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The team confirmed Thursday the 26-year-old superstar renewed his contract through 2024.
“Also after 2021, I am a very proud member of Team Jumbo-Visma. I am very happy with that,” Van Aert said. “I really wanted to extend because I have become a lot better with this team. I think everyone has seen that I have made huge steps forward as a rider in recent years.”
Van Aert’s contract was set to end in December, sparking speculation that Ineos Grenadiers was sniffing around for the Belgian’s signature.
After scoring wins at Milano-Sanremo, Strade Bianche, and twice at the Tour de France in a season that marked him as the hottest property on the cycling market, van Aert didn’t deny that other teams had shown interest in signing him. However, the Belgian said he was always set to stay with his Dutch squad.
“The decision that I wanted to re-sign was made pretty quickly in my mind,” van Aert said. “Of course there are other things that come into play and that required some time. The intention was good on both sides and I was confident that everything was going to be all right.
“I don’t have to explain to you that there was more interest in me, but I have never had talks with another team,” he said. “My goal was to extend the contract. We have become the best team in the world. It was best for me to stay. I am glad that it is done and I am relieved that I can speak out about it.”
Van Aert stepped up to the WorldTour with Jumbo-Visma in 2019 and has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of the pro peloton in the two years since. Team manager Richard Plugge explained that the team’s role in van Aert’s exponential progression helped them to lock-in the renewal.
“For us, it was important to keep him. There might have been other teams that were interested in Wout, but his intention was to sign from the beginning,” Plugge said. “We have helped him in his development and that is why he wants to stay. We quickly understood each other’s desires. Then the details took some time. I am very happy that we were able to keep him.”
Van Aert is currently in Alicante, Spain, on a team training camp ahead of the start of the road season next month. He will be returning to Belgium this weekend to get back on the ‘cross bike for a final weekend of racing at Flandriencross and World Cup Overijse in preparation for the cyclocross world championships at the end of the month.
At the close of the ‘cross season, van Aert will be full-steam toward the cobbled classics, including starts at Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Sports director Merijn Zeeman said the team is focused on strengthening its classics unit to best support its leader in his one-day ambitions.
“This is a team that has been evolving continuously in recent years,” Zeeman said. “This also applies to the team around Wout in the spring classics. I think last year’s analysis was that the support was insufficient. We are developing this. It will continue in the coming years to also become stronger in this area to give Wout the support he needs.”
The team was so pleased to have the contract signed they even made a video about it.