Wout van Aert has completed his first off-road ride since his serious crash at the 2019 Tour de France in July.
The Belgian, who is still on a long road to recovery, posted a 69km ride on his Strava yesterday while his rivals competed in the Koppenbergcross, which was won by compatriot Eli Iserbyt with Brit Tom Pidcock finishing second.
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The 25-year-old completed the 69km ride in two and a half hours, riding at an average speed of 27km/h and reaching a maximum of 43.6km/h.
In signs that his recovery is going well, Van Aert posted two personal records, three and a half months after suffering a serious injury during the Tour de France stage 13 individual time trial.
Having gingerly resumed training in September, riding just 45km over the month, the Belgian was able to step up his efforts in October, completing a total of 755km and spending just under 30 hours on the bike.
Van Aert’s time recovering has been anything but uneventful, with litigation surrounding the three-time cyclocross world champion. In September, Van Aert and his Jumbo-Visma team revealed they may seek financial compensation from Tour de France organisers ASO for the cut to his right leg suffered in the crash at their race that the Belgian described as potentially “career ending”.
Van Aert’s old team Veranda’s Willems-Crelan then demanded €1 million after their rider broke contract to sign for Jumbo-Visma a year ahead of schedule to race the 2019 season for the Dutch WorldTour outfit.
Meanwhile, Van Aert’s main cyclocross rival, Mathieu van der Poel, returns to CX racing this weekend at the Telenet Superprestige Ruddervoorde race in Belgium on Sunday (November 3).
It is not yet known when Van Aert will be able to return to racing.