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Mathieu Van der Poel OTB at the Olympics

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7/26/2021 8:05 PM

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Mathieu van der Poel crashed and went over the bars on the Sakura Drop (about a 5ft drop to a downslope) at the Olympics yesterday. The link below has his version of the story:

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/olympics/mathieu-van-der-poel-crash-cycling-tokyo-b1890370.html

I've seen various posts and comments on other mtb sites and on social media that what happened to MVdP should be blamed on the organizers, commissaires, UCI, his coach, teammates, and everyone else except MVdP.

Here are a few key facts:

• The ramp was placed during practice sessions for safety reasons so that a rider who made a mistake during practice could still make it to the race.
• There were 2 communiques sent to each team informing them that the ramp would be removed during the race. Each communique was given both as a paper copy and sent over email to team managers.
• This was mentioned during the team managers' meeting the day before the Men Elite race.
• The slides shown during the meeting was also sent as a pdf to the inboxes of every listed team manager.
• The organizers and the commissaires did the exact same procedures above at the test event 2 years ago (which he missed because he chose a road race in Belgium instead).
• In other news reports, his coach and his teammate (M. Vader), both claim that they spoke multiple times to MVdP and mentioned the ramp would be removed.
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7/26/2021 8:53 PM

IMHO, the fact that no other riders made this mistake sure makes it seem like MVdP's fault. Disappointing, though. I wanted to see him battle Pidcock for the victory.

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7/26/2021 10:30 PM

Update: it's been raining overnight and early in the morning at the Izu race course in Shizuoka, Japan. At about noon Japan time, he Technical Delegate has decided to put the ramp back on the Sakura Drop as the landing is slippery. Some A-lines in the rock gardens have also been closed due to the slippery conditions.

Women Elite race is about to start.

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7/26/2021 10:31 PM

anotherbikerguy wrote:

IMHO, the fact that no other riders made this mistake sure makes it seem like MVdP's fault. Disappointing, though. I wanted to ...more

Pidcock was right behind him when he crashed, too.

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7/27/2021 4:52 AM

anotherbikerguy wrote:

IMHO, the fact that no other riders made this mistake sure makes it seem like MVdP's fault. Disappointing, though. I wanted to ...more

I agree, it seems to be MVdP's mistake. It was an understandable mistake - all the confusion, strangeness, and pressure of the Olympics, a million things on his mind, (and typically features are not changed between practice and race... that's the point of practice, right?... but of course the Olympics are not typical) - but his mistake nonetheless.

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7/27/2021 6:32 AM

What I don't get is why not just send the thing, ramp or not? I've heard people saying rolling it was potentially faster cause you can pump it, other people saying maybe it was to preserve strength, and other people saying it was to possibly preserve the bike. I feel like checking up and pushing into the back side is definitely going to be slower and more to think about every lap then doing the drop. Odd choice, to me.

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7/27/2021 7:29 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/27/2021 7:31 AM

Can you not put the winners in the damn titles!? So ridiculous. I don't need to know about the womens winner on the homepage in a forum about VDP crash.

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7/27/2021 7:41 AM

Agree with jasbushey, why the hell would you put the women's winner in the title????

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7/27/2021 8:38 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/27/2021 8:40 AM

LOL. turning on the internet this morn yielded 500 different references to the women's winner. i have since edited out her name as to not cause anyone more heartache. since the women had the bridge in their race, it seemed noteworthy and there are women looking at it in the thumbnail.

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7/27/2021 9:54 AM

So many dumb takes yesterday on social media about "roadies who can't ride REAL mtb" and the like. Clearly he just made a mistake, it happens...even to the best.

I think it would be really rad if more towns and cities invested in awesome, dedicated XCO courses like this. I feel like we've seen a lot build pumptracks and mini bike parks at trailheads, so this seems like the next evolution of that. It would sure help XC become popular in the US again. While I enjoy the big, backcountry XC racing that's been the preferred flavor for last decade, it's sure not very spectator or sponsor friendly -- plus there's never any jumps or drops! Even this year at US XC National Champs, the one "tech" section was literally a few rocks in the trail.

Let's take the "bike park" out of domestic enduro and put it into XC, please. smile

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MRP - VP of Business Dev.

7/27/2021 10:18 AM

sspomer wrote:

LOL. turning on the internet this morn yielded 500 different references to the women's winner. i have since edited out her ...more

Don't feel bad. I Google'd this morning at 6am "Women's Olympic Mountain biking schedule" to find the time of the broadcast, and BAM! embedded by google within the search results was a little graphic showing the medals and recipients. Spoiled...

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7/27/2021 10:23 AM

Van der Poel should listen to his coach and team mates in the future. For now, just eat some humble pie.

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Beer, Plants, Bikes, Family

7/27/2021 11:36 AM

Watched Neff in the womens race take this drop similar to MVdP, however she was able to recover and ride it out...

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7/27/2021 12:09 PM

Take yer lumps dude. I can't imagine how crushing it is to crash out on the first lap of an olympic race BUT it's his fault. Also Neff muscled it out so maybe its time to do some push ups?

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7/27/2021 12:52 PM

StudBeefpile wrote:

Take yer lumps dude. I can't imagine how crushing it is to crash out on the first lap of an olympic race BUT it's his fault. ...more

To be fair; Neff knew she was hitting the drop and at the wrong speed. MVdP looked like he was pushing down into the non-existent ramp. But as the only guy not sending the drop, totally his fault.

