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Wout van Aert shrugs off cyclo-cross defeat after a chain problems end his winning streak

Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo-Visma
Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo-Visma (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Wout van Aert was unable to win an eighth consecutive cyclo-cross race in the Hulst World Cup race on Sunday but shrugged off any disappointment, saying: “All good songs come to an end.”  

The Belgian had been on a winning streak since returning to cyclo-cross at the Boom Superprestige race on December 4. However, a first lap chain problem in the Hulst race cost him significant time and forced him to battle back through the field from 40th position. After an hour of intense racing, he managed to finish an impressive fourth, 1:09 behind winner Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers).

“It would have been nice to continue that series of wins but I always say: 'the next day is always a day closer to your first defeat' and that proved to be the case. All good songs come to an end. On Wednesday I have a new opportunity”, Van Aert said, referring to the X2O Trofee Herentals race in his hometown east of Antwerp.

Van Aert had to chase down Pidcock to win in Baal on Saturday after stopping in the pits to change a shoe. On Sunday, the Jumbo-Visma rider hit a big hole as he tried to avoid another rider and dropped his chain. He fought to free the trapped chain and began to chase but had been passed by most of the field. He used the rest of the race to test his form and managed to pass most of his rivals and finish fourth.  

“I was initially only focusing on my chain, so I didn't immediately realise how many guys had passed me. Only after half a lap did I realise that I was really far down,” Van Aert explained. 

"I tried to go 'full box' but I think fourth place was the best I could get and it worked out nicely. In the end, I'm not too disappointed with that. I came here to give it my all, so I gave the best of myself."

Van Aert has still to decide if he will travel to the USA to ride the cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayetteville at the end of January. He will target the Belgian national championships in Middelkerke on January 9 before making a final decision. Van Aert also intends to target the spring Classics on the road as part of another intense season and so is concerned about the impact of travelling to the USA and impact of jet lag.     

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