"You cannot lose kilos and still be so explosive that you beat Mathieu van der Poel" - Wout van Aert's problem with GC goals, according to Thijs Zonneveld

Wout van Aert is currently not yet confirmed but is widely rumoured and reported to be making his Giro d'Italia debut next year. Alongside that, most likely he could aim for the overall classification as a test of his own abilities. There are arguments against that change, however.

"I understand that it was going to happen at some point. But I always thought that that option was only there once he had ticked off the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and maybe even the road World Championships," Thijs Zonneveld said in the Het Wiel podcast. "Those check marks are currently not there. I don't think he will say goodbye to it completely, but you cannot lose kilos and still be so explosive that you beat Mathieu van der Poel in the Tour. Mathieu continues to do what he did last year: be there in the biggest races and be difficult to beat."

Van Aert has been incredibly consistent and strong throughout all of his goals, however does not often take the big wins that he fights for. It becomes a difficult task with such difficult competition, but he is yet to win a cobbled monument or the rainbow jersey. Combining these goals with a GC attempt at the Giro is not an easy task due to their proximity in the calendar, but also van Aert's physical stature which makes it difficult to perform in the mountains - although he's proven in the past to have that capacity.

"Suppose he goes from 77 to 75 kilograms. He has hardly any fat. What are you going to lose it in? In muscles. Then you also develop less power. That will most likely be at the expense of his time trial, sprint and explosiveness on Flemish hills," Zonneveld correctly assesses. "That means you are going off the path he has taken in recent years. If you want to climb better structurally, you have to give up something. Only I didn't think he would do that before he won Flanders and Roubaix."

Hence it becomes a choice for the Belgian rider and Jumbo-Visma. Whilst he stands better chances of succeeding in the spring classics he is very unlikely to simply give up or even lose meaningful chances of winning there, but being a top rider in both is very unlikely. If he wants to make a change in his career and aim for fresh and exciting goals, it will likely come with a cost of losing some abilities in the terrains that he's thrived on for most of his career.

Van Aert could combine the cobbled classics with a Giro GC stint however in 2024, quite a likely scenario in fact. "I just think that is a more unlikely option, because Jumbo-Visma is not quick to say: we will see where the ship ends up," the Dutchman argues however. "It also looks like Jumbo-Visma will have him do longer training blocks, as well as more altitude training. And then he says goodbye to the most beautiful duel in the sport."

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