Is Van Der Poel Just Too Good For Cyclo-Cross? | The Cycling Race News Show

Is Van Der Poel Just Too Good For Cyclo-Cross? | The Cycling Race News Show


(race timer beeping) – Welcome back to the
GCN Racing News Show. This week, after yet
another dominant weekend for Mathieu van der Poel, we’re asking if he’s killing cyclocross. Details of next year’s Vuelta emerge, Andrea Tafi says he’s got a team, and Chris Froome falls
in love with Colombia. In winning the SuperPrestige
in Gavere yesterday, Mathieu van der Poel made
it four wins from four in the series so far this year. Despite the best efforts from Toon Aerts in the early stages, it
was a convincing solo win for van der Poel, and it came off the back of an equally dominant performance at the DVV Trophy in
Niel, the previous day. His list of results is looking more and more incredible as
the weekends pass by. At just 23 years of age,
he now has won 38 rounds of the SuperPrestige Series,
30 rounds of the World Cup, been National Champion eight times, European Champion four times
and World Champion three times. The only races he hasn’t won this season are the Koppenbergcross, a
round of the Brico Cross, where he crashed leaving
his ankle looking like this. But it appears that his talent stretches to superhuman recovery, too, as he still came back to
win the very next day. There’s no doubt that he is a phenomenon. We haven’t even mentioned
his palmarès on the road and mountain bike, but
although it’s a joy to watch a super talent in any sport
give a master class in their chosen discipline, you
wonder if the current dominance of van der Poel is bad for Cyclo-cross. I mean, there’s not
exactly a lot of suspense. The result appear to be almost
a done deal before the start. And generally is a done
deal after about one lap. As a comparison, the man widely regarded as the greatest cyclo-cross
rider of all time, Sven Nys, did win more than van der Poel, but he did so over a career
that spanned almost 20 years. Plus Nys often had a slow start in races, having to pick riders off
over the course of the race. So when he won, the
result was often in doubt, or at least, not set in
stone until the final lap. One thing those two do
have in common though is their relative lack of success
at the World Championships. Despite his dominance,
van der Poel has only won the elite World Championships once, and that was almost four years ago. Nys won it twice, but it always felt like he should have won it much more. Don’t get us wrong, it’s
not van der Poel’s fault. We’re not suggesting
he should have to start a minute behind everyone else, use a heavier bike or road tires, even though that might
actually be quite interesting. We’re just starting to wonder if it’s putting people off
watching the men’s races. Is van der Poel so bloody good that he’s killing cyclo-cross? And that’s where you come in. We’d like to know if you’ve
been put off watching cyclocross or whether you enjoy
watching this master at work? Let us know in the comment
section down below, and also by taking the poll
that’s on the screen right now. Contrary to the men’s events,
the women’s elite races this year have once again
been incredibly open. World Champion Sanne Cant took
the win in Niel on Saturday, after a particularly close
fought battle with Loes Sels. But on Sunday, it was the 23
year old Alice Maria Arzuffi, who took the biggest win
of her career so far. The cyclo-cross season
continues on Sunday, with the next round of
the DVV Trophy, in Hamme, which we have live on our Facebook page, with commentary coming from
Marty and Beth Crumpton. Sticking with cyclo-cross
for just a little longer, last week the UCI announced a number of rule changes and
updates to the discipline, amongst which was the introduction of a compulsory junior men’s event at all UCI sanctioned races. Great news for lads, but
unfortunately the same update didn’t include compulsory
women’s junior event, which, as you can imagine,
didn’t go down too well. Marty spoke to Helen Wyman and, newly crowned Pan-American
Champ, Maghalie Rochette, about this very subject last week. – Okay so Helen, this week we’ve had the announcement of a few new rules. And one of those regards junior men, and the fact that now at every UCI event they have to have a junior men’s race. But no mention at all of junior women. What do you make of that? – Well, personally I didn’t
expect much different, but I do actually still think
it’s pretty disgraceful. When I was stood on the
