By Jonny Long published
Wout van Aert is planning to make his racing comeback on December 27 after a lengthy period off the bike due to injury.
The Belgian will return in a cyclocross race in Loenhout, near Antwerp in Belgium, as he looks to build his form going into the 2020 season.
He will be riding in a modified Jumbo-Visma jersey, accommodating the extra sponsors who financially assisted the 24-year-old last year after the break of contract with his old Veranda's Willems-Crelan team to move up to the WorldTour. Just last week the rider won a legal battle against the team's boss Nick Nuyens who was demanding €1.1 million in damages.
Speaking at a press conference, Van Aert said: "If the recovery continues as it is, I will make my comeback in Loenhout on December 27.
"Rehabilitation has progressed much faster this last month. I can now complete training and increase the load. It would be stupid to talk about results now. I have not been on a bike for three months and I am working on a long way back. I am already happy to be able to contest cross races. Before anything else, I am satisfied that I will be a rider again. "
In early November Van Aert completed his first off-road ride since his serious crash at the 2019 Tour de France in July.
The Belgian came off his bike on one of the final corners of the stage 13 individual time trial as he battled with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) for the provisional stage lead. Race officials covered Van Aert with roadside banners as they waited for medical staff to attend to the heavy cut he had sustained to his leg.
In further signs the young rider's rehab is progressing, he last week rode the cobbles of Roubaix to test equipment with his Jumbo-Visma team, posting on Instagram "rough but beautiful day at the office", hinting that he will be competing in the spring Classics.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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