Wout Van Aert is preparing for his new road career at WorldTour level after missing out on a fourth cyclocross world title.
The Belgian said his silver medal in Bogense, Denmark on Sunday (February 3) “gave him extra mental peace” after he fell behind Dutch rival Mathieu van der Poel.
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Van Aert will join Jumbo-Visma in March for his debut year riding at WorldTour level, ready to start a cobbled Classics campaign.
In his regular column for cycling website Wielerflits, the 24-year-old said: “I was not disappointed about the World Championships. On the contrary, my performance in Bogense gave me extra mental peace.
“After a few difficult months, I feel I am gradually getting back to the way I was, that I have closed that chapter.”
Van Aert said has undergone heart checks with his new road team, and has picked up equipment ready to make his debut next month.
He will now spend three weeks in Girona with his wife Sarah, before he opens his road season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Van der Poel and Van Aert looked evenly matched in the opening laps of the slippery course, with the eventual winner drawing out a significant lead that was closed down by his Belgian rival.
But an off-camber section plagued Van Aert, with a slip giving van der Poel the opportunity to power away.
Van Aert has struggled to find previous form in the CX season, possibly hampered by an ongoing legal battle with his Vérandas Willems-Crelan after he unilaterally terminated his contracted.
He had been due to join Dutch team Jumbo-Visma in 2020, but Van Aert’s debut has been moved forward after the acrimonious split with his old outfit.
Van Aert is due to start at Het Nieuwsblad, before going on to ride a full Classics campaign including the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.