Get access to everything we publish when you join VeloNews or Outside+.
Wout van Aert is adding a new ambition to his ever-increasing to-do list.
Speaking with Het Laatste Nieuws this weekend, van Aert said that he will be going all-in for the green jersey of points classification leader at the 2022 Tour de France.
“Next year I really want to go for the green jersey,” van Aert said. “Then that will happen and we will draw up a plan that fits within the general team tactics.”
- Mr Versatile – Wout van Aert is the Swiss Army knife of pro cycling
- Roglič leaves Tour disappointment behind with Olympic triumph
Although four of van Aert’s six Tour stage wins have come from bunch sprints, he’s never focused on the points classification that suits him so well. Instead, the 27-year-old has played domestique-de-luxe for the likes of Primož Roglič and Tom Dumoulin while sniping for stages where he could.
Next year could be different.
Van Aert suggested his team will race with two objectives, and that he and GC leader Roglič would share support riders as necessary.
“It doesn’t mean that I am by definition a ‘loose pawn’ and that the six others can concentrate on Roglič,” he said.
“My point is, if I go green, I expect the team to support me in that. And it would be a bit strange if I said: ‘Primož, I’m not helping you.’”
What’s the chance of seeing Wout in green next summer?
Peter Sagan will be back in his perennial hunt for the jersey he’s already won seven times, but could be ironing out any early kinks with new team TotalEnergies. Sam Bennett, winner of the 2020 points classification, will similarly be settling into life at Bora-Hansgrohe.
Surprise winner of this year’s green jersey Mark Cavendish hasn’t even signed a contract for 2022 yet.
Elsewhere, riders like Michael Matthews, Sonny Colbrelli and maybe even Mathieu van der Poel will also be looking to claim their first Tour de France classification victory.
Van Aert – who kickstarts his cyclocross season next weekend – has shown he has the legs to top Sagan, Bennett et al. The bigger question may be whether Jumbo-Visma can race with two ambitions.
Roglič will be back after two Tour de France disappointments and will want a strong crew of climbers to help fend off Tadej Pogačar and Ineos Grenadiers in the race for the maillot jaune.
That may not leave many spots in the eight-rider roster for heavyweights to help van Aert hussle through the intermediate and finishing sprints that award points for the green jersey classification.
After winning a mountain stage, a time trial and the Champs-Élysées sprint in this year’s race, there’s a sense anything is possible for van Aert at the Tour. 2022 may be the year he gets to prove it all over again.