"Wout knows what he needs to be good" - Sven Nys intrigued by Van Aert's chances at Belgian National Championships

Having won the Belgian tricolor back in 2021, whether or not Wout van Aert will start as one of the favourites for the 2024 edition isn't completely clear. With just four race days in his legs since a nasty spring ending crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen the level of the Belgian superstar isn't fully known.

"Wout van Aert is quietly working hard," previews Belgian cycling legend, Sven Nys in conversation with Sporza and he is correct too. At altitude in Tignes alongside the likes of Team Visma | Lease a Bike teammates Jonas Vingegaard and Christophe Laporte among others, van Aert has been seen working hard in order to best position himself for a spot on the Tour de France lineup.

At the Belgian National Championships, van Aert will up against the likes of reigning champion Remco Evenepoel, 2022 winner Tim Merlier and Alpecin-Deceuninck sprint star Jasper Philipsen among others, in a very competitive field. "We saw van Aert grow every day in the Tour of Norway," Nys recalls, referencing his compatriot's recent racing return. "He could even have won in that last stage if he had had the space to fully develop his sprint."

"Now he has had an additional training at altitude and the hardness in training. Wout knows what he needs to be good," continues Nys, whose own son Thibau Nys has also starred of late and can't be ruled out of tricolor contention. "I think the Belgian Championship will be a final successful test for van Aert. I assume that."

On the defending champion, Nys doesn't believe Evenepoel will be going for the win this time around however. "During the Belgian Championships he will be an important factor in Merlier's team," Nys predicts, favouring the chances of Merlier over Evenepoel. "This will allow Merlier to slide somewhat into the shadows."

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