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Van Aert back in the saddle after appendectomy

BERG NETHERLANDS APRIL 18 Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo Visma during the 55th Amstel Gold Race 2021 Mens Elite a 2167km race from Valkenburg to Berg en Terblijt Amstelgoldrace amstelgoldrace on April 18 2021 in Berg Netherlands Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in action at Amstel Gold Race (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Wout van Aert has been back on his bike for the first time since he underwent an appendectomy earlier this month.

The Jumbo-Visma rider has been forced to alter his run-up to the Tour de France after suffering from appendicitis. He had an appendectomy last week and will miss both the Tour de Suisse and Critérium du Dauphiné as a result.

On Sunday, Van Aert was able to ride again for the first time, logging a 35-kilometre, hour-long ride on Strava near Herentals in northern Flanders. He named his ride 'Freedom', indicating his happiness at getting back on the bike again.

The Belgian, who last year won a stage and the points classification at the Dauphiné before going on to win two stages at the Tour, is set to head to a training camp in Sierra Nevada, Spain ahead of the July Grand Tour and Tokyo Olympic Games.

Van Aert has enjoyed a strong campaign so far in 2021, winning Gent-Wevelgem, Amstel Gold Race, two stages at Tirreno-Adriatico as well as taking second overall, and also making the podium at Milan-San Remo and Brabantse Pijl.

Last week, Sporza reported that he will make his return to racing on June 16 after adding the time trial at the Belgian National Championships to his programme before heading to the Tour. He won the 2020 title in Koksijde, beating Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka Assos) by 30 seconds over the 42-kilometre course.