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Van Aert and the majority of the Jumbo-Visma Tour de France team is currently hunkered down atop Sierra Nevada honing form for a tune-up ride through the Critérium du Dauphiné. Climbing drills aren’t on Van Aert’s training plan.
“My goal in the Tour is the green jersey, so I’m not specifically working on climbing,” Van Aert told HLN this week.
Van Aert will form part of a three-prong captaincy for Jumbo-Visma’s “Tour eight” this July. Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard will be back at the center of Jumbo-Visma’s push to defeat Tadej Pogačar and win the maillot jaune.
“We certainly have a chance, so we are going for yellow and green,” Van Aert confirmed.
Van Aert has been at the heart of Jumbo-Visma’s climbing core in recent Tours de France. He drove the team mountain train in 2020 and ripped up the script with victory on Ventoux last year.
“Before, I rode for the team, and I could now and then choose a stage to go for my own success. Now the focus is more on the green jersey, which I will have to work on every day. I’m going to have to take points in the intermediate sprints, that’s new,” Van Aert said. “That means I will need my rest in the mountains every now and then – relative rest.”
Tour de France-shortlisters Sepp Kuss, Rohan Dennis and Steven Kruijswijk will have to fill the gap left by Van Aert when the road points uphill later this summer.
Van Aert, Roglič and Co. will smooth out the Tour de France wrinkles at the Dauphiné next month while archrival Pogačar is expected to be headed to the Tour of Slovenia.
“We are going [to the Dauphiné] with most of the Tour team, so it will be useful to see how smoothly the cooperation is going and to take one last step towards the Tour,” Van Aert said.
“It’s an important race. It’s been a while since I’ve ridden the Dauphiné, and there are some tricky stages in between where there will probably be a sprint. I’m looking forward to gaining confidence in that and hopefully getting a result.”
Van Aert also suggested another tilt at the worlds time trial is unlikely this season.
After finishing on the TT podium twice in the past two years, Van Aert will go full-focus for a Wollongong road race so well suited to his finishing speed.