Cyclo-cross stars stunned and pessimistic after Wout van Aert's storming return

BOOM BELGIUM DECEMBER 04 LR Toon Aerts of Belgium and Team Baloise Trek Lions on second place race winner Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo Visma and Lars Van Der Haar of The Netherlands and Team Baloise Trek Lions on third place pose on the podium ceremony after the 7th Superprestige Cyclocross Boom 2021 Mens Elite SPBoom Superprestige2022 on December 04 2021 in Boom Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Toon Aerts (left) and Lars van der Haar (right) flank Wout van Aert on the podium in Boom (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Wout van Aert's rivals have reacted with astonishment at his victorious return to cyclo-cross on Saturday, with widespread fears the top step of future podiums is now out of reach. 

The three-time world champion had played down expectations ahead of Saturday's Superprestige race in Boom, having not raced 'cross since the World Championships in January and not raced at all for the past two months, as well as suffering from a midweek cold. 

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