Van Aert plans to race ‘cross world championships in build to classics

Van Aert optimistic about return to form after five months out of racing, plans further 'cross races to sharpen legs for spring classics.

Photo: Getty Images

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Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) plans to keep racing ‘cross through til mid-February as he looks to sharpen his race legs for the spring classics.

Van Aert spoke in an interview on his team’s website indicating his plan to race the cyclocross world championships in Switzerland, February 2, and close his ‘cross season the weekend after, at Superprestige Merksplas.

“I think the world championships selection will be fine,” said the Belgian. “In principle I go with me to Switzerland and that is something I certainly didn’t think about a while ago. This is a nice boost and hopefully I can still go on raising my form until then.”

Van Aert has won the cyclocross world championships three times, though last year the title was taken by Dutch superstar Mathieu van der Poel.

Van Aert sat out the back-half of 2019 as he recovered from the deep gash in his leg sustained when crashing at the Tour de France time trial in July.

He made a comeback to racing in late December last year at the Azencross in Louenhout, and has raced two times since. The trio of races has seen van Aert place fifth, fourth and fifth – indicating he is well on the road to recovery.

“I am starting to get the feeling that I am almost in it and that things are starting to get better,” he said.

When van Aert closes up his cyclocross season he will turn his attention to the spring classics on the road, with Paris-Roubaix a major objective. Later in the year, he will ride in support of Jumbo-Visma leaders Tom Dumoulin, Steven Kruijsiwjk, and Primoz Roglic at the Tour de France.

“We notice that in the cross I miss certain hardness that I also need in the classics,” said van Aert. “So in that sense, the [cyclocross] races are good training.”

Van Aert will next be in action at Kasteelcross Zonnebeke, January 25.

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