Wout van Aert shows form with Tenerife Strava KOM

Bianchi Zolder Pro Bike
Wout van Aert with his Bianchi Zolder 'cross bike (Image credit: Bianchi)

Three-time UCI Cyclo-cross World Champion and 2019 Tour de France stage winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) appears to be on good form as the Belgian prepares to make his 2020 road season debut this weekend at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday.

Van Aert, who last raced on the road at the 2019 Tour before he abandoned the race after crashing in the stage 13 time trial, has been training in Tenerife, Spain, and recently stole a Strava KOM (opens in new tab) on the Spanish Island from four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Team Ineos).

Van Aert covered the Guía De Isora climb in 7:51, averaging 29.5kph over the 3.86km ascent that has an average grade of 4%. Froome had previously ridden the best time up the segment at 7:55. Other notable names on the segment leaderboard include Michal Kwiatkowski, Dylan van Baarle and Joe Dombrowski.

Van Aert crashed hard during the stage 13 individual time trial at the Tour in Pau last July, suffering a huge gash in his right hip when the barrier he hit sliced into his muscles and connective tissues. He underwent two surgeries to repair the damage and said he feared he would never walk again, much less race at the highest level in the sport.

Van Aert returned to racing in December during cyclo-cross season, however, jumping back into the fray at the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee Azencross and finishing fifth. He finished fourth at the World Championships, won again by rival Matthieu van der Poel, and then scored an emotional victory at the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee Krawatencross earlier this month.

Jumbo-Visma have added Van Aert to the 'Opening Weekend' roster for the Omloop, where the emerging Belgian road star will take the line as one of the favourites. After the Omloop, Van Aert is scheduled to start Strade Bianche on March 7.

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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.