Wout van Aert will be riding the men's Elite Road Race as a prime favourite, and has talked further about what he learnt looking back at the 2021 Worlds, his changes in preparation, tactics and main riders he will be taking into consideration in the finale.
"...No, Leuven was not my day. I have certainly learned from it and as a national team we also learn good lessons from this. It is clear that we will now start in Wollongong with two leaders," van Aert said in a long interview with Wielerflits. "That we go into the final with two men and then see whose card we can play best. That is better than sacrificing the chances of a strong rider like Remco before the start.”
Preview: Men's Elite World Championships Road Race. Alaphilippe fights for third world title, up against best in the world
The Wollongong circuit has seen both men's junior and under-23 races won by attacking riders, however the questions over who the race dynamic will favour this Sunday can only be answered in real time. Belgium have a strong team with several cards to play, and featuring his recent string of performances in Canada - fourth at GP de Québec and second at GP de Montréal - he is ready to take another another attempt to win the World title.
Although they are relatively apparent, van Aert has discussed the ideal scenario in which he and Evenepoel can take advantage of each others' presence: "It is clear that Remco should not wait for a sprint. He has to make an attack in the final. I can race more expectantly and possibly gamble on my sprint," the Jumbo-Visma rider explained. "In a small group sprint I have a real chance of winning. When Remco is at the front and other countries/favorites have to chase, that can put me in a good position.”
Preliminary startlist men's Elite World Championships with Evenepoel, Pogacar, van Aert, van der Poel, Alaphilippe and Matthews
Asked about his main contenders he's mention “the Dutch with Mathieu van der Poel and Dylan van Baarle," and "the Slovenian team also has one of the most important assets for the world title with Tadej Pogacar.". He will have to face the likes of the French and Italian teams who are set to race aggressively, but also the likes of Michael Matthews, Ethan Hayter and Biniam Girmay in a possible sprint.
One possible weakness to his armour many have said was his endurance, but van Aert believes he has worked through it over the 2022 season: "I made progress in the last hour of the tough one-day races. In the past I sometimes lacked the strength to attack in the last hour of a 250 kilometer classic," he said. "This year that has really changed. I have changed some details in my training and clearly made more choices in my program." Van Aert is set to complete his season over at the Worlds, one where he's suffered from bad luck but has also had tremendous success.