Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) There is a clear uncertainty about the participation of Wout van Aert in the Tour of Flanders. This news came to the surface when the Belgian champion failed to join the Jumbo Visma squad for the pre-race reconnaissance on Thursday. He missed joining the squad after falling ill.
Van Aert has already won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3 Saxo bank classic this season and was always going to be firm favourites for the tour of Flanders.
His absence in the upcoming competition has entirely changed the dynamics of the race as now other racers got a fair chance to win the title. Now all the eyes are on Mathieu van der poel winner Dwars door Vlaanderen and two time tour de france winner Tadej pogacar for claiming the title.
Jumbo Visma on Wout Van Aert Illness
Jumbo Visma did not reveal the nature of Van Aert’s illness and how much it would take for him to be back on the field.
Sportif Grischa Niermann, The team director said “ Unfortunately Wout is not joining in for the recon ride today. Unfortunately, he is not feeling fit and he is staying at home for that reason. We have to do it at least today without him”.
He further said, “ If we only miss him today for the recon ride, it would not be too bad but of course, we have to admit that now there is a chance he will miss the race”.
After dominating in Harelbeke last Friday, Van Aert underscored his pre-Ronde form with a rasping acceleration on the kemmelberg at Gent-Wevelgem two days later.
Wout van Aert is not feeling well, so he will not join the Tour of Flanders recon. His participation in the Tour of Flanders is unlikely. pic.twitter.com/dxsZvPrWSh
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) March 31, 2022
The Belgian star then decided not to race Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday and instead start preparing for the upcoming tour of Flanders.
Nierman Indicated that the final call on Van Aert’s participation in the grand racing event is likely to be made on Friday but for the time being he is almost out of the race.
Niermann said “At the moment, I can’t say anything. If he feels fit and ready to race on Sunday morning, we might still let him race. Most likely we will know by tomorrow how the situation is and how it evolves”
Jumbo Visma made an effort to add some good racers to the team to support Wout Van Aert but since his participation is in doubt, both of them could lead the team. Those two racers are Christopher Laporte and Tiesj Benoot.
Niermann said, “ If that is the case that we have to make a new plan, we have to change plans, it would be a very big setback”.
He further added, “ We can’t replace him of course. On the other hand we have the whole team in great form and Tiesj and Christopher are the best riders we have. We will make new plans then”.
Van Aert placed second in the pandemic-delayed 2020 tour of Flanders, losing out in a tight sprint to Van der Poel. He again lined up as a favourite twelve month ago but had to settle for sixth in Oudenaarde.