Last test for Wout van Aert's form ahead of Tour de France at national championships: "I'm feeling better than a month ago, so I hope this form will be enough"

The national championships' main block concludes today and among the big races on the schedule are the elite Belgian road races. In the men's event Team Visma | Lease a Bike are very eager to take the win, and Wout van Aert will see how his form is ahead of the Tour de France.

The Dutch team will start off this morning with four riders in their lineup including van Aert, Tiesj Benoot, Tosh van der Sande and Julien Vermote. The latter two will certainly try to control the hilly race, as teams such as Soudal - Quick-Step and Alpecin-Deceuninck come in with big numbers and may try to use them.

The leading duo, who will be racing the Tour de France which starts next Saturday in Florence, are both big contenders for the gold medal and the prestigious jersey. They will not have to face defending champion Remco Evenepoel who fell ill this week, but the likes of Tim Merlier and Jasper Philipsen (both having over a dozen teammates) will be very tough challengers; of course not discarding teams like Intermarché - Wanty and Lidl-Trek who also have very strong squads packed with classics specialists.

Ahead of the big race, the last the duo will race before the Tour de France, van Aert and Benoot said in words shared by Visma:

Wout van Aert: "This race is always special. I'm feeling better than a month ago, so I hope this form will be enough to compete for the jersey today".

Tiesj Benoot: "I'm looking forward to this championships close to home. We have four motivated riders at the start who want to get the most out of it".

Van Aert is a three-time winner of the time-trial event but has only won the road race once, back in 2021, where he beat Edward Theuns and Remco Evenepoel in the final sprint after a strong attack that managed to elude the sprinters. Perhaps he will try the same strategy today in Zottegem.

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