Nathan van Hooydonck on van Aert: "I think Wout does want to go to the Tour, but I wonder if it's the right choice"

Up until last year, Nathan van Hooydonck was Wout van Aert's right-hand men, and they also worked towards Team Visma | Lease a Bike's extensive success at the Tour de France. The Dutch team faced plenty problems this year with injuries, but van Hooydonck believes this will ultimately lead van Aert to the Tour de France.

"I've definitely spoken to them. They're doing okay. Wout has just arrived in Tignes, where Jonas is too. They're taking it day by day," van Hooydonck shared with the Rode Lantaarn podcast. "I haven't spoken to Wout since the Tour of Norway, but he might still be feeling some effects. They're going to take it day by day and then make the right choice. Even though they are the highest-paid riders on the team and you expect them to perform, it's still better to use them optimally rather than half-heartedly. I think Wout does want to go to the Tour, but I wonder if it's the right choice. Because, of course, he had planned his schedule around the Olympics."

At the time being, it is very likely that the Belgian is gearing up towards the Tour. Initially, his plan was to fully focus on the cobbled classics, rest and train in altitude ahead of the Giro d'Italia. He would then have another build-up period specifically for the Olympic Games, not made up of the Tour de France but instead some smaller races and altitude training. But his crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen threw a wrench into all of this.

Currently, van Aert has travelled to Tignes, French Alps, where he is training together with Jonas Vingegaard and Christophe Laporte who are also expected to race the Tour. Last year, van Aert was angered by missing out on a stage win, and also left the race early for the birth of his son - and preparation towards the World Championships.

Van Hooydonck believes van Aert will return to France, as he recovers from his injuries together with the Dane. "But that's also how Wout is: he's a really loyal friend to Jonas. If he feels that Jonas needs him, then he'll be there."

"Although I think it can go hand in hand. It will also depend on whether and how Jonas goes to the Tour. If Jonas is in last year's condition, then it's hard for him to ride the Tour with the brakes on."

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