Wout van Aert’s coach says he’s ‘currently good enough to compete, but not to win’ 

The Belgian star, currently training in Tenerife, has put on a lot of muscle during his cyclocross season

Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert at the 2020 Tour of Flanders (Dirk Waem/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image credit: BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Wout van Aert’s coach says the Belgian star still has work to do before he can compete for victory in the Classics this year.

The Jumbo-Visma rider is currently on a training camp in Tenerife as he prepares for his road racing debut at Strade Bianche in early March. 

Van Aert’s coach Marc Lamberts said the 26-year-old is currently strong enough to compete in the final of one-day races, but not to win, adding that Van Aert has gained a lot of muscle during his cyclocross winter. 

Lamberts told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws: “I had hoped Wout had come to Tenerife with a slightly broader base. 

“Wout’s level is good, but we need to improve. He is currently good enough to compete in finals, but not to win.” 

Former cyclocross world champion Van Aert travelled to the Canary Island on February 8 and will continue training there until March 1, having finished his cyclocross season at the World Championships in late January. 

While Van Aert will miss the Opening Weekend in Belgium later this month, he will start his Classics campaign in Italy with Strade Bianche, before heading to Tirreno-Adriatico and then racing a full spring Classics calendar.

After Tirreno, Van Aert will race Milan-San Remo, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Ghent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

Then later in the season he will return to France for the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France, while he is also expected to make his debut in the Tour of Britain later in the season. 

But Lamberts says his rider still has work to do if he wants to keep up with the likes of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step). 

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Lamberts added that Van Aert is two kilograms above his race weight, having gained a lot of muscle during his winter racing programme.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.