It is expected that Wout van Aert – just like Mathieu van der Poel – will return to the field at the end of December. In the meantime, however, we have to wait for his programme. There are also already some questions for his 2024 road season.
The most important of these: Will Van Aert go to the Giro, or will it be the Tour again? The Kempen native has already made it clear that he would very much like to go to Italy, although that decision must of course be taken together with the team management. Presumably, they prefer that Van Aert will participate in the Tour again.
In the podcast With Open Viszier, the sporting director wrote down an interesting quote. “We want to send our younger talents to the Giro. Top ten would be very nice, but the overall victory is not realistic with those young boys,” he said.
VAN AERT FORCED TO TOUR?
So the young people steer. Taken literally, this would mean that Van Aert would not go to the Giro, although the rider certainly has something to offer. But with the young people, Zeeman seems to be referring to riders such as Olav Kooij (sprint), Per Strand Hagenes (freebooter) and Johannes Staune-Mittet (classification).
All top talents who have yet to ride their first big tour, and more importantly as far as Van Aert is concerned, men who would take away opportunities for him. And then there are riders like Mick and Tim van Dijcke, Ben Tulett and Thomas Gloag. Jumbo-Visma’s intention seems clear in this case, let’s wait and see where Van Aert’s priority will lie.