Wout van Aert is hopeful the illness that made him miss Wednesday's Kristallen Fiets (Crystal Bicycle) awards ceremony won't stop him from competing in his first cyclocross race of the season on Saturday in Boom, but he said he wasn't willing to take chances on his health.
The three-time world cyclocross champion couldn't complete his planned training on Tuesday due to illness, and decided to miss out on collecting his second award for the best performing Belgian rider.
Slovenian Jumbo-Visma team-mate Primož Roglič flew in from Monaco and accepted the award on his behalf instead.
Van Aert told Het Nieuwsblad: “When I got up I had a sore throat and felt very tired.
“I didn't want to take any chances. The fact that Primož is there makes it extra sour, of course. I really appreciate the effort he has made for me.”
The Belgian believes that he is only suffering from a cold after testing negative for Covid-19 on Wednesday, but will continue to take tests over the coming days, just in case.
“I don't think I should look any further than the rain and cold of the past few days," Van Aert said. "I felt that I had not recovered enough from the bad weather training.
“I don't think it's a big deal. Hopefully I can recover well in the coming days. I now have a little more rest, which could also be positive for next weekend. But it is not the intention to take risks."
Van Aert continued, discussing his excitement for racing in more challenging cyclocross environments this season.
“If the weather of the past few days is an indicator, we won't get many dry crosses this year. That will make the adjustment for me technically more difficult, but in itself those are also the races I prefer to do.”
Van Aert is hopeful of making the start line for the fifth Superprestige race of the season, where he expects to line-up against Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers). He was then set to appear in the World Cup race in Antwerp the following day, but that event has since been cancelled due to a surge in Covid-19 cases in northern mainland Europe.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) will race in his first cyclocross event of the season on December 18 at the World Cup in Rucphen.
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