Jumbo-Visma's Wout van Aert may have ended his road season with second place at the rescheduled Tour of Flanders in October, but there'll be no prolonged let-up from training and racing for the 26-year-old: the three-time cyclo-cross world champion will now turn his attention to racing off-road, and has already ventured out on his first 'cross training session close to his home in Belgium this week.
After taking a week off to relax and unwind, Van Aert said that he was raring to go again, and is scheduled to line up at a number of 'cross events this winter – providing they go ahead in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.
The organisers of the X²O Badkamer Trofee – formerly the DVV Trofee – announced last week that Van Aert is set to line up at four rounds of the series: in Kortrijk (November 28), Herentals (December 23), Baal (January 1) and Hamme (January 23).
"I've been a bit busy, but have now had a [training] schedule drawn up," Van Aert said, according to Het Laatste Nieuws this week.
"After the road season, I was mostly just tired in my head. But a few days of doing nothing was enough to 'reset' myself, and I'm looking forward to it again. Plus I don't have much to do in the lockdown other than cycling," he joked, with Belgium – like a number of other European nations – having again this week gone into a national lockdown to try to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Van Aert posted what was his first off-road training session in the forest at Lichtaart – close to his home in Herentals – on training app Strava on Monday, covering a distance of 28.73km in 1:10:50, averaging 24.3kph.
This season on the road, Van Aert's victories included Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, as well as two stages at the Tour de France while riding in the service of Jumbo-Visma leader Primož Roglič. The Belgian then took silver medals in both the road race and the time trial at the World Championships in Imola, Italy, before ending his season with second place at the rescheduled Tour of Flanders.
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