Wout van Aert has ended his cyclocross season and almost immediately travelled to Tenerife. He was quickly down with illness that threatened to delay the start of his season, but his coach has downplayed the sensations.
"What was going on? I can't explain that exactly, because I'm here in Brussels and Wout is in Tenerife', team coach Jan Boven told In de Leiderstrui. "He trained reasonably well during the first two days of the altitude training, then he didn't feel completely fit for two days and now he has finally picked up the training again."
SPRING - Click here to create your own team for the Fantasy Spring Classics Men. 1st prize is $1,600/€1,500/£1,330!!
Wout van Aert "can win twenty cyclocross races, nobody cares. He has to win classics" - Tom Boonen
The Jumbo-Visma rider has joined his teammates at altitude at Mount Teide, where over the last few weeks snow has been quite frequent. Although winter in central Europe has not provided spring temperatures the change has done some effect, with van Aert missing some days of training. However Boven plays it off.
“I think everyone gets sick sometimes. Now it is magnified. If he had just been home, it wouldn't have been noticed," he states. "It is of course not ideal. But Wout still had some leeway, it was already foreseen that his first week in Tenerife would not be very intensive. So he is not quite on schedule, but he is also not very far behind schedule. He will just follow his match schedule, as it was planned."
Tom Boonen on Wout van Aert: "When he races with Van der Poel, something seems to happen to him"
The season debut for van Aert will be at Strade Bianche, as well as Mathieu van der Poel's. The Dutch team has started the season with a clear strategy of keeping it's leaders training until late in February and only then begin competition. Jonas Vingegaard starts his campaign at Gran Camino this week and Primoz Roglic will only race for the first time at the Volta a Catalunya.
Finally, Boven has commented on van Aert's spirits following the defeat in the cyclocross worlds: "It's true what he said, that a rainbow jersey would add nothing to his palmares. But that doesn't alter the fact that he would have loved to become champion."