Wout van Aert will turn to riding on the road in 2018 after the cyclo-cross World Championships. After a full winter of ‘cross racing, he plans to take on the Spring Classics with his Verandas Willems-Crelan team.
"I'm still combining it for the moment, because I'm still crazy," he told sporza.be.
The 22-year-old is not sure how the combination will work, saying he has discussed it with Zdenek Stybar. The Czech rider won the ‘cross World title three times. Most recently he won it in 2014 and then went on to ride the Classics for Quick-Step, bringing in top-10 finishes in Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo.
"It is not possible to ride the full winter season," said Van Aert. "It's a must to stop in the field after the World Championships, because I'll have all the time, and then we'll evaluate if it was a success or a flop."
He has not yet decided whether to stop entirely with ‘cross, seeing the coming year as an experiment
"I want to know if riding the Classics is something for me. If so, then I can still choose to make the transition later," he said. "For the moment, I'm still riding in the field, and I'm also the world champion, so I think I can't stay away. I don't want to do that either."
His choice of a Classic is, of course, Paris-Roubaix. It would be difficult for his team to get an invitation, he acknowledged, “but it might be the race that would be best for me."
Van Aert has won the World 'cross title in the last two years. On the road in 2016 he won the Schaal Sels, and finished in the top 10 in three other races.