"If you ask me, Wout van Aert belongs in the Tour de France” - Visma DS delighted by Belgian's progress in return at Tour of Norway

After nearly two months out following a nasty crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen, Wout van Aert returned to racing at the Tour of Norway last week. Although he wasn't able to take a win, Team Visma | Lease a Bike are delighted with his progress.

“In all other circumstances, the Tour of Norway was tailor-made for Wout. This time we knew that it would be difficult to compete for victory," Team Visma | Lease a Bike's sports director, Arthur van Dongen reflected in a post-race conversation with Het Laatste Nieuws, impressed by the Belgian's progress throughout the week as van Aert finished 4th and 3rd on the final two stages after a quiet opening two days.

“Wout is used to suffering in the race, but not for fortieth place. That's how it was the first few days," van Dongen continues his reflection. "And then he participates twice in the sprint. You can say he is on schedule. We flew in an osteopath for Wout. He has been treated well every day. He had some trouble every day, but we kept that under control.”

Given his improvement in the last couple of stages, getting right in the mix in the bunch sprints, the big question now is, will van Aert be fit enough and in good enough shape to make an appearance at the Tour de France next month? Team Visma | Lease a Bike team boss Richard Plugge recently said he was keeping a close eye on both van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard who was also involved in a crash, the signs were overwhelmingly positive for van Aert in Norway.

“Everything is still open. An altitude training camp, another stage race, everyone can fill in the scenarios themselves. We can't say anything because we don't know yet. We will do the evaluation during the week," van Dongen says on the situation. "I'm not saying that the Tour is not feasible, or that the Tour will be cancelled. It's too early to say anything about that now. But it will become clear soon. If you ask me, Wout van Aert belongs in the Tour.”

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