get into the zone to begin that 1 hour effort?

    Also as he got dropped back to the main group shortly after this, I think due to his incredible recovery ability he was able to find some insane watt bombs in the last few km because of his ability to do a strong 1 hour effort.

    What does everyone else think?

  4. It's a shame none of the race cameras actually showed how hard MvdP worked in the final 5km… basically pulling himself and other riders right up the front. Now keep in mind there was over a minute deficit at one point and he had already gone on an attack 40km earlier. Unbelievable.

  5. Fastest sprint in this generation? Robbie McEwen, because as great as he was he never had his own lead out team. He always had to find his way.

  6. His surge at 44K was planned. He's not a very good climber so he wanted to get ahead with a few guys to make it easier to still be at the front after the last climb. Didn't work out though, although his competition did seize the moment and attacked and we all saw what happened next.

  7. 25 years the Dutch had no top riders, now they have 2 phenomal riders with MvdP and Tom Dumoulin! Sunweb should buy MvdP

  8. Your accent is so strong and you speak so quickly, it is very hard understand you.
    Instead of the "talking head" description of the sprint ending to the race, how about some good slow motion replay………???

  9. And the stills provided zero information about the close finish!
    Thanks for nothing!
    Your productions usually are very professional with the viewers interest clearly anticipated and catered to.

  10. I get the feeling everybody thinks this guy came out of nowhere. Van der Poel has basically won every cyclocross event the last 4 years. On the road he has not a lot of experience yes. But on a bike he is a complete and utter animal. Like Bradley wiggins recently said: other riders can be thankfull this guy doesnt ride on the road the entire season and does professional cyclocross in the winter and professional mountainbiking in the summer…

  11. The grandson of Raymond Poulidor races exactly like Eddy Merckx… We want him on the Tour, here, in France !

  12. Could you tell me where I can find the picture that is shown at 1min16 seconds. I am the dude in the pink t-shirt, I would love to have this picture

  13. When lance Armstrong started this was the best performance ever. Then you know that's the truth. Dopers or not his words are worth

  14. I just discovered your channel. And I love it!!!
    Keep up the good work..we need some great cycling journalists!

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