Wout van Aert has downplayed the prospect of emulating his achievements ultimately yr’s Tour de France, when he claimed the factors jersey and three stage victories whereas serving to Jumbo-Visma teammate Jonas Vingegaard to last total victory.
The Belgian has additionally voiced disappointment at how his and Vingegaard’s relationship was portrayed within the recently-released Netflix documentary ‘Tour de France: Unchained.’
“I’m somebody who likes to imagine that there are virtually no limits, however in relation to final yr’s Tour, it shouldn’t be the ambition to do even higher,” Van Aert mentioned in an interview with Sporza. “That Tour was distinctive. I realise that and the group realises that.”
Van Aert repeated his earlier affirmation that he wouldn’t make a goal of the inexperienced jersey from the beginning of the 2023 Tour de France. “Successful inexperienced was good and essential to me, however the perfect factor on this sport is to cross the end line first,” he mentioned. “The factors classification generally will get in the way in which of stage victories.”
Van Aert insisted, nonetheless, that his private ambitions have been suitable with Vingegaard’s title defence. The Belgian has received levels in every of his 4 Tour appearances whereas serving to his leaders end on the general podium on every event.
“I have been requested for quite a few years whether or not that may be mixed. I can solely say: take a look at the races of earlier years,” mentioned Van Aert, who downplayed the obvious tensions with Vingegaard that have been documented within the Netflix sequence.
“It’s fairly disturbing that tales have been positioned within the documentary that weren’t there. For me, the sequence is targeted on commotion,” he mentioned.
“Jonas and I are greatest mates. It focuses on moments the place it is exhausting to make the appropriate selection, however there are additionally so many moments the place we supported one another and labored collectively. It is a disgrace that that was taken out.”
Tour de Suisse
Van Aert was talking as he returned to racing on the Tour de Suisse after two months of coaching. The Belgian completed third in Sunday’s opening time trial however mentioned afterwards that there are nonetheless extra enhancements to be made forward of July.
The Belgian got here residence 10 seconds down on stage 1 winner Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) throughout the time trial in Einsiedeln. The 12.7km experience was his first race since Paris-Roubaix, with coaching camps at altitude in Sierra Nevada and, most lately, the Swiss Alps, coming within the intervening interval.
In Switzerland, Van Aert mentioned that the wind had an impact on his experience on Sunday, noting that he is not but at full energy after getting back from altitude.
“It may at all times go two methods once you come out of coaching camp. I feel I am tremendous, however I nonetheless have to get a bit higher to win,” he informed Het Nieuwsblad after stage 1.
“All the pieces went tremendous in itself and I used to be near the higher time trialists, the place I ought to be. To beat these guys, it’s important to be at your greatest and I am nonetheless lacking a bit.
“I rode an excellent time trial, though I most likely began a bit too quick. I needed to have one thing left for the final half. The wind had additionally turned or dropped a bit. There was nonetheless lots to realize within the second half, however I could not speed up as hoped. I feel Küng made the distinction within the final half.”
Van Aert’s begin was promising, and he’ll hope so as to add to his spring win at Strade Bianche later within the week as he completes his preparation for the Tour de France.
Jumbo-Visma directeur sportif Marc Reef mentioned that Van Aert “can solely get higher” from right here whereas including that the primary race again from working at altitude can at all times be unpredictable.
“We simply must be pleased with that third place,” he mentioned. “It is a good begin for Wout. From right here it will probably solely get higher.
“We simply got here from altitude, the place we skilled properly. We already noticed within the Giro that this sort of first [race] effort is at all times troublesome and that additionally exhibits now.”
Van Aert’s outing in Switzerland is his first profession participation on the Tour de Suisse, having warmed up for the Tour de France with the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2019, 2020, and 2022.
He is taken 5 stage wins and three factors jerseys on the Dauphiné and mentioned that he hopes for comparable this week, although he will not empty himself to attempt for a prime GC spot.
“I did fancy a unique run-up to the Tour,” he informed Het Laatste Nieuws. “I’ve ridden the Dauphiné a number of instances now. I received levels there and the inexperienced jersey.
“The Tour de Suisse is a race the place I’ve by no means received. I wish to come and check out that when. I am not going to enterprise into the GC – there are three severe mountain levels, for which we now have different riders, like Wilco Kelderman. I am not going to experience empty for a GC right here.”