The DERP Report 3 | Brico Cross Maldegem

Post Worlds, Mathieu’s Still the Snelste

Traditionally, the cyclocross races after World’s have been slightly “slower” affairs. Less snel as the Flemish would say. These races, like Maldegem, are a chance for the not-Mathieus and not-Wouts to shine, maybe get those coveted wins, as the season winds down.

All photos © 2019 Tomás Montes. Give him a follow at @arrieredupeloton.

© 2019 Tomás Montes

No one told the new World Champ, Van Der Poel, who reclaimed his crown after three frustrating years. The Dutchman donned the rainbow jersey, drifted, smashed and sprung his way to a convincing victory. Well, at least he waited more than half the race to launch his winning attack. I guess those post World’s races aren’t as snel…

Slippity Do Derp

Maldegem was a downright fun course. It ripped through sand pits and flowed through the woods. Even in the rain, the course had some pretty stellar grip, until it didn’t. While ruts proliferated through most of the track, grease over hard pack lurked on some flat corners.

© 2019 Tomás Montes

Toon lost it on sweeper that looked innocuous enough on television–however, having crashed there myself, the lack of ruts made for a tricky turn. And poor Lars Van Der Haar, the Jack Russell poised to pounce his way onto the podium, ate it in the last corner. The inside race line was good, but he was pushed outside into untrodden territory. A touch of wheels, left Van Der Haar sitting on pavers, dejectedly watching his podium sprint up the road…

That Whoop-Dee WTF Line

During warm ups, I snuck a lap behind Toon and Thijs Aerts. If given the chance, I highly recommend it. It’s the best way to suss out the fast lanes, the passing lanes, and the definitely don’t-take-that lanes. It also reveals the sneaky lines, like the one alongside the whoop-dee-doos.

© 2019 Tomás Montes

What looked like a flat, cheater line on TV, was actually a delicate balance between undulating off camber and metal fencing. Was it faster? For pack fodder like me, just a touch. Did it save energy? Sure was better than pumping the legs through head-high rollers. Did I take it? Sure did–need all the help I can get. Was it Kosher? If they move the barriers closer next year, we’ll have a definitive answer to that one…

Tot Ziens, Wout

The Belgian press made quite the hullabaloo over Wout, with Het Niewsblad running an article roughly translated to tune of “Van Aert ends worst cyclocross season ever with eighth place at Maldegem.”

© 2019 Tomás Montes

Sure, Maldegem was an anticlimactic send-off for the three time world champ, but eighth place meant he was not beholden to the UCI’s Podium Clock of Passive Aggressiveness, and the extended cool down at Maldegem will hopefully pay dividends when the Belgian hardman looks to blossom during his full Spring Classics campaign with Jumbo-Visma in a few weeks time…

© 2019 Tomás Montes
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