"I still sometimes have some back pain" - Wout van Aert trains without limitations but faces small health problem

Wout van Aert has trained for the Tour de France after a big change of plans in his season and today he will try to get back the Belgian national champion's jersey. He talked to reporters ahead of the race, providing some insight into his form and health into the Tour.

“My restart in the Tour of Norway was fun, but racing in Belgium is always something else. In the meantime, I have also been able to work on my condition a bit, so I am very happy to be at the start here," van Aert said in an interview with Wielerflits this morning at the start of the Belgian national championships.

“I feel good and my condition is a lot better. I can train without limits. That is very nice, although I still sometimes have some back pain," he admits. "That has been simmering for a long time and we are working on it every day to get some of the tension out of the muscles. That is annoying, but I can't complain. I can just train and have been able to take a nice step forward.”

After suffering a fractured sternum, collarbone and ribs in the Dwars door Vlaanderen crash three months ago, it's not unexpected for the all-rounder to have minor health issues still relatively unresolved. Form wise however, he has taken a step up since the Tour of Norway last month where he returned to competition.

“At some point I indicated that I would rather be there than not, in whatever role," he said of the Grand Boucle. "If I feel good, I will get opportunities from the team and seize them. Otherwise I will play an important role in the team game, where I hope to improve during the Tour.”

Today at the national championships in Zottegem Van Aert will have a key test for his form, but it will be a difficult race to win he admits it himself: "It is important to stay calm. It is a race where you know that you cannot control everything."

"We are sometimes dependent on the tactics of other teams. We hope to reach the final and then we have four strong riders to play with. I will definitely sprint. It is a beautiful jersey and an important race. If I am there, I will definitely take my chance.”

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