Wout Van Aert is ready to put cyclocross behind him and concentrate on the road for Team Jumbo-Visma. He has no small assignment in his first race for a WorldTour team, leading them in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
“The Spring Classics are amazing races,” he said on the team's website. “They're never boring. You've got to pay attention from the start.”
After a difficult 2018 and winter, the 24-year-old spend time relaxing in Girona. “it felt like leaving the winter behind,” he said. “It was not an escape but you literally drive away from the circus that is cyclocross.”
Once he started training again, he was happy with his condition. “Going by the way I'm feeling now I may expect a lot of the spring. If I could choose I would like to be in top shape right away.”
Van Aert was very happy to be with the WorldTour team. “On the road its super important to have a strong team, to have the right people on the team and thats finally the case.”
“It's a big step in my career to go to a World Tour team at any case. A team in which I'll be really guided as I've always hoped.”
Not only does he want to bring in results and help the team, but hopes to learn a lot as well. “I think I'm also capable of riding a good time trial. Before I never had the chance to be professionally guided in this discipline.”
“These are things in which I hope to progress a lot. I'm very curious about this.” Van Aert rode for Verandas Willems – Crelan in 2018, but split with them after the team announced it would merge with Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij. He terminated his contract with the team, and rode the 'cross season in a neutral jersey.The contract with Jumbo had already been signed, with the start to be in 2020, but the date was soon moved to this year.
His 'cross season suffered due to all this, and he brought in only three wins all season, and while he was unable to defend his World Championship title, he finished a good second in the race behind Mathieu van der Poel, who had dominated the season.