The road season also includes bush for Van der Poel, Van Aert and Pidcock

Wout van Aert came to prominence with his return to the bush of Flandria in Essen (Belgium) on 9 December. A week later, on December 16, it was time. Mathieu Van der Poel will disgust the competition at Herentals. The next day, a hundred kilometers further south, Tom Pidcock raised his arms in Namur. On Saturday, December 23, for the first time this season the “fantastic trio” are at the start of the same event: in Antwerp for the ninth round of the Cyclo-cross World Cup, an hour-long race and run on the cycling mixed track.

After last year’s epic clashes, this clash between Belgian van Aert, Dutchman Van der Poel and Englishman Pidcock is even more eagerly awaited as it risks becoming a rarity this winter. The schedule includes four matches between the three men so far: in addition to Saturday, they will meet on December 26 in Gavere (Belgium), on December 30 in Hulst (Netherlands) and then on December 4 in Koksijde (Belgium). . Fireplace. Last year there were seven.

Reason ? Those interested are not only skilled cyclo-cross riders but also accomplished backpackers. But tight winter calendars allow these ambitious individuals to perform well all year round. The Olympic Games make this mandatory, especially as 2024 is thought to be quite busy.

Mud love in the background

Accustomed to participating in around thirty cyclo-cross races at the beginning of his professional career, Wout van Aert revised his copy. With “only” five victories on asphalt in 2023, Jumbo-Visma decided to put its love of mud in second place. The 29-year-old Belgian, who boasts that he has already raised his arms in the Tour de France nine times and won a “Monument” (Milan-San Remo, 2020), is planning nine trips this season. There were fourteen bushes compared to the previous one. He will also miss the world championships in Tabor (Czech Republic) in February.

Inside Belgian daily newspaper Het NieuwsbladHis coach, Mathieu Heijboer, this winter “He was no longer the target” for the runner on its own but ” far “ Being in good shape for the future, especially with the Flandrian classics, the Tour of Italy and the Tour of Spain in the viewfinder. “Last year I made a mental effort to focus on the cyclocross season and then move on to springexplained van Aert. In a press release issued by the team14 November. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance regarding the classics. That’s why I run a more limited program with peace of mind. »

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