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Wout van Aert unwell ahead of planned cyclo-cross season start

BOOM BELGIUM DECEMBER 06 Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team JumboVisma during the 6th Superprestige Cyclocross Boom 2020 Men Elite De Schorre Boom Superprestige2021 SPBoom SuperprestigeCX on December 06 2020 in Boom Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) races Superprestige Boom in 2020 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Wout van Aert won the Crystal Bicycle trophy for a second time on Wednesday, however, it was Slovenian Jumbo-Visma teammate Primož Roglič that collected the award for the best performing Belgian rider on his behalf. Van Aert was only able to attend via video call after waking with a cold.

The three-time world cyclo-cross champion, who plans to start his season in the discipline on Saturday at the the Superprestige in Boom, was also unable to complete his planned training as “when I got up I had a sore throat and felt very tired,” Van Aert was quoted as saying in a Het Nieuwsblad report.

After delivering a negative self-test for COVID-19, a test he intends to repeat in coming days, the Flemish newspaper said the rider assumed it was a cold. 

“I don't think I should look any further than the rain and cold of the past few days. I felt that I had not recovered enough from the bad weather training,” Van Aert said in the Het Nieuwsblad quotes.

As for Van Aert's chances of sticking to his scheduled start date, the 27-year-old was hopeful.

“I don't think it's a big deal,” said Van Aert. “Hopefully I can recover well in the coming days. I now have a little more rest, which could also be positive for next weekend. But it is not the intention to take risks.”

If Van Aert does take to the start at Boom, where he came fourth in 2020, he will be lining up alongside multi-discipline rival Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), who is also set to start his season on the steep climbs of the C2 race. World Champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) plans to join the fray a little later, starting another two weeks further in to the season at the December 18 Rucphen World Cup in the Netherlands.

After Boom the next race on Van Aert's schedule is the Ethias Cross in Essen on December 11, with his first scheduled World Cup race at a snow-laden Vale di Sole. The Antwerp World Cup, which was scheduled for the day after the Boom Superprestige, has been cancelled by organisers who were grappling with the impact of the tightened COVID-19 related restrictions amid a deterioration in case numbers in Belgium.

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