How does Wout van Aert unwind from the classics? Go bikepacking.

The Belgian superstar is hitting the backroads of rural Belgian in 'Hunt for Champagne' bikepacking trip with friends.

Photo: Getty Images

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

How is Wout van Aert unwinding from the busy classics season?

Bikepacking, of course.

The Belgian superstar just can’t stay away too long from the bike.

Barely a week after the bitter disappointment of puncturing late in Paris-Roubaix and missing the final podium, the Jumbo-Visma superstar is blowing out the cobwebs with a few days of off-road adventures.

According to posts on his Strava account and photos he’s been uploading, he and some friends have been traversing some backroads across eastern and southern Belgium, and dipped into France’s champagne region.

Riding a fully loaded gravel bike with travel bags, the WorldTour superstar is putting in some miles as well.

Under the title of “La chasse au Champagne” (The Hunt for Champagne), Van Aert and his cohorts rode 169.3km on Tuesday in little more than seven hours, with 1700m of elevation.

They left his hometown of Herentals and made deep into the Ardennes region south of Liège to Durbuy, where he sampled a local Orval beer. No, there won’t a surprise start at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.

The troupe continued south and crossed into France on Wednesday, riding another 156km in seven and a half hours, with 2686m of elevation.

They can’t be far from champagne by now.

Van Aert still might see some beach time before hitting altitude ahead of an expected start at the Tour de Suisse and a return to the Tour de France alongside defending champion Jonas Vingegaard.

Belgian media also reported that Van Aert and his wife, Sarah De Bie, are also expecting a second child within the next few months. The couple has a son named Georges, aged 2.

Trending on Velo

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.