Wout van Aert on cyclocross return: "I hope to compete for the win as soon as possible"

Wout van Aert is set to return to cyclocross on the 4th of December in the Antwerp World Cup. Last year he won 9 out of 10 races and looked to be the dominant figure in his short stint in the discipline, however he's not sure if he can replicate that this winter.

"Actually, I would have liked to have been there in Kortrijk this coming weekend. But I think I'm not ready for that conditionally," van Aert said in an interview with Sporza. "Due to illness and a longer inactivity, I'm a little less advanced than I would like."

He had initially planned to make his debut off-road this coming weekend, and face both Tom Pidcock and Mathieu van der Poel in Hulst, however he's decided to postpone it a week. In the bigger picture, a rather insignificant decision.

"The cold didn't seem bad enough to rest. I then started exercising and cycling again, which made the cold worse. In the end I had to take antibiotics. As a result, I started my preparation with a lower level. I have been able to prepare well in recent weeks. But it is difficult to estimate where I will finish in the first cross," he admits.

"Of course I hope to compete for the win as soon as possible, especially during the Christmas period. I consider the first crosses this season as a run-up. Hopefully the level will return soon and I can work towards the World Championships," the Jumbo-Visma rider shared. He's aiming high at the Hoogerheide World Championships where he will seek a fourth rainbow jersey, but will have tough competition.

"It's the only race where I make a very big goal," he admits. "But in the end I think all crosses in which I participate are important, because every cross feels like coming home. The World Championships is the only competition that I really peak at."

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