2019 Mol Podium
Battle of the Brothers
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October/November “Battle of the Brothers”

In September we introduced the monthly “Battle of the Brothers”. We developed a complex algorithm, along with some human judgement and input. The goal is to determine which pair of brothers have the best results each month. At the end of the season we will tally it all up and determine which pair had the best season.

A Few Notes

We have removed the Meeusen’s from our “battle”. Including Tom’s brother Reuben did not work out for a few reasons. The most important reason is that he is a junior. We have decided to make this for Elite Men only.

All of our riders were in action in October, except for Mathieu van der Poel. As a result, we had to tweak the rankings a bit. He started racing in November, so we shouldn’t have any issues from here on out.

Finally, as a reminder, we are following five sets of brothers. Perhaps the most famous are Mathieu and David van der Poel. We are also following Michael and Dieter Vanthourenhout as well as Laurens and Diether Sweeck. The Aerts brothers, Toon and Thijs, are next on our list. Finally, we are including Braam and Tim Merlier. 

October Rankings

The finish place of each rider per race. Zeros mean that the rider did not race or was a DNF.

Note: Mathieu van der Poel did not race in the month of October.

Rider rankings

Below are the individual rider rankings for all of the riders.

RankRiderAverage PlaceNumber of Races
1Toon Aerts47
2Laurens Sweeck55
3Michael Vanthourenhout54
4Thijs Aerts87
5Diether Vanthourenhout86
6Tim Merlier84
7Braam Merlier107
8Diether Sweeck104
9David van der Poel194

Once again, Toon Aerts leads the way in the individual rankings. He tied for the most number of races in October, along with his brother Thijs, and Braam Merlier. Toon had the best average place with fourth place. All in all, it was not the best month for any of the riders.

Brother Rankings

  1. Toon and Thijs Aerts
  2. Michael and Dieter Vanthourenhout
  3. Laurens and Diether Sweeck
  4. Braam and Tim Merlier
  5. Mathieu and David van der Poel*

*ranked at the bottom due to lack of racing

The Aerts brothers take the top step this month. Solid results from both Thijs and Toon, combined with the amount of racing, leads them to have the best combined overall ranking. Last month’s leaders, the Vanthourenhout brothers, drop to second this month. Laurens and Diether Sweeck once again take the third spot. The return of Tim Merlier allows Braam and him to join the rankings.

November Rankings

The finish place of each rider per race. Zeros mean that the rider did not race or was a DNF.

Rider rankings

Below are the individual rider rankings for all of the riders.

RankRiderAverage PlaceNumber of Races
1Mathieu van der Poel19
2Toon Aerts58
3Laurens Sweek68
3Tim Merlier68
4Michael Vanthourenhout78
5Diether Vanthourenhout910
6Diether Sweeck117
7Thijs Aerts127
8David van der Poel157
9Braam Merlier183

After leading the individual rankings for the first two months of the season, Toon Aerts drops to second behind Mathieu van der Poel. Frankly, van der Poel should lead the individual rankings for the rest of the season. However, his brother David is eighth in the individual rankings, meaning their average will be lower.

Laurens Sweeck is once again in the top three. Tim Merlier, who returned to action in October, has quickly come into form and is tied with Laurens. Like Mathieu van der Poel, Tim’s brother Braam had a rough month dropping their average.

Brother Rankings

  1. Mathieu and David van der Poel
  2. Toon and Thijs Aerts
  3. Laurens and Diether Sweeck
  4. Michael and Dieter Vanthourenhout
  5. Braam and Tim Merlier

If you look carefully at the individual standings, you will notice it’s almost a mirror in terms of brothers. With the exception of the Merlier brothers, everyone was a mirror of their brother. For example, Mathieu and David were one and eight. Toon and Thijs were two and seven. The Sweecks were third and sixth. This means that the top four pairs had the same average ranking.

We used the top ranked brother as the tie breaker.

It’s no surprise that the van der Poels are first. They race a lot, and Mathieu heavily weights their ranking. The Aerts brothers are strong and as they continue to mix it up with the others, we should see some changes each month. Finally, as Tim Merlier continues to get stronger, he and Braam should also be a lot closer in the rankings.

Who do you think the strongest pair of brothers are? Are there riders that we are missing? Let us know below!

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