"I surprised myself anyway. I didn't expect to be on the podium and be able to keep up with the high pace for an entire race. I could steer clear of mistakes by riding just below the limit. I am super satisfied" said Van Aert in the post race interview. He praised van der Poel, "As usual, he rode a super fast lap. Then you have to be at your best to stay close. But I soon understood that his pace was way too fast. It's nice though that I was still able to hold off the rest."
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After the second lap, van der Poel had a lead of 10 seconds over Van Aert. Seeing that he could not compete for the victory, Van Aert concentrated on securing the next best position. "One time I fell over the bars. That was unfortunate. But I forgot to train that, so that's something for the coming weeks. I had everything under control for the rest of the competition. I rode slightly below my limit to avoid mistakes. But Mathieu was going way too fast. As a result, I soon knew I had to focus on second place," Van Aert described.
He plans to focus on training in order to improve by Christmas. "I feel much better than expected. My pace was very steady and that's good. Now I have to build that up. I have five, six weeks of training in my legs now. Add another five or six weeks, then I will be a different athlete. I will now train really hard in the next few weeks to compete for wins at Christmas,” concluded Van Aert.