Wout van Aert injures knee at pre-Tour de France training camp

VAUJANY FRANCE JUNE 11 Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo Visma celebrates at podium as Green Points Jersey winner during the 74th Criterium du Dauphine 2022 Stage 7 a 1348km stage from SaintChaffrey to Vaujany 1230m WorldTour Dauphin on June 11 2022 in Vaujany France Photo by Dario BelingheriGetty Images
Van Aert on the podium in the points jersey at the Critérium du Dauphiné (Image credit: Getty Images)

Wout van Aert has withdrawn from the Belgian Championships due to a knee injury sustained during Jumbo-Visma's pre-Tour de France training camp in Tignes. In a statement on Thursday morning, Van Aert said the decision had been taken so as not to put his participation in the Tour at risk.

"I think it's a real shame that I can't defend my jersey. I would normally never forgo a Belgian championship," Van Aert said.

"I also regret missing the time trial because it just didn't fit the schedule. However, this is the wisest decision because I don't want to jeopardise the Tour."

According to Jumbo-Visma, Van Aert’s injury came about when he hit his knee against his handlebars during a training ride in Tignes. The team said this had "caused minor irritation in the past few days."

Earlier this week, Van Aert was named in Jumbo-Visma's eight-man selection for the Tour. Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard will lead the team’s general classification challenge, but Van Aert, winner of three stages last year, has been handed the freedom to pursue the green jersey.

The trio come off an excellent showing at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, with Van Aert taking two stage wins and the green jersey as Roglič and Vingegaard finished one-two at the top of the GC standings.

Van Aert’s injury means that he relinquishes his Belgian road title, and he also rued his absence from Thursday’s time trial event in Gavere, which would have served as a final test ahead of the Tour’s opening time trial in Copenhagen.

While some teams have withheld their Tour riders from various national championships in order to limit the potential for exposure to COVID-19, Van Aert's teammates Tiesj Benoot and Nathan Van Hooydonck will both line out in Sunday’s road race as previously planned.

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.