📸 Bizarre! Mathieu 'Big Dog' van der Poel back to cycling and serious run in first 24 hours after Tour of Flanders victory Cycling Videos
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📸 Bizarre! Mathieu 'Big Dog' van der Poel back to cycling and serious run in first 24 hours after Tour of Flanders victory

📸 Bizarre! Mathieu 'Big Dog' van der Poel back to cycling and serious run in first 24 hours after Tour of Flanders victory

Less than five hours after his phenomenal victory in the Tour of Flanders, Mathieu van der Poel was already on a flight to his beloved Spain, specifically to the Alicante area. The morning after his win in the Tour, the world champion was already back on his bike, and in the afternoon, he even went for a serious run. All of this alongside his regular (training) companion, Freddy Ovett.

In the press conference following the Tour of Flanders, MVDP was quick to mention that he had to catch his flight to southern Europe shortly thereafter. By Monday, he was already cycling again, naturally accompanied by his good friend Ovett. This meant he had to skip the Alpecin-Deceuninck celebration in the vicinity of Oudenaarde.

Van der Poel in first 24 hours after Ronde van Vlaanderen: cycling AND running with Ovett

On Monday, Van der Poel and Ovett set out together for what is known as a recovery ride. The duo covered some eighty kilometers, with a total of 940 elevation meters. The average speed was just under 32 kilometers per hour. That same day, Ovett shared some footage of Van der Poel in his element on his social media channels.

Read more below the Strava file!

So that was the end of the training on Monday, time for some real rest now, right? Certainly not. In the late afternoon, Van der Poel laced up his running shoes again to go for a serious run with - who else but - Ovett. Around Dénia, the duo completed a run of a little over fourteen kilometers. And they did so in less than an hour! That translates to an average of 4.36 minutes per kilometer. And remember: Van der Poel did all this less than 24 hours after what he called his "toughest Tour of Flanders ever".

"For Van der Poel, Tour of Flanders is day one of training for Paris-Roubaix"

Ex-pro cyclist Stijn Steels doesn't find Van der Poel's quick return to training surprising at all. Writing in his column for the Belgian outlet Het Nieuwsblad, he argues it makes perfect sense. "Shouldn't he rest a few days before Paris-Roubaix? Actually, no. In fact, if cyclists only raced on Sundays and Wednesdays, taking breaks in between, they'd see their fitness levels plummet," the 34-year-old Belgian explains.

Steels dives deeper, bringing up the concept of TSS, or Training Stress Score, to shed light on the matter. "Despite hearing claims of this being the fastest Tour of Flanders ever, that doesn't really speak to its toughness. The real measure is the TSS, reflecting the power a rider puts out during a race or training. It factors in both distance and exertion, capping at maximum 100 points per hour. This year's Tour of Flanders, with over six hours on the clock, likely landed most riders a TSS between 400 and 470. That's the gold standard for cyclists."

Steels sees Van der Poel's decision to keep training as totally rational. "The issue is that the baseline fitness of pros, honed through training camps or shorter tours, is so elevated these days that they must maintain a rigorous training schedule even during the spring classics. That's why a grueling race day like the Tour of Flanders is now seen as day one of training for the next big target – for Van der Poel, that means Paris-Roubaix."

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