What's Cool In Road Cycling

Adrie van der Poel Talks Cyclo-Cross and Van Aert!

Adrie has his say: Adrie, father of top riders Mathieu and David van der Poel has been quite out-spoken on the short-comings of the cross riders who were soundly beaten by Wout van Aert last Saturday. Eli Iserbyt and toon Aerts have their opinions on the ‘old man’ of cross.

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Father and son – Van der Poel

Adrie van der Poel was very sharp after the cross in Boom. “On the road they only race against amateurs in small races. It is logical that the difference is large,” Van der Poel senior reacted after the convincing victory of Wout van Aert. The 1996 World champion gave the other crossers a dig in the ribs.

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A two minute win for Wout van Aert in Boom

Van Aert was much too strong for the competition when he returned to cyclo-cross last Saturday. The triple World champion managed to break away with a powerful move to win by almost two minutes from Eli Iserbyt, the top cross rider of the first half of the season. Adrie van der Poel was not surprised by Wout van Aert’s solo performance in Boom. “Wout and Mathieu ride at the top level all year round, in major races. The other crossers only participate in smaller events in the summer to do something. Of course the difference is big.”

Adrie was handy on the road and cross

“And it will only get bigger for Iserbyt and Co. If they want to compete more, they will have to ride more top races in the summer. Not against amateurs who also have to work to earn money. Of course those Continental teams can’t always participate in the big races, that’s a shame. But certain riders would also turn their noses up at that and are content with what they have,” Van der Poel senior didn’t mince words in conversation with Het Nieuwsblad.

Iserbyt not too impressed

The Belgian newspaper then decided to poll a few people within the cyclo-cross world for a reaction. Eli Iserbyt is not impressed by the statements of Adrie van der Poel. “Adrie doesn’t say anything new. I am under contract with a Continental team. In the summer we can ride few big races. In the future, we are looking at how we can change that,” said Iserbyt, who also wants to emphasise that it does not always have to have a positive effect.

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David van der Poel has a good road schedule

“Perhaps Adrie should also look at his other son. David van der Poel has been able to ride a nice road program for a few years now, but he doesn’t get any better,” Eli Iserbyt commented. “Combining road and cross, like Wout and Mathieu, is not for everyone. I am now 24 years old. I still have time to take that step. Wout is already 27, Mathieu soon too. They are now at the top of their game, but initially also chose the quiet path on the road.”

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Toon Aerts says he has ridden many top road races

Toon Aerts partly agreed with the criticism of Van der Poel senior. “With Baloise Trek Lions I participate in some great races in the summer, such as the Baloise Belgium Tour, Tour de Wallonie and Dwars door het Hageland, in which we also play a role. On the other hand, I also rode the Tour of Namur this year, where amateurs were indeed at the start. That may have been a little below my level. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about how I can improve my summer program. How I will do that has not yet been decided.”

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Toon Aerts in the Heylen Vastgoed Heistse Pijl

According to Iserbyt, the fact that Van Aert won by almost two minutes last Saturday is not only due to the intrinsic qualities of the Belgian champion. “According to Adrie’s logic, I have indeed only raced twenty hours, but he forgets that I have already made trips to America and the Czech Republic. While Wout was able to train for many hours and prepare optimally, we had to recover from the races and travel in recent weeks. Training as much as he was, was impossible.”

Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal on the road

Jurgen Mettepenningen, Iserbyt’s team manager at Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal, adds. “Toon and Eli went over the limit almost every week to trump each other in the final lap. Then it is logical that you have to lose out against crossers who are fresher. If you make the comparison with Formula 1, Wout is now on the track with a car that already has five horsepower more power and also has new tires because of the freshness. You don’t have to know a lot about motorsport to realise that it is a big advantage.”

The ‘Big Two’ will soon be fighting it out

# Thanks to Het Nieuwsblad and WeilerFlits for the quotes. #

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