Threadjack! As you can see from below, Mathieu van der Poel was rather decisively voted by you guys as the person we will be talking about the most in 2030 when we look back on the newly-minted 2020s decade. He took down Remco Evenepoel, and we may have some regrets about this result before long, though I suspect we will have a lot to say about both of them in ten years. Evenepoel is maybe a bit less proven at this point, so did that tip the scales? Or are we all just a bunch of cobbles hounds and can’t stop talking about the Tour of Flanders? [A single tear just rolled down my cheek as I typed this.] Anyway, chapeau MvdP, and keep making us proud. Thanks all for playing along!
No more talk, no more posing, no more trick questions. Just a Flemish dream against a Dutch dominator. May the best -Poel win!
[If you’re wondering what this is, check out the opening post.]
#2 Mathieu van der Poel vs. #4 Remco Evenepoel
Last Round Recap: Mathieu van der Poel ushered Tadej Pogacar out of the competition with a win reminiscent of a cross race where he accelerates in the third lap and is never seen again. Evenepoel upset top-seeded Egan Bernal... and this is interesting, to say the least. First, it was reasonably close so it’s not like we don’t think Bernal has a future. Also the voting was 55-45%, which might only reflect the corresponding bias at the Cafe for the classics and Belgianness — although Evenepoel isn’t a classics guy per se.
Still, if I can try to read the minds of voters, may I suggest that this had something to do with Bernal having already shown us what he can do, while Evenepoel’s record so far can be read as a mere hint at his full potential? How true this notion ends up being is anyone’s guess. Bernal is so young and apparently dedicated that he might take over the Tour for a while. He might expand his repertoire to other races, if Ineos let him off the leash. But one guy has already reached his mountaintop, and it’s just more fun to imagine what the younger, stupendously talented Evenepoel will do.
Or maybe we are just sick of Skineos.
Finals Preview: Like I was saying, dreaming on Evenepoel’s potential is pretty much the national pastime of Belgium, and all he did was drive the hype to unfathomable levels in his brief appearance in the Show last year. It seems like two opposites, given that van der Poel turned 25 yesterday and Evenepoel is still a teenager until Saturday. But in his own way, van der Poel has just teased us with his potential, dominating cyclocross like we’ve rarely ever seen, and keeps interrupting his progression into a road racing star with mountain biking. As a debutante, van der Poel won Dwars door Vlaanderen, GP Denain, Brabantse Pijl and most famously Amstel Gold, while flirting with a Ronde win. As the decade dawns, we are still dreaming on him maybe ripping off a Flanders-Roubaix record for the ages, and as strong as he is, it may be his mental strength that is most impressive of all.
Can that get it done? I... don’t know. Evenepoel as a junior, one year ago, was pretty much like van der Poel’s latest ‘Cross campaign. He won everything. On the senior circuit (because some people don’t do U23) he made an immediate impact, and if you’re looking for hints about what sort of rider he will be, it would be second place at the Worlds time trial, plus a couple other conspicuous crono efforts (European championship, etc.) that will make him exceptionally hard to deal with in stage races. And in the one-day races, I mean, he did one classic, San Sebastian, and won alone. OK, then he went to Canada and was an also-ran, but his point was made.
OK, enough from me. Time to vote.
Mathieu van der Poel or Remco Evenepoel?
This poll is closed
Mathieu van der Poel