World Champion Wout Van Aert could miss the final round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Hoogerheide, Belgium, citing knee pain after this weekend's round in Italy. Van Aert has already wrapped up the World Cup overall victory, leading by an unassailable 111-point lead over compatriot Kevil Pauwels.
"The knee pain is serious, and I am taking no risks," Van Aert said, according to Sporza.be. "Hopefully a few days rest will bring some relief."
Van Aert said he had been feeling some discomfort since the race in Otegem, which took place the day after he won the Belgian national championships. He will not be travelling to Spain with the Belgian national team for training, as was planned.
"This morning I visited Dr. Toon Claes. An examination showed that I need to rest a few days," Van Aert said. He is suffering from friction between the tendons in his knee and his kneecap, but is still hoping to race. "Thursday I will know if I can participate in the race in Hoogerheide."
Meanwhile, Van Aert's rival Mathieu van der Poel skipped the treacherous Fiuggi World Cup round which claimed the rest of Toon Aert's season, and was enjoying some sun and sand training in Benacassim. Van der Poel got his knee injuries out of the way before the cyclo-cross season started: he had surgery on both knees, for an ailment similar to Van Aert's, in July.
Van der Poel seems to have recovered well from a terrible crash in the Azencross last month where he was knocked unconscious. He won the Dutch championships before heading off for training camp in Spain. There, he found plenty of sand that he could use to keep his skills honed for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Luxembourg.