21 things you didn't know about Wout van Aert

From studying computer science at university through to what he eats for breakfast

Wout Van Aert Red Bull
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Date of Birth15 September 1994
BornHerentals, Belgium
Height1.90 metres
Weight78 kg
PartnerSarah de Bie
Turned pro2013
TeamJumbo Visma
BikeCervélo S5
UCI wins40
Stage race wins2
Grand Tour stage wins9

Wout van Aert is currently one of the biggest stars in the men's WorldTour peloton. The Belgian rides for Jumbo-Visma and competes on the road as well as in cyclocross.

He won the green points jersey at the 2022 Tour de France and has nine stage wins to his name at the race since 2019. He's also won Milan-San Remo, the E3 Saxo Classic, Gent-Wevelgem, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and the Amstel Gold Race.

The Belgian is an arch-rival of Mathieu van der Poel and will no doubt go up against the Dutchman during the 2023 Tour's opening week in the Spanish Basque Country as they compete for the races' first yellow jersey.

Here are 21 things you didn't know about the Belgian superstar. 

Wout Van Aert

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Prior to becoming a cyclist, Van Aert studied computer science at Thomas More University in Geel, Belgium

2. He was a regular user of social media while studying at university and was regularly told to get off his smartphone in classes by his counsellor and teacher Anne Hannes.

3. Van Aert grew up in Lille, Belgium not to be confused with the French city of the same name just across the border.

4. His uncle, Jos van Aert, was also a professional cyclist and rode six Grand Tours between 1989 and 1993.

5. He competed in his first-ever bike race at the age of eight.

6. Back in 2014, he featured on the front cover of his university's student magazine Amore.

7. Van Aert wears a different helmet to that of his teammates at Jumbo-Visma. His distinctive Red Bull branded helmet is due to a sponsorship deal with the brand.

8. After winning stage four of the 2022 Tour de France, Van Aert flapped his arms like a bird as he crossed the line celebrating. He later denied that it was due to Red Bull's catchphrase "it gives you wings". However, the brand used the image of him celebrating that win on billboards in the Flanders region of Belgium, with the phrase "Vliegen zoals Wout" or "fly like Wout".

Wout van Aert wins E3 2023

(Image credit: Tim de Waele / Getty)

9. He first dyed his hair blonde at the age of 16, a now distinctive look beneath his helmet.

10. Van Aert met his wife, Sarah de Bie, aged just 15, they married in 2018 and now have a son called Georges.

11. When it came to becoming a professional cyclist, he first started out in cyclocross. He left university to pursue a full time career as a cyclist during the 2013-14 season when he achieved 12 wins in just three months.

12. He became under-23 cyclocross world champion in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands in 2014. It was the first time he beat long-term rival Van der Poel. He became senior world champion in 2016.

13. In 2019, Van Aert joined Jumbo-Visma a year earlier than planned. As a result he was ordered to pay his former team Verendas Willems-Crelan €662,000 in compensation. 

Wout van Aert Tour of Britain

(Image credit: SWpix)

14. After transferring to the road with Jumbo-Visma, Van Aert suffered a major crash in the 2019 Tour de France in an individual time trial in Pau, abandoning the race, but also won a stage that year.

15. That same year, Van Aert won the prestigious Flandrien of the Year award for the first time, an annual award presented to the best Belgian cyclist by Belgian daily Het Nieuwsblad.

16. On the 1 August 2020, he won the first rescheduled WorldTour race, Strade Bianche, to be held since the start of the Covid pandemic.

17. Van Aert likes to eat "savoury oat meal" for breakfast. His recipe includes parmesan cheese, oregano and a fried or poached egg..... grim!

18. He attended an American football match in 2017 before competing in the Jingle Cross cyclocross World Cup. 

19. Van Aert has his own clothing line called "Panache". You can get WVA themed jackets, t-shirts, jumpers, and more.

19. Despite their long term racing rivalry, Van Aert is not friends with Mathieu van der Poel. "They have never been close," Niels Albert, Van Aert's former coach, told Cyclingnews. "They would never really talk to each other at races, and especially not away from races.”

20. Van Aert's family originate from the Netherlands. As a result his family name has a lowercase "v" in van Aert. Typically in Belgium, surnames involving "van" have an uppercase "V" at the beginning instead.

21. He was a big fan of the hit television series Game of Thrones. 

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Tom Thewlis

Tom is a News and Features Writer at Cycling Weekly, and previously worked in communications at Oxford Brookes University. He has reported from a wide range of races and events including the Tour de France and World Championships.