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7/27/2021 1:28 PM

NoahColorado wrote:

So many dumb takes yesterday on social media about "roadies who can't ride REAL mtb" and the like. Clearly he just made a ...more

Anyone that thinks MVP can't ride a mountain bike is an idiot, plenty of footage of him shredding XC bikes on rough terrain. Sucks what happened, and can understand his reaction in the aftermath of the race. Give it time he will probably own it.

More embarrassing is the Dutch women's team and the whole organization's reaction to the road race where they got embarrassed. Whining about lack of radios/info because they can't count breakaway riders out/in. Not even congratulating the winner who was standing beside them, pathetic.

Jolanda killed it though! Huge save on the drop and then passing PFP on the uphill rocks. Shredder!

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7/27/2021 2:52 PM

Drunknride wrote:

To be fair; Neff knew she was hitting the drop and at the wrong speed. MVdP looked like he was pushing down into the ...more

Yeah he totally was planning on rolling it. I guess my point is, it was broadcast all over the place that the ramp was going to be removed. He messed up and that really sucks but it's also his fault.

Honestly I feel that ramp is more of a hazard there then not. Having someone brake check right before it like what happened in the woman's race is way more sketchy then everyone just committing to it.

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7/27/2021 3:00 PM

There is a bit of a personality trait at play here, and it's quite common in elite athletes when shit goes wrong.

It's called a "external locus of control"

in short, they can't grasp the idea that when something doesn't go to plan that it is a failure of their own/process. The athlete will deflect or blame anything and everything but themselves refusing to acknowledge they f&*(ked up.

This is a bit of a broad generalization, but something worth mentioning. Hopefully he can learn from it and use it to fuel the fire inside to kick ass in the future.

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7/27/2021 5:01 PM

I personally think there shouldn't have been the ramp at all. There's a b-line, and an a-line.
Why have a practice a-line different to the race?
Imagine if uci dh had ramps on stepdowns for practice days?

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7/27/2021 5:45 PM

Nzdinosaur wrote:

I personally think there shouldn't have been the ramp at all. There's a b-line, and an a-line.
Why have a practice a-line ...more

IIRC, a couple of team managers requested it at the test event. It could be that those same teams were also at the Olympics. I know for certain that most of the members of the Commissaire Panel were the same for both events.

As early as the first ever track walk back in 2019, it was already evident that the course was much more technical than expected. The initial practice sessions were brutal, a couple of riders started wearing knee and elbow pads because so many were getting hurt.

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7/28/2021 4:57 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/28/2021 4:59 AM

Why were the people planning on pumping the ramp not pre-jumping into it, surely that would be the fastest option?

Brake checking into a ramp you intend to pump for speed makes no sense to me?

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7/28/2021 6:28 AM

Sonofbovril2 wrote:

Why were the people planning on pumping the ramp not pre-jumping into it, surely that would be the fastest option?

Brake ...more

I'm guessing because it's not about hitting the feature fastest but about finishing the race fastest, and that moment on the ramp doesn't lose much time and is easier on the muscles than the impact from the drop, and that adds up lap after lap... that's energy that can be used on the climbs. I think we can agree that MVdP has successful strategies for winning races... you know, assuming he can remember the details of the track.

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7/28/2021 6:35 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/28/2021 6:36 AM

Sonofbovril2 wrote:

Why were the people planning on pumping the ramp not pre-jumping into it, surely that would be the fastest option?

Brake ...more

dd wrote:

I'm guessing because it's not about hitting the feature fastest but about finishing the race fastest, and that moment on the ...more

I wasn't talking about MVDP specifically, in his case, pre-jumping into it would have made things worse wink, was referring more to PFP and others, but you make sense in terms of preserving energy etc. unless it was a last lap dash against a rival.

Ps. you also may have missed that I said pre-jumping and not just jumping...

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7/28/2021 6:37 AM

Through all of this I'm left wondering why their was a course change between final practice and the race. Sure, they told the athletes the bridge would be removed but why not let them have a practice lap without the bridge? And it isn't a big 'course change' or re-routing but it's still different to what they practiced on. In the heat of the race you may be riding more on adrenaline than actual brain power and just forget that the bridge wouldn't be there. It looks steep enough that it would have been easy to miss until you were almost on it.
I didn't watch the livestream and don't know what the course was like just before the drop, but I could imagine that during an hour-plus long race sending it off of a drop seven times would take up more energy (and higher potential for flatting a tire) than just rolling the same feature. If rolling the bridge vs sending it was a similar time or even a bit slower it still would have been more consistent in the long run.
MvdP's crash and Neff's save were not the same. MvdP came into the drop thinking there would be a bridge, so he probably didn't try and pull up at all. Neff came into it and had to abort out of the side where there never was a bridge so she knew she had to pull up and huck to flat. It was impressive on Neff's part, unfortunate on MvdP's part.

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7/28/2021 3:09 PM

I can see the bridge being there as a safety net for practice. That way if they came in slow during practice jts not race over. If you know it's going to be gone you ignore it during practice and it's only there if something goes wrong and you need help.

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7/28/2021 7:48 PM

sspomer wrote:

LOL. turning on the internet this morn yielded 500 different references to the women's winner. i have since edited out her ...more

I just reset my password after reading the race rumors/ PB-is-dead thread.
This is why I stopped checking in to Vital in the first place, just FYI.

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7/28/2021 7:51 PM

Also, I read somewhere (not PB, I think) that that it was in fact removed for the final laps of practice.

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