Mathieu van der Poel clinched his second win of the season at the Denain Grand Prix on Sunday. Honor that deserves credit, his teammates also had a considerable stake. Then we interviewed team manager Christoph Roodhooft about the strength of Corendon-Circus. "Denain is not the Tour of Flanders. We are so realistic. "
Christoph Roodhooft does not mind that much. In recent weeks, Mathieu van der Poel's team manager and team leader has been moderately enthusiastic about his riders' performance. "I found myself very cautious, very defensive," he says. WielerFits. "We sat around the table on Saturday to do things differently. Specifically: take the course from the beginning. Join the escapes so they can contribute to what comes back later in the game. To Van der Poel and Devolder, in other words. Stijn was also close to profiting here last year, so he gained that confidence. "
It must be that they listen to the bosses at Corendon-Circus, because at GP Denain both Jimmy Janssens and Lasse Norman Hansen were in the main group. It was also worth it: on one of the many cobblestone lanes, Van der Poel – along with Alex Kirsch – made the crossing, in which Janssens and Hansen expelled the soul from his body to guide his leader in the ideal position for the final. Read: Keep the platoon wiped out at bay as long as possible.
"That does not always work," Roodhooft realizes. "They also did a great job at the Bredene Koksijde Classic on Friday, but that did not work. But I want in competitions of this caliber to break from our own strength and set the course for ourselves. And I also know that we can not apply this tactic to Ghent-Wevelgem or the Tour of Flanders, but in races like Le Samyn or the Denain GP I demand of our riders. We provide the team management with all the resources they need to do their job properly, so we can also ask them to do their best. "
It was clear on Sunday that teammates like to run Van der Poel with pleasure. "Mathieu is also a grateful leader," adds performance manager Kristof De Kegel. "Who would not want to do it for him? Like today, when he leaves, he is rarely taken back. "
Corendon-Circus started in northern France on Sunday with Van der Poel, Devolder, Janssens and Hansen. The other three were Gianni Vermeersch, Philipp Walsleben and Maarten van Trijp. "But for the classics, Dries De Bondt and Otto Vergaerde are also added," says Roodhooft. "Unfortunately, Jonas is Rickaert out with an injury, but Dries and Otto have yet to reinforce that. Once again, we also know that Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders are not comparable to this. That is why we remain realistic in our goals, but they are no longer taking it from us. And we hope to get something out of it this spring. So I dare to think aloud about the Brabant Arrow, as I said before, maybe the course that Mathieu should be the best. "
Roodhooft emphasizes that there is still much work being done on the team. "This is all new. For all, by the way. And it is a multiannual plan. I see this as an enigma that has to be put piece by piece. Kristof (De Kegel, ed.) I have ideas, I have proposals, the pilots know each other better … That way, we build something beautiful. For example, in the last four days we did a mini-internship in the Flemish Ardennes. It helps. I see more and more a close group of friends and this is also the only way to ensure that the course progresses to one another. We hope to reap the benefits little by little. "