Mathieu van der Poel was crowned the youngest cyclo-cross world champion in 2015. His tires were kept secret at the time, but now they appear to be seriously inflated.
Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert only decided in the week of the World Cup in 2015 to ride with the pros instead of with the promises. They had both just turned 20 and immediately competed for the world title.
The weather was then the topic of discussion for the World Cup. The temperatures fluctuated around freezing point, which meant that the top layer was greasy, but the subsoil was still frozen hard. And then the tires are of course crucial.
No special tires for Van der Poel
Stories appeared in the Dutch press about special ‘glass tapes’ by Mathieu van der Poel. These were Dugast tires fitted with glass grains that were about a millimeter in size. Owner Richard Nieuwenhuis is said to have worked on it secretly for months.
But little of that story seems to be true. This is what former Belgian national coach Rudy De Bie says The newspapaer. “Such a typical World Cup story. Nieuwenhuis was a master at promoting a product. Commercially speaking, that was great. But that was not a miracle product.”
Father Adrie van der Poel confirms that story. “I don’t think Matje even rode them at the time. As far as I remember, they were normal rhinos.” Van der Poel clearly did not need the tires, because he took his first world title with a 15 lead over Van Aert.