Wout van Aert is set to lead the Jumbo-Visma general classification challenge at the 2024 Giro d'Italia it is believed. Someone with a similar career path also keen to develop into a GC rider is Tom Pidcock and the INEOS Grenadiers man's coach Kurt Bogaerts, has shared his thoughts on van Aert's Maglia Rosa dream.
“We’ve seen with Van Aert that he can have some really good climbing days in the Tour de France,” Bogaerts recently discussed in conversation with GCN. “Next year at the Giro d’Italia it’s 10,000m less in altitude than this year, so that’s beneficial but there are still some really hard stages, like the Stelvio, and some really critical days where he’ll need to be at the top of his game.”
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The fact that van Aert is one of the most well-rounded riders of the modern generation may go against him in this situation. Competing in cyclocross this winter, albeit with a reduced calendar and expectedly mounting a challenge in the Spring Classics, van Aert may not be in peak condition ready for a three-week-long general classification challenge.
“It’s an interesting one to follow – if he does the Classics campaign, and if he can make the transition in the weeks after Paris-Roubaix in order to be a top climber. That’s what he’ll need to be to win this race,” Bogaerts comments. “There are a good amount of TT kilometres in the Giro but there are stages in the mountains that go over 2,000m, where the lightweights have an advantage."
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"He could be an exception to the rule and we saw two years ago that he could drop Pogačar when he started riding for his leader, and he still finished third that day. Wout has these extremely good days in the mountains sometimes. I don’t know enough about his real data and if he can repeat it all for 21 days but it’s an interesting one to follow – to do the juncture from the Classics to the Giro," he concludes.
“It could be a case of which basket he puts his eggs in. Sometimes riders like to do a different programme, and sometimes they like to do something new in order to keep them on the top of their game and excited.”