Wout van Aert: "The World Championship will be the only big goal of my winter"

Wout van Aert will return to cyclocross in early December on the Antwerp World Cup round, and will have a winter schedule less packed in relation to early reports, but it will all be aiming for a new rainbow jersey at the end of the season.

In an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws, van Aert has admitted that “the World Championship will be the only big goal of my winter. I'm not hiding. The World Championships will take place in the Netherlands but not very far from home and on a circuit where I have already become World champion among the Under-23s (in 2014, ed)”.

The Belgian has in his palmarès three World Titles from the 2016 to 2018 Worlds. Ever since, he has put more focus on his road calendar - to great success - but this season he's aiming to get a fourth title. Last year he won 9 out of his 10 races in a show of dominance in Cyclocross, however he didn't travel to the USA for the World Championships in order to better prepare the road season.

In Hoogerheide, in early February, the best of Cyclocross are expected at the start line. "At home, Mathieu will certainly be very motivated, but neither he nor I have returned to competition yet and we will therefore have to see what our level will be at that moment," he continued. Both are set to return soon to CX, aswell as reigning World Champion Tom Pidcock who will already be at the start in this weekend's races.

“In the last two weeks I have followed all the races in front of the TV. I know they say the level of [Laurens] Sweeck, [Eli] Iserbyt and [Michael] Vanthourenhout is high, but this is what I already felt last year before my recovery. I was therefore surprised that I imposed myself on my return to Boom," he recollects. He hopes to achieve the same this year, with a preparation solely focused on one goal - unlike several seasoned pros who are aiming at the cups.

“After my holidays in Australia and Dubai, when I went back to training I got sick," he shared, perhaps justifying his postpone of returning to competition by a few weeks. "Nothing particularly serious, but it wasn't ideal either. With the break, I went almost four weeks without getting on the bike and during the first few rides I felt that I lost a lot in terms of condition, which is completely normal."

"So I had to be reasonable with my schedule. I know how to manage this type of calendar and I need to find my rhythm. I want to prepare myself in the best way during the Christmas season," van Aert concluded.

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