Wout van Aert to miss Strade Bianche due to illness

Jumbo-Visma talisman to begin 2023 road season at Tirreno-Adriatico

Wout van Aert
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wout van Aert will sit out this weekend’s Strade Bianche and will instead begin his 2023 road season at Tirreno-Adriatico

On Monday afternoon, Van Aert revealed in a video message shared on social media that he had been unwell during an altitude training camp in Tenerife, and was not fit enough to ride Strade Bianche on Saturday and be competitive. 

Instead of riding the Italian classic, Van Aert will extend his stay in Spain for a few more days and prepare for Tirreno-Adriatico, the week-long stage race which starts in Italy next Monday. 

“Unfortunately I was not feeling very well for several days last during the start of my training camp in Tenerife,” Van Aert said. 

"Fortunately, it wasn't too bad and I felt better shortly after. However, it affected my training."

"After taking a break following the Cyclocross World Championships, I again lost a few days in preparation for the season. We decided it's better to stay at altitude so I can reach my best shape possible for Tirreno," Van Aert added.

"We think it's not possible to perform at my best level in Strade Bianche. I want to race to win but that isn't possible for now. I need a bit more time, but sometimes changing the plans is necessary. That's how things are."

Last year, Van Aert began the 2022 road season by winning his first race, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. However, the Belgian and rival Mathieu van der Poel sat out this year’s opening weekend in Belgium after only recently competing in the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in the Netherlands

According to Van Aert, his current illness is only a minor setback and he is still firmly on course to ride Milan-San Remo on 18 March, a race he has previously won, followed by the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix later on in the Spring.

Van Aert's main goal for the 2023 campaign is to add a monument victory to his palmarès after a bout of Covid-19 forced him out of the Tour of Flanders last year.

"For the upcoming Flemish Spring Classics I'm in good spirits," Van Aert explained. 

With Van Aert unavailable for the team in Italy this weekend, Jumbo-Visma may turn to Tiesj Benoot for Strade Bianche. Benoot capped off an impressive opening weekend for the Dutch squad by winning Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, and is a former winner of the Italian classic. 

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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.