start line of Koppenberg, well before Koppenberg, I
saw some of the junior girls from britain, and I just thought, “Wow, these kids are gonna
have to race against us for 45 minutes, on the most
difficult course of the season.” And yeah, Anna Flynn was
I think 13th or 14th, which was a fantastic result. But imagine if she had had her own race? – And they now also
introduced junior men’s racing at every UCI race, they’ve
said that’s got to be there. But no mention at all of junior women. What’s your thoughts on that? – Again, I’m curious where that come from because I think last year they announced that 2020 will be the first
Junior Women World Championship. But that means it’s actually next year, because the World
Championships are in February, but that’s the World
Championships of next year. So I wonder how, with that in mind, why did they not impose
also a Junior Women’s? I wonder what they’re thinking, again, I don’t think that’s helping
the sport to grow necessarily. I think they were taking some big steps in creating a Junior Women’s category, and having a category for
them just encourages women to want to participate
because it’s not as big of a step to jump right
straight in the elite ranks. – Over to the road now,
and whilst the official Vuelta a España route
presentation won’t take place until January, a few details have emerged of the route for next season. The grand tour will begin in Alicante, there will be a detour into
France in the second week, and it also will include
nine summit finishes. Three of those summit
finishes are said to be new. While nine summit finishes will certainly suit pure climbers, there are also going
to be two time trials. Once, during the opening three days on the Costa Blanca, and
then a second time trial, around 30 or 40 kilometers,
in the second week. Now as mentioned, full
specifics of the route have yet to be confirmed, but
if these early details are anything to go by, we’re in for a treat. Now former Vuelta winner, Chris Froome, has announced that he
will start his season in Colombia next year, at the
Tour Colombia in February. This, off the back of
his recent participation at the Giro d’Iran Iran, which he seemed to particularly enjoy. Peter Sagan meanwhile, has
switched between South America and Australia to begin his
season in recent years, but next year, rather
than choose between them, he’s doing both. He’ll begin with the Tour
Down Under in January, then head on to the Tour
Colombia straight after. It appears the former
Paris-Roubaix winner, Andrea Tafi, is one step closer to his
dream of returning to compete at the race at the ripe old age of 52. The Belgian Paper, Het Laatste
Nieuws, last week reported that Tafi has found a team for 2019. Although, that was all
the information he gave. In other news, Trek-Segafredo’s
Toms Skujiņš revealed his entire riding data for 2018. And it was really quite interesting. He rode a total of 32,930
kilometers, over 1052 hours, climbed almost four
hundred thousand meters, burnt 750,000 calories,
and did the whole lot at an average normalized
power of 253 watts. Now I know why he’s a pro, and I’m not. We’re going to finish the show today with some very sad news. Unfortunately, last week Jonathan Cantwell lost his battle with mental illness. Tributes immediately came flooding in from all over the cycling
world, and we would, of course, like to add our
own condolences here at GCN. He left behind two young children, and a fund has been set
up to help support them. We’ve put the link in
the description below if you’d like to contribute. Of the many tributes that came in, this one from Matt Goss
was particularly touching. “This happy joking face I will remember… You will be missed my friend,
by myself, and everyone else that had the opportunity
to spend time with you. You always had a joke, a
laugh and brought a smile to everyone’s face…
RIP @jonathancantwell.” (silence) Now thanks for joining
us, and don’t forget to tune in to our Facebook page for the live DVV Trophy
Cyclo-cross on Sunday. And, we’ll be back again
with the Racing News Show, this time next week. There’s also a massive 50% sale on, at the GCN shop at the moment. So if you fancy a nice
hoodie like this one, or a t-shirt, then head on over. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. In the meantime, if you’ve
always wondered what the difference is between a
cyclo-cross bike and a gravel bike, then why not check out this
video I did with Si, down here.