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