Is the era of multidisciplinary cycling stars over?

Road 05/12/23 16:02 Migue A.

Over the past few years, cyclists like Van der Poel, Pidcock, Van Aert, or Ganna have allowed us to enjoy their performances not only on the road bike but also as top-level competitors in cyclocross, mountain biking, or track. However, appearances in these disciplines are increasingly measured to prioritize the road season.

The demands of the road cyling put a stop to multi-disciplinary riders

We are in the month of December, with the cyclocross season well underway and, however, the three stars: Pidcock, Van der Poel, and Van Aert have not yet been seen on the circuits when not long ago, especially the duels between Van der Poel and Van Aert were the spice of this competition. In fact, the three will barely coincide in a handful of races and only Mathieu will take part in the World Championship, trying to achieve his sixth title.

The demands of his road teams to shine on the asphalt are causing his cyclocross seasons to be increasingly reduced, barely testimonial, even Van der Poel himself has come to consider a winter without races on the mud, in addition to optimal preparation, to take care of his damaged back that every now and then causes him problems.

Tom Pidcock also ended his cyclo-cross season before the World Cup last year. After becoming World Champion in 2022, he arrived at the classics without adequate preparation, something that was dragging along a season in which he barely shone at very specific moments. This year, however, the priority will not be the road and he has been given the freedom to look for a calendar that will allow him to arrive in perfect conditions to revalidate his Olympic XCO gold medal at the next Olympic Games in Paris.

For his part, Wout van Aert is the one who has best combined cyclocross and road, in the latter not only for his own shine but also being one of the bastions of Jumbo-Visma in recent seasons. However, this level of demand has caused his results to suffer throughout this last season in which, despite always being in leading positions, he has barely managed to finish having collected an unusual number of second places.

In his mind for 2024, the only thing is to get rid of the long-standing thorn of not having one of the cobblestone monuments yet in his possession. In fact, despite his great quality and extensive record, only the Milan-San Remo appears in this category of top-level races. Objectives that do not involve dedicating training time to perform in cyclocross, so his season also focuses this year in December and January, just over a month, to make good money given the cache of these riders in this discipline but without it being a detriment to their sports planning.

On the other hand, we have the track cyclists who have traditionally combined both disciplines without this being a detriment although, it is also true, the demands on men like Ganna are much less than those that the aforementioned may have and the similarities in preparation to perform in time trial on the road and in the pursuit discipline on the track are very similar.

We have been able to enjoy these great cyclists for many years beyond the road but everything indicates that we will see fewer performances from them outside of thin wheels. After all, those who pay them are their road teams and it is on the asphalt where they get their advertising returns from their victories.



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La période des étoiles multidisciplinaires est-elle terminée?