"My injuries didn't bother me on the bike" - Positive signs for Wout van Aert on return to action at Tour of Norway

After his spring-ending disaster crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen on the 27th of March, Wout van Aert was back in the peloton for the first time on Thursday afternoon at the Tour of Norway.

Pre-stage the Belgian was keen to stress that he wouldn't be in the fight for the stage win and that was hold things transpired on the road as well. "It went pretty well today. It was a controlled race. So that was welcome for me," reflected the Team Visma | Lease a Bike star, who eventually crossed the line in 60th place, 2:52 down on stage winner Thibau Nys, in his post-stage interview with HLN.

"The final was quite hectic. I don't think we were really well together, but I wanted to at least take them into that last steep kilometre and a half. But at two kilometres I rode against the rider in front of me and then I lost my momentum a bit," van Aert recalls. "From the start of the final climb, it was definitely racing against the limit. I felt good in my lungs that it had been a long time since I had to go so deep. My injuries didn't bother me on the bike. That was fortunate."

With an even tougher stage awaiting the riders on Friday, van Aert's recovery continues without any expectations. "I hope I get better in the coming days," he concludes with optimism. "On the bike, I didn't suffer. I hope I can recover well. Tomorrow will be even tougher with a real uphill finish. So it will definitely do its job here."

The best finisher on the day for Team Visma | Lease a Bike turned out to be Bart Lemmen who crossed the line in fourth position, six seconds down on Nys, keeping himself very much in the fight for the general classification.

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