Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) has had another amazing year on the road after coming back from a horrific crash in the 2019 Tour de France time trial, winning the 2020 Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo, and stages at the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour.
The Belgian time trial champion says that his aim is still fully on the Classics, but with a few extra goals on the side as he continues to find his limits.
In an interview with Sport/Voetbalmagazine, Van Aert said: “Expanding my Classic record remains a priority. I’m not going to change that plan to aim for a classification in the Tour.
“Yes, I went for a long time in the high mountains, but there is a big difference between leading up to five kilometres from the top and going to the finish, and to be there every day for three weeks,
“Certainly winning the Tour is unrealistic and I don’t want to pursue that for the time being. Also because you have to train in a completely different way than for the Classics.”
Van Aert has shown that he is one of the best Classics riders in the pro peloton at the moment with some amazing performances, performing well in Italy with wins at Strade Bianche and, his first Monument win at Milan-San Remo.
But he is also looking to potentially see how he performs against some of the biggest and best names in the mountains.
“Maybe I will change course one day [to focus on a Grand Tour], but that is still far away. Then I would first have to shine in Tirreno-Adriatico, Critérium du Dauphiné or the Tour de Suisse.
“This is possible in the shorter term, especially in stage races with a time trial, such as Tirreno-Adriatico.
“I want to go for a classification there in 2021. And later also in climbing Classics such as Liège and the Tour of Lombardy.”
All these new targets for Van Aert makes his calendar look very busy as he also has the Olympics and cyclocross to focus on as well, not to mention the constant rivalry with Dutch superstar, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), who is expected to make his Tour de France debut in 2021.
While Van Aert finished his road season after finishing second at the Tour of Flanders, he still has plenty races to do this year with the cyclocross season.
Van Aert says that he remembers in the past when he used to be reluctant to restart training for cross racing , now he says he can’t see that at all and is really focussed on his goals.
The former world cyclocross champion will start his campaign in Kortrijk on November 28, whereas his main rival and current CX world champion, Van der Poel, will start on December 12 in Antwerp.