Cyclo-cross world champion Wout van Aert has confirmed he will ride today’s elite men’s World Cup Jingle Cross race in Iowa City despite fracturing his left big toe during the CrossVegas race on Wednesday.
The Belgian travelled to Iowa City on Thursday night after a medical visit and x-rays confirmed the hairline fracture. Van Aert revealed he was in pain during a training ride on Friday but said he will race the World Cup event.
"The feeling after training was not bad. The swelling did not increase after the training ride, so therefore I decided to start in the second round of the World Cup,” Van Aert said in a message posted on his personal website.
"Today (Friday) I have a cycled 45km with my teammates. That test wasn’t that bad thanks to the taped toes and a painkiller but I didn’t real put force on the pedals because I couldn’t. After consulting with my family doctor, I decided not to do a route reconnaissance, which would have been an additional burden.”
Van Aert won the CrossVegas World Cup race despite an early crash on a set of stairs. He fought his way back into the mix and eventually won alone, scoring maximum World Cup points. The pain in his toe emerged overnight, hampering his travel to Iowa City and his hopes of a second victory and early lead in the World Cup standings.
"Once back at the hotel we put ice on the foot, but the swelling was really intense. When I woke up Thursday morning, I could barely take any steps and I quickly realized that there was more to it. We decided to visit a local doctor, who sent us in turn to an orthopedic center. After taking the x-rays, it turned out that there was indeed a crack in my big toe,” he explained.
Van Aert is hoping that the adrenaline of Saturday’s race will help him handle the pain in his toe.
“The course is reported to be heavy and more rain could fall but I hope that things will be a little less muddy so that we have to do a lot of cycling. If we do a lot running, then I have a problem and I need to shift my focus. In this case, the aim will be to limit the damage and not kill my World Cup standing. I hope to feel less pain because of the adrenaline during the race. Maybe that’s wishful thinking but we're going to find out.”