Wout van Aert could make his Giro d’Italia debut next year and target a top five finish as Jumbo-Visma’s leader in Italy.
According to a report from La Gazzetta dello Sport, Jumbo-Visma will assign leadership duty to Van Aert at the Italian Grand Tour and he may subsequently skip the Tour de France in July in order to prepare post-Giro for the Olympics in Paris.
If selected it will be the first time that he has been assigned Grand Tour leadership duty by the Dutch team.
Van Aert has ridden the Tour on five separate occasions and racked up nine individual stage wins as well as the green points jersey last year. The Belgian famously won stage 11 of the Tour in 2021 which included two ascents of Mont Ventoux.
According to the reports from Italy it is almost certain that Van Aert will line up for the Giro's Grande Partenza in Venaria Reale on May 4 next year.
Prior to heading to the Giro it's expected that the 29-year-old’s biggest goals of the Spring will be Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders.
The 2024 Giro route was unveiled recently and will take place between 4-26 May.
One of the biggest talking points ahead of next year’s edition will be the return of the iconic Passo dello Stelvio as well as the inclusion of parts of the Strade Bianche gravel course on stage six.
La Gazzetta suggests that Jumbo-Visma’s view is that the route is one that plays to Van Aert’s strengths. The inclusion of 68 individual time trial kilometres could also potentially favour the Belgian who has been national time trial champion on three separate occasions.
The route also features six mountain top finishes including a stage eight summit finish to Prati di Tivo which has previously featured in Tirreno-Adriatico. Van Aert knows the climb well and finished ninth when Tirreno visited the climb in the Abruzzo region in 2021.
If Van Aert does start the Giro next year then it’s possible he could face Tadej Pogačar who could also target the Italian Grand Tour. There are growing indications that the two-time winner of the Tour de France could look to contest both the Giro and Tour in 2024.
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