Wout van Aert’s cyclocross season remains in doubt, a month after he suffered a gash to his leg at the Tour de France.
The Jumbo-Visma star fell in the closing kilometres of the stage 13 time trial in Pau, leaving him with a deep cut to his right leg.
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Van Aert has been undergoing rehab as the crash has had a bigger impact than expected, and it is unclear if he will be able to return to racing this winter.
The 24-year-old said: “I still hope that I can ride some cyclocross races this winter. If only in preparation for the spring. The difficult thing that cyclocross races require an even greater strain on my hip and all the muscles that have been hit than cycling races on the road.
“The goal is to get back to my old level in spring and preferably to be a little better.”
Van Aert, who is still walking on crutches, told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad that he still has to rest for three weeks before the wound will be healed enough to let him train.
The team believe it will take 10 to 12 weeks to get the former three-time cyclocross world champion back up to full fitness.
Jumbo-Visma sports director Merijn Zeeman said: “In a rehabilitation you have two phases: the medical rehabilitation and the sports rehabilitation. Only when the wound and the injury are completely healed can we proceed to the sportive rehabilitation and muscle building. We have to be patient.
“Because in the case of Wout we still do not know how the injury is evolving, we cannot comment on a period.
“It will be difficult to get Wout back to his old level by the spring.”