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Gent-Wevelgem: Wout van Aert begins penultimate race of season with high ambitions

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) takes on the gravel during stage 18 of the 2020 Tour de France
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) takes on the gravel during stage 18 of the 2020 Tour de France (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Jumbo-Visma's Wout van Aert will line up for Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday knowing that he has just two more races at which to add to his burgeoning road palmarès this season. The 26-year-old says that his ambitions are the same for both Gent and his final race, the Tour of Flanders, on October 18: to win.

"This road season, I'll start in two more races," Van Aert confirmed on his team's website on Saturday, with what would have been a third race – Paris-Roubaix on October 25 – having been cancelled on Friday.

"I'll ride both with the ambition of winning," he said. "Gent-Wevelgem is not simply a preparation for the Tour of Flanders for me; I want to participate in the final there.

"My condition has been very good for a long time now," he said, with Van Aert's triumphs this season having included victory at Strade Bianche at the start of August, followed by victory at Milan-San Remo, two stage wins at the Tour de France and silver medals in both the time trial and the road race at the World Championships in Imola, Italy, last month.

"In Imola, I felt that I'd come out of the Tour de France well," said Van Aert. "I've also felt fine during training, so hopefully I can continue that good form for a few more weeks. My season has already been successful, in principle. Additional top performances are a bonus. Still, I don't want to miss an opportunity, and I'm really focused on the coming period."

He'll be able to enjoy strong support at Gent-Wevelgem from a Jumbo-Visma cobbled Classics squad that includes Mike Teunissen, the experienced Maarten Wynants and Amund Jansen, who was also part of this year's Tour team.

Sunday's race will be the third time that Van Aert has lined up for Gent-Wevelgem, with the Belgian having finished 10th during his first outing there in 2018 and 29th last year.

The following weekend, it will also be the third time that he's taken on the Tour of Flanders, and, similarly, he crept into the top 10 with ninth place in 2018 and finished 14th there last season.

Jumbo-Visma for the 2020 Gent-Wevelgem: Pascal Eenkhoorn, Amund Jansen, Timo Roosen, Mike Teunissen, Wout van Aert, Taco van der Hoorn, Maarten Wynants