Wout van Aert to ride Tour of Britain on road to Flanders World Championships

Jumbo-Visma's Wout van Aert wins stage 7 of the 2020 Tour de France
Jumbo-Visma's Wout van Aert wins stage 7 of the 2020 Tour de France (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) will ride the Tour of Britain as he prepares for the UCI Road World Championships, which will be held in Flanders, and the end-of-season edition of Paris-Roubaix.

The Belgian is the second rider named for this year’s Tour of Britain after Mark Cavendish confirmed he will be part of the Deceuninck-QuickStep team for the week-long stage race. 

This year’s Tour of Britain starts in Penzance, Cornwall, on Sunday, September 5 and ends on Sunday, September 12 in Aberdeen, Scotland. The World Championships will be held two weeks later, with Van Aert possibly targeting the time trial and then the road race on Sunday, September 26.

Belgian national coach Sven Vanthourenhout recently named Van Aert as team leader of the Belgian squad, with the likes of Greg van Avermaet, Tim Wellens, Philippe Gilbert and Oliver Naesen still not sure of selection. 

Vanthourenhout believes Van Aert’s Classics skills and fast finish make him the ideal team leader for the 268km road race that starts near Antwerp and finishes after a number of rolling and twisting circuits near Leuven, east of Brussels. 

Van Aert has been training in the mountains since winning a silver medal in the road race at the Tokyo Olympics and finishing sixth in the time trial. He is expected to begin his build-up to the Worlds and Paris-Roubaix when he rides the Bretagne Classic at the end of this month.

He won three stages at the Tour de France, including the final time trial and the sprint finish on the Champs Elysées in Paris. The 26-year-old has also won Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianche, Gent-Wevelgem and Amstel Gold Race, as well as three UCI world cyclo-cross titles.

Jumbo-Visma have sent strong teams to the Tour of Britain in recent years. Primoź Roglič finished second overall in 2018 and Tom Dumoulin was third in 2016. The remainder of their six-man squad for the Tour of Britain will be announced nearer the race. 

Deceuninck-QuickStep, Jumbo-Visma and Alpecin-Fenix are among the teams confirmed for the Tour of Britain, meaning Julian Alaphilippe and Mathieu van der Poel could also opt for British roads to prepare for the World Championships.

Van der Poel won the last edition of the Tour of Britain in 2019 as he built towards that September’s Yorkshire Worlds, while Alaphilippe won in 2018.

The Tour of Britain organisers have confirmed that this year’s race will feature seven WorldTour squads, with Ineos Grenadiers, Israel Start-Up Nation, Movistar Team, Team DSM and Team Qhubeka-NextHash joining Deceuninck-QuickStep and Jumbo-Visma on the start line in Cornwall. Alpecin-Fenix are one of four ProTeams in the race, alongside Rally Cycling, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and Arkéa-Samsic. A number of British teams will also be in action.

The Tour of Britain kicks off with testing stages in Cornwall, includes a team time trial and a steep uphill finish in Llandudno, Wales, before heading via northern England and concluding with two stages in Scotland. 

Click here for full details of the route.

Cyclingnews will have full coverage of the Tour of Britain, with stage reports, photo galleries, news and interviews. 

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