A work of Aert: How Wout van Aert is redefining what it means to be a bike racer

With victories in time trials and bunch sprints, over iconic mountains, stage races and classics, Wout van Aert is redefining what it means to be a bike racer

Wout van Aert NFTs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

“Excuse me,” says a woman’s voice from behind me. “Could you move so I can get a photo?” I’ve been standing idly by the start of stage two of the Tour of Britain observing the best all-round cyclist in the world Wout Van Aert as he politely waves to the crowd from the sign-in rostrum. Even here on this half-finished Devonshire housing estate the Belgian has fans. I duck out of the woman’s shot.

The fact she wants a picture is hardly surprising. In the flesh the Belgian is striking. When I interview Van Aert, seasoned photographer Simon Wilkinson is so stunned by the Jumbo-Visma rider’s anime matinee-idol looks he remarks the Belgian could easily be a model. We both wonder if the blonde streak in his fringe is natural - you can see it in pictures from his junior racing days - or not but decide it’s best not to ask lest we spoil the magic.

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