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The Jumbo-Visma rider will not defend his national road race title this weekend as he hopes to recover fully for a start at the Tour de France next week.
According to his team, Van Aert hit his knee on his handlebar during a training session, which caused some “minor irritation” in recent days. The 27-year-old was already scheduled to miss the time trial championships prior to the injury.
“I think it’s a real shame that I can’t defend my jersey. I would normally never forgo a Belgian championship. I also regret missing the time trial because it just didn’t fit the schedule. However, this is the wisest decision because I don’t want to jeopardize the Tour,” Van Aert said.
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Van Aert was named earlier this week as part of Jumbo-Visma’s eight-man squad for the Tour de France, which will begin on Friday, July 1.
The Belgian has set his sights on going for the Tour’s green points jersey and is a co-captain for the squad.
However, he will also be called in to assist his fellow co-captains Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard in their aim of toppling double Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar in the fight for the yellow jersey.
Jumbo-Visma is also set to take Sepp Kuss, Tiesj Benoot, Nathan Van Hooydonck, Christophe Laporte, and Steven Kruijswijk to the Tour.
.@WoutvanAert will not be at the start of the Belgian cycling championships.
He hit his knee during a training session, which caused minor irritation in the past few days. “This is the wisest decision because I don't want to jeopardize the Tour.”
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) June 23, 2022