A dropped chain early in the elite world cyclocross championship race may have derailed Wout Van Aert’s chance to ride for a rainbow jersey on Saturday. On Wednesday at the Park Cross race in Maldegem, Belgium, the 20-year-old Belgian told Sporza, “There is nothing wrong with my bike.”
Despite having switched to a SRAM CX1 single-chainring drivetrain only a few weeks before worlds, Van Aert said, “I had really bad luck and that’s the last say on that bike.”
A fellow young star, Matheiu van der Poel of the Netherlands, put on a dominant performance at worlds, riding alone to become the youngest-ever winner of the title. Behind, Van Aert overcame the dropped chain and a crash to ride all the way back to second place, 15 seconds behind the winner. At one point, he was nearly one minute behind van der Poel.
After the race, Van Aert told VeloNews‘ Dan Seaton, “I was really good today. I don’t think the chain problems were the biggest problems. The biggest troubles I had was after the crash where I lost the most time.”