Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) will start his cyclo-cross season on December 4 at the Superprestige in Boom, Belgium, Wielerflits.nl reported on Wednesday. The Belgian's season debut will come two weeks before the expected arrival of World Champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix).
Both multi-discipline superstars will fit their 'cross campaigns around team camps. Van der Poel's Alpecin-Fenix team camp in Spain runs from December 1-10. The December 12 World Cup in Val di Sole may be too early for his return to the field, and he will likely start at the Rucphen World Cup on December 18 instead.
Van Aert's debut will be a double weekend with the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Antwerp, followed by another double with the Ethias Cross in Essen and the Val di Sole World Cup the next week.
He will miss the Rucphen round as he heads directly from Val di Sole to Girona for the Jumbo-Visma camp from December 13-21, and he will resume racing on Boxing Day at the Dendermonde World Cup.
The late-December and January schedule is packed with races - with six rounds in eight days from Dendermonde through the January 2 World Cup in Hulst and the Belgian championships on January 9. Van Aert has not yet decided on his programme after then, which may or may not include the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in the United States on January 31.
"This is my final program up to and including the Belgian championship. What will follow after that has not yet been decided," Van Aert told Wielerflits.
Van Aert's coach Marc Lamberts told Het Laatste Nieuws last month that he would prefer Van Aert not race 'cross Worlds so he will get a longer break before the road season starts on February 29 at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships will be held January 29-30 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
"If you think about it as far as preparation, I would say don’t go. But there are other sporting interests at stake. We have to see with the Jumbo-Visma team what is possible and then try to achieve an acceptable compromise."
Wout van Aert's cyclo-cross programme:
- December 4: Boom (Superprestige)
- December 5: Antwerp (World Cup)
- December 11: Essen (Ethias Cross)
- December 12: Val di Sole (World Cup)
- Team camp in Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain
- December 26: Dendermonde (World Cup)
- December 27: Heusden-Zolder (Superprestige)
- December 29: Diegem (Superprestige)
- December 30: Loenhout (X2O Trophy)
- January 1: Baal (X2O Trophy)
- January 2: Hulst (World Cup)
- January 5: Herentals (X2O Trophy)
- January 9: Middelkerke (Belgian Championship)
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