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Wout van Aert will make his racing comeback Friday, five months after a heavy crash at the Tour de France.
The Belgian multi-discipline star crashed during the Tour’s time trial, July 19th, and hasn’t raced since. He hit the barriers hard, and abandoned his debut Tour with a deep gash in his leg. He was lucky to not break any bones.
After over five months of rehab and rebuilding, van Aert will race again at the DVV Trofee Azencross, Friday.
“I am looking forward to getting back into the bustle of the cross,” Van Aert said in a press release. “On training, I have felt for a while that things are moving in the right direction, but it is nice to be an effective rider again.”
The Belgian ‘cross race is home-territory for the three-time ‘cross world champion and will allow him a familiar re-entry into racing. He won the last two editions of the race and has placed on the podium a further three times.
“Loenhout is just one of the best games to resume,” he said. “Nice and close to home. I have been coming to the cross since childhood, the atmosphere during the end-of-year period is always good here. Moreover, I won here twice as a pro.”
“It is not the intention to go for a result,” he said.
The race will mark the start of a long-awaited comeback for van Aert, who races on the road for Jumbo-Visma. He now has three months to regain form for his targets in the spring.
“I hope it will be realistic to be in top form again in the period from Milan-Sanremo to Paris-Roubaix,” Van Aert told WielerFlits. He recently reconned some key sectors of pavé in anticipation of his third appearance at Paris-Roubaix.
Jumbo-Visma has also confirmed that they plan for Van Aert to start at the Tour de France, where he will ride in support of their trio of leaders, Tom Dumoulin, Primoz Roglic, and Steven Kruijswijk. 2020 could see the Dutch team post a serious challenge to the Sky/Ineos stranglehold on the Tour, and they are planning on taking a team packed with talent, including Tony Martin and American Sepp Kuss.
Van Aert will also provide the team with an option for any punchy uphill sprints. He won stage 10 of this year’s tour from a reduced bunch sprint.