Saturday, November 4, 2023 at 6:19 PM
After Adrie van der Poel, Johan Museeuw is also critical of Wout van Aert’s performance. The former world champion, who also won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix three times, sees an important explanation why Van Aert only has one monument on his list of achievements. He tells this in conversation with GCN.
“Wout has been close, but not close enough. He has already achieved top five and top three finishes, but every year you miss is a year too late. For example, Peter Sagan retired this year, but actually he was a rider who should have won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix a few times, and Milan-San Remo. Maybe Van Aert lacks some killing spirit to win a race. I mean, you don’t give away a race like Gent-Wevelgem. It’s not a criticism, and it highlights his kindness that he does that, but at the end of your career the most important thing is how much you won. It is not about what you have given away,” said Museeuw.
The Lion of Flanders does see those character traits in world champion Mathieu van der Poel. “He is more of a killer than Van Aert,” says Museeuw. “Van Aert is willing to work for another rider, like in the Tour. Van der Poel does not work for other riders. Sometimes he does the lead-out for Jasper Philipsen, but that’s it. He doesn’t work for another rider for three weeks.”
Grand Tour ambitions
Should Van Aert really retrain as a tour rider, with the aim of reaching the top 5 in the Giro – as La Gazzetta dello Sport already suggested, Museeuw sees even more problems emerging for Van Aert. “You have to focus on what you are good at. Van Aert is good at one-day races. That’s where his focus should be. Of course he can do well in the Tour de France and get a top ten in a Grand Tour, but what’s the point? It is clear that he cannot win a race like the Tour de France.”
“I don’t think he can win the Giro and I wouldn’t adjust my program for a Giro in which I might have a 50 percent chance of winning. Not when I have a 95 percent chance of winning in the classics. If he wants to win the Giro, he must lose one or two kilos and follow a different program. That means he won’t be as strong in the spring classics